Pre-Owned Prestige

Lemons and Recalls

  • CarFax (http://autos.yahoo.com/carfax.html). Is that car you're eyeing a lemon--meaning its repair history says it belong in intensive care, not your driveway? Click into CarFax, enter the vehicle's 17-digit Vehicle Identification Number, and you'll know, free of charge.
  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/problems/recalls/recmmy1.cfm). Has the car been subject to a recall (usually to fix safety-related items)? Being involved in a recall is no big deal--millions of cars get recalled yearly--but check this government database to make sure the repairs have been performed.

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This article was originally published in the February 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Pre-Owned Prestige.

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