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The Truck – Background Review

The truck or pickup truck, to differentiate it from commercial cargo haulers, shares its roots with the most famous of all cars – the Ford Model T. It is a famous auto-lore how Henry Ford modified one of his Model T cars to make it into a truck by removing the top part of the back part and putting a flat base there for cargo. Henry Ford named this his Ford T Runabout with Pickup Body and its debut was in 1925. The Ford Pickup became very popular very quickly with all kinds of small businessmen from builders to farmers using this new revolutionary vehicle. Within 10 years, Ford had already sold well over 2.5m pickups prompting other manufacturers to quickly design and launch pickup designs of their own.

These days there are many different types of commercially available trucks ranging in size from the compact to the full and even super size truck. Compact pickups tend to dominate the truck market and surprisingly, given the very American roots of the pickup truck, the main manufacturers were and still are Japanese with the first ones introduced by Nissan and Toyota. American manufacturers have typically dominated the large truck sector of the market with the high horsepower high torque trucks generally commonplace in the more rural parts of the USA and Canada. These ‘power’ trucks are generally not very commonplace outside of the American continent as their huge size makes them impractical for most of Europe and the Far East.

There has been a dramatic shift in the construction of trucks over the last two decades largely driven by the growing popularity of the SUV sector of the market. The rise of the SUV initially ate into some of the market with many of them offering similar levels of power and the same kind of specialized equipment such as front winches. In addition to having many of the same benefits of a truck, the SUV was much more comfortable. As a result, truck manufacturers responded by starting to increase the level of luxury in their higher end models and included many of the same gadgets found in their Sedan lines.

Most modern pickups now include options for a larger cab so that the pickup can also be used as a comfortable family vehicle, have a variety of different interior designs including leather upholstery, and feature most of the common extras such as air conditioning, top quality sound systems and satellite navigation which has allowed the truck industry to reclaim much of the ground lost initially to SUVs.

The key modern manufacturers in the compact pickup range are still the Japanese with the Nissan Frontier and the Toyota Tacoma dominating in this area. In the full truck size, the American manufacturers still reign supreme with the Ford 150 and 350 the most popular followed by the Ram 1500 and the GMC Sierra HD 2500 and 3500. There have also been some improvements in the fuel economy of modern trucks although most of the larger ones still struggle to get to 15mpg.

10 smart moves for buying a used car #used #car #uk

#buying a used car

10 smart moves for buying a used car

By: Margarette Burnette, November 27th 2015

Buying a used car can be a great deal — if you play it smart.

Most three- or four-year-old cars and trucks are very reliable, because automakers have done a lot to improve the safety and durability of every model.

Used vehicles cost a lot less, too, with an average financed amount of $17,900, almost $10,000 less than the amount for a typical new auto.

Buying used also means you avoid the depreciation hit new-car owners get in the first year, so a used car can hold onto its value longer, says Ronald Montoya, consumer advice editor for auto research company Edmunds .

But buying used can be an expensive and tragic game of “rush-in” roulette if you’re too hasty.

You don’t want to overpay or get a car or truck that’s been abused, crashed or dunked in a flood, then dried out and shipped off to be sold to the gullible.

Let our 10 smart moves increase the chances your “new” used vehicle will be a great purchase:

Smart move 1. Check the reliability of the models you’re considering.

Two good sources of information are Consumer Reports magazine’s April auto issue, available in the library or through the Consumer Reports website, and J.D. Power and Associates. a research company that polls buyers about their cars and trucks.

Think twice before buying a model that has a history of significantly more problems than average, especially if major mechanical components such as the engine or transmission are prone to breakdowns.

Smart move 2. Shop around for the best loan.

Many banks and credit unions offer better deals on used-car loans than you’ll find if you try to finance through a dealership.

The typical 36-month used-car loan costs just under 5%, according to our weekly surveys of major lenders, but you could probably do better than 4.9% or 4.8% if you shop around.

Start your search by checking our database of the best auto loan rates from scores of lenders.

Then use our auto loan calculator to find out what the monthly payments would be.

Smart move 3. If saving money is your priority, buy from an individual rather than a new-car dealer.

