Best and worst used cars to buy

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Buying a used car is a safer bet now than it was 10 years ago with certified pre-owned vehicles available and CARFAX information at your fingertips. It's easier to make the right decision for your family.

Used car experts say there are four things to remember when buying a used car.

  • Always buy from a certified pre-owned dealer.
  • Always check the CARFAX and history of the vehicle.
  • Always take the car for a test drive.
  • Always get the car checked out by your own mechanic before purchasing

"One of the things you should be aware of is things that can go wrong, things that usually do go wrong," said Ken Bryant, mechanic with Car-X.  "Remember you are buying the miles left on the car, not on the car."

It's important to pay close attention to window stickers on the car, especially when buying a car that is no longer under warranty.

"When a car is sold as is, in has no warranty," said Dave Caddell with King's Toyota.  "Before a consumer would buy this car, we would recommend you have this car thoroughly inspected by your own mechanic so you know exactly what you're getting."

According to, some great used cars to buy are:

  • A great small sized car, the Ford Focus.
  • A mid-size car, a Buick Lacrosse.
  • SUVs, the Honda CRV and the Honda Pilot.

"The vehicles we see the fewest repairs on, are the Toyotas, Hondas and the Nissans," said Bryant. "Other than that it is pretty much across the board, similar repairs needed on similar vehicles."

On the flip side, CBS Money Watch lists used cars to avoid because they are less dependable and are more expensive to maintain if something goes wrong:

  • A small sized used car to avoid is the Volkswagen Beatle.
  • Mid-size car to avoid the Chrysler Sebring.
  • SUVs to avoid the Jeep Wrangler and the GMC Acadia.

Before making the final purchase, it's important to take the car to your mechanic. Bryant says a thorough inspection from someone you can trust is crucial.  He says  a good mechanic will take off all four tires to inspect each brake pad, and check under the car and under the hood.

"Looking whether the fluids are full, the conditions of the fluids," said Bryant.  "A lot of these things tell you the care that had been taken with this vehicle, whether they stayed up with the maintenance on it."

Bryant says a mechanic will be honest with you, and let you know if the car you've chosen should be your next vehicle.

"Several times we have told them, don't walk away from this, run," said Bryant.  "Because there were many, many expensive repairs that they were looking at in the very near future."

Copyright 2011 FOX19. All Rights Reserved.