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YOUR MONEY WEEKEND

Financial Planner

Checklist: Used-Car Buying

October 20, 2000|LIZ PULLIAM WESTON

Things to do this weekend with your money

The growing popularity of auto leasing means there's a big supply of used cars coming on the market--and a big supply tends to mean lower prices. Here's what you need to know:

* Today: Cars tend to lose 30% to 40% of their value in the first two years; buying used means you're letting the first owner take the big depreciation hit. But you still need to be smart about negotiating. You'll find tips on getting a good deal at Web sites such as Edmunds at http://www.edmunds.com or CarPrice at http://www.carprice.com.

* Saturday: Consumer Reports offers a used-car pricing service for $10 that includes current price ranges and reliability histories. Visit http://www.consumerreports.org or call (800) 258-1169.

* Sunday: Worried about buying someone else's lemon? CarFax at http://www.carfax.com offers a $14.95 report that gives you the car's history using its vehicle identification number. Members of the Automobile Club of Southern California, otherwise known as AAA, can get a vehicle pre-purchase inspection for about $110. Call your local Auto Club office for details, or visit its Web site at http://www.aaa-calif.com.

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