When you’ve found a vehicle you like, use Edmunds or Kelley Blue Book to see how much it’s worth.

Their calculators will ask for a lot of information about the car or truck, from the make and model to its mileage and optional equipment. In the end, you’ll be given three values. The lowest is what the car would be worth as a trade-in; the others are the prices when sold by an individual or by a new-car dealer.

The private-party price is always lower than the dealer price, because there’s more risk. You won’t get a warranty (unless some of the original factory warranty remains and can be transferred), and some naughty people sell cosmetically reconditioned wrecks to bargain hunters just like you.

Smart move 4. If reliability is most important, buy a certified used vehicle.

Certified preowned (CPO) vehicles sold at new-car dealerships are supposed to undergo rigorous inspections and testing before being resold.

They typically have fewer miles and cosmetic problems and come with some type of warranty, though such agreements can vary considerably.

The only downside: Expect to pay more for a certified auto.

“It will raise the purchase price by an average of $1,000 more than a non-CPO vehicle at the dealership,” Montoya says.

Smart move 5. Avoid dealers with a poor reputation.

If you’ve decided to do business with a dealership, check with the Better Business Bureau and your state’s attorney general to see if previous customers have filed an unusual volume of complaints.

Ask friends and family whether they know anyone who has had a good — or bad — experience with that dealership.

Shy away from independent used-car lots.

They sell the mechanically suspect, high-mileage, worn-out cars and trucks that new-car dealers don’t want.

And they do that without offering any warranty whatsoever. You’re on your own, even if something goes wrong just a few miles down the road.

Smart move 6. Make safety a priority.

Favor cars and trucks that offer such lifesaving features as antilock brakes, side-curtain air bags and electronic stability control, which automatically tries to correct for a skid.

Also, check out how well the vehicle did in crash tests. The most demanding tests available to the public are done by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration .

You can search for ratings by make, model and year. The best performers receive the IIHS Top Safety Pick award or NHTSA 5-Star Safety Rating.

Think twice before buying a model that scored poorly on two or more tests.

Dealers that sell and service the brand of vehicle you’re considering can use the vehicle identification number (VIN) to determine whether your car or truck has ever been recalled for a safety defect and whether the repairs were made.

This isn’t a deal breaker. Automakers must fix safety problems for free, no matter who owns the vehicle or how long ago the recall was issued. But you should know what repairs are needed and be prepared to get them done before you buy.

Smart move 7. Check the vehicle’s history.

Services such as Experian’s AutoCheck or Carfax aren’t perfect.

But for about $40, you can use the vehicle identification number to see in which state the vehicle was purchased, whether it has been registered in other states and if there is a history of accidents or title issues.

“A worst-case scenario is if the car was totaled or flood-damaged and someone tried to patch or cover it up and sell it to you,” says Lauren Fix, author of Lauren Fix’s Guide to Loving Your Car .

If you are buying from a dealer, insist the dealer provide you with such a report for free and carefully compare the VIN on the vehicle with that on the report to make sure they are the same.

Smart move 8. Check for a warranty.

The Federal Trade Commission requires dealers to place a “Buyer’s Guide” on the vehicle that tells whether the vehicle has a warranty and what that warranty covers.

If there’s no warranty, the “Buyer’s Guide” must be marked “as is.” That means you take your chances.

Get any promises in writing. Verbal promises don’t carry any weight in a dispute. Pull out paper and pencil anytime a salesperson says, “We’ll fix anything that goes wrong.”

Some newer vehicles may have part of the original manufacturer’s warranty in effect. Just remember, parts of that warranty could be voided if the previous owner didn’t do all of the proper maintenance, so pay attention to the next recommendation.

Smart move 9. Ask the private owner or dealer for service records.

“If a private owner doesn’t have records, that could be a sign the person didn’t take care of the auto the way they should have,” Fix says. Skip the car.

For dealers, ask whether the original owner bought the vehicle at the dealership. Then ask whether the owner had it serviced at the dealership. If the answer is yes, ask for the service records.

If the dealer is unwilling to provide service records, go elsewhere.

Smart move 10. Insist on taking the vehicle to an independent mechanic for an examination.

This is something any reputable seller should allow. If the seller refuses, walk away.

