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Used cars can be an excellent alternative to buying new or leasing. The second you drive a new car off the lot, it depreciates radically. When you buy a used car, that plunge in depreciation has already occurred. However, before buying a used car, make sure you get it thoroughly checked out.
If possible, get the car checked out by a reliable mechanic of your choosing. At the very least, get the vehicle identification number (VIN) and check it against an online car history service such as Carfax. The VIN is usually located on a small metal plate affixed to the dashboard on the driver's side near the windshield.