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If you're in the market for your first car and you've been trolling the used car listings, keep in mind that there is a fine art to reading them. Unless you are a gearhead who loves listening to Click and Clack every weekend, chances are you'll want to stay away from any car that needs "TLC." TLC, in car repair and maintenance terms, usually means that while the car is drivable, it probably needs hundreds if not thousands of dollars worth of work to recondition it.
If an ad says a car has been "well maintained," don't just take it on faith. Ask to see the service records. For more used car buying tips, check out the Federal Citizen Information Center and download for free "Finding the Best Used Car" (a guide published by the National Transportation Safety Administration).