Make sure the mechanic examining the vehicle is familiar with the brand and has some kind of certification of expertise from a group such as the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).

This checkup could cost $100 to $200 (get the price first), but that’s cheap compared with the cost of finding serious problems later.

10 Good Used Cars Under $20, 000 #car #warehouse

#best used cars under 10000

10 Good Used Cars Under $20,000

We’re often asked to choose the best used cars on a certain budget, so today we’re going to tackle our favorite pre-owned vehicles for $20,000 or less. We’ve included a wide variety of vehicles, ranging from minivans to hybrids, just to make sure there’s something for everyone. But we’ve also been careful to stay within our budget so shoppers don’t need to stretch to afford the excellent choices on our list.

The late-2000s Honda Odyssey is an excellent choice for families who aren’t looking to spend the big money required by some of today’s most popular minivans. Easily available for under $20,000, the Odyssey offers a muscular 240-hp V6 that manages to return 17 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. It also boasts a long list of family-friendly convenience items, especially if you choose an EX model, which includes standard power sliding doors and tri-zone automatic climate control. Sure, there are other used minivans on the market, but few match the Odyssey’s versatility and affordability.

10 Tips for Buying a Salvage Auto #car #rental #cheap

#salvage cars

10 Tips for Buying a Salvage Auto

A car is considered totaled when the cost of repairs is greater than the car’s worth. These totaled cars get a salvage title. Think about that for a second. In order for a car to be termed salvage, the cost of repairs has to outweigh the car’s value. So when all is said and done, don’t expect to get a perfect car for 40 percent off the price. The numbers just don’t add up.

However, a buyer’s fear of the dreaded salvage title means that the price of a salvaged car might, in fact, drop below what it’s really worth. Think of it as sweat equity — you put in the work and worry of finding, troubleshooting, insuring and likely fixing a salvage auto, and you’ve paid for the work in the form of savings on the sticker price of a regular car.

It’s a teeter-totter, with your time, money and effort on one side and the car on the other. Which way does the teeter-totter tip? If the car’s value outweighs all the stuff you have to put into it, it’s a good deal in the long run; however, if the headache, cost and time outweigh the car, it’s a bad deal.

Here are 10 tips that may help tilt the teeter-totter in favor of a purchase.

Car Models Lists: Top 10 Lists About Car Models #cheap #used #cars

#model cars

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Used cars under $10, 000 in Orlando FL #car #rental #montreal

#used cars orlando

Get ePrice

Like we said, don’t let the “cheap” part fool you – at Toyota of Clermont we’re especially proud of our used cars, and strive to ensure we’re giving you the best of the best. We have a whole lot full of Toyota Certified Used Cars. which come with outstanding warranties and a peace of mind that’s unmatched. We also have a huge selection of used cars spanning all makes and models, so you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for and be able to drive home with a comfortable payment plan!

Our cheap used cars in Orlando also span all makes and models, and like we said they all boast price tags under $10,000s so they can fit seamlessly into your monthly budget. Additionally, our Toyota dealership near Orlando offers multiple finance options – we work with a variety of lending institutions and strive to get you the plan you need. We know all customers are different and have different financial circumstances; thus, we try to accommodate that as often as we can! Our skilled finance team is here to help you fit your used car into you budget however we can.

Toyota of Clermont also offers the Auto Club program, which was first implemented at our sister store. This program was designed to help customers who might have worrisome credit issues. Some drivers haven’t yet established their credit, while others have hit a few bumps in the road and need assistance repairing things. Toyota of Clermont is here to help you figure out your situation and get you into the Orlando used car of your dreams today! Ask about our Auto Club when you come in to visit us in person!

Don’t forget to check out our other used cars for sale, as well. We have a huge selection, and a great variety of used car specials to help make your purchase even more affordable. All you have to do is swing by, or give us a call at (888) 590-6090 to chat with a member of our internet sales team and get the process started!

If you want to come by Toyota of Clermont in person, stop by our brand new location at 16851 State Road 50. We’re conveniently located just off the Turnpike and Country Road 27, so we’re easy to reach. We’ll see you soon!

