You can find all the answers you'll need for your next car purchase on the Internet. Here are some of the best and most popular sites out there. And we've included some of the biggest retail sites, for after you've kicked enough virtual tires.
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Reliability and Safety
Carfax. This site offers a free "lemon check" (and powers the same tool for several other auto sites), but it makes its money selling detailed title histories for $35. (You can check up on more than one car for $45.) By entering the car's vehicle identification number, Carfax can tell you if the car was ever titled as salvage, was rebuilt or reconstructed, was flood-damaged or had its odometer rolled back.
IntelliChoice. Maintained by the publisher of the Complete Car Cost Guide, this site provides ownership costs and safety information for almost all models.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Check recall histories, consumer complaints, defect investigations, crash-test results and more. This site is a little tricky to navigate, but contains essential information for every car buyer.
Edmunds.com. This company brings more than 40 years of automotive consumer writing and rating experience to the Web, offering a ton of great information.
Kelley Blue Book. From the publication synonymous with car values, this site also offers a buy/sell section and reviews.
LeaseCompare.com. The site lists lease leasing deals and lets you compare by price or search by your budget. You can also use the company's leasing service or simply learn more about leasing.
Bankrate.com. Find the latest and lowest new- and used-car loan rates in your area.
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When You're Ready to Buy
AutoTrader.com.For sale by owner as well as dealership listings.
Cars.com. Nationwide listings for private party sales and dealers.
eBay Motors. Bypass the pressure of the sales floor and bid online.