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There is a large part of the car-buying population who won't even consider buying a new car. In fact, used car sales outnumber new car sales three to one. Before you go to your local used car dealer, however, figure out which type of car best suits your needs and then research it well either online or at the library.
You can check safety and crash test ratings at several Web sites (including Hwysafety.org and Safercar.gov). You can find information on owner satisfaction at J.D. Power & Associates' Web site. You can also find information on ownership costs at Edmunds.com and Intellichoice.com.