Used cars under $10, 000 Naperville IL #rental #car #insurance

#used cars under 10000

Used cars under $10,000 Naperville Illinois

All prices plus, tax, title, license and $168.43 doc. fee. All standard factory incentives available to all customers applied in lieu of special financing. Additional rebates available to qualified buyers including $750 College Graduate Rebate for new Toyota or a $750 College Graduate Rebate for a New Scion that expires July 6th, 2015. $500 Toyota Military Rebate or $500 Scion Military Rebate that is valid for any honorably discharged U.S. military personnel within one year of service and Household members of eligible qualifying military personnel.

While every reasonable effort is made to ensure the accuracy of this information, we are not responsible for any errors or omissions contained on these pages. Please verify any information in question with Toyota of Naperville.

[*] Based on 2009 EPA mileage estimates, reflecting new EPA fuel economy methods beginning with 2008 models. Use for comparison purposes only. Do not compare to models before 2008. Your actual mileage will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle.

Toyota Certified Used Vehicles (TCUV) Special Rate APR Program Effective August 4 through November 2, 2015. See Dealer For Details.

10 Fastest Cars in the World #used #cars #indianapolis

#fast cars

Hold onto your butts: These are the 10 fastest cars in the world

“How fast can it go?”

There are many ways to measure automotive excellence, but top speed is the one everybody secretly cares about the most. Aldous Huxley was right about speed being the only truly modern sensation. He left out the part about how much fun it is.

These 10 cars are more than just fun, though, they’re the fastest production cars in the world. The emphasis here is on “production;” racers and one-off custom jobs need not apply. We also tried to limit the selections to cars whose claimed top speeds have been generally recognized as legitimate by the automotive media and sanctioning groups.

There are also some cars on the horizon that appear ready to knock some names off this list. SSC still hopes to reclaim the title of world’s fastest car with its 1,350-horsepower Tuatara. and Koenigsegg claims a top speed of over 270 mph for its One:1 .

For now, though, these are the fastest cars that can legally sport a license plate.

Hennessey Venom GT (270 mph)

This combination of a Lotus Elise chassis and 1,244-hp 7.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8, and you have the fastest production car in the world. Depending on your definition of “fastest” and “production car,” that is.

Hennessey recorded a 270.4-mph run at the Kennedy Space Center last year, but only in one direction. To be considered legitimate, record attempts usually require one run in each direction. An average is then taken to account for wind conditions.

Because of its hand-built nature, there’s also some debate about whether the Venom GT qualifies as a production car. While it can claim the highest recorded speed, Hennessey’s monster isn’t recognized as the world’s fastest car by the Guinness Book of World Records.

Bugatti Veyron Super Sport (268 mph)

When Volkswagen purchased the Bugatti brand, it had one goal: build the fastest production car in the world. The original Veyron achieved that goal, and with a price tag of $1.7 million and a quad-turbocharged W16 engine producing 1,000 hp, it also boasted the most superlatives of any production car.

Yet the Veyron was soon dethroned by the SSC Ultimate Aero, so Bugatti came back with the Veyron Super Sport. This Veyron-plus has 1,200 hp, and numerous aerodynamic changes meant to help gain a few extra miles per hour.

With a top speed of 268 mph recorded at Volkswagen’s Ehra-Lessein test track, the Veyron Super Sport is still recognized as the world’s fastest production car by Guinness. The related Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse is also the world’s fastest open-topped car. with a top speed of 254 mph.

SSC Ultimate Aero (256 mph)

Briefly, the might of the Volkswagen Group and the prestige of the Bugatti name were bested by a car company no one had ever heard of.

Shelby SuperCars (SSC) has nothing to do with Carroll Shelby of Cobra fame, but for a moment its Ultimate Aero was the fastest production car in the world. It hit 256 mph in 2007, beating the non-Super Sport version of the Veyron.

Helping it achieve that velocity is a 6.3-liter twin-turbocharged V8 with 1,287 hp. There are no electronic driver aids to help control that power either, creating a purer driving experience for those with talent, and a scenario for certain death for those without it.

Koenigsegg CCR (242 mph)

Swedish supercar builder Koenigsegg briefly held the “world’s fastest” title before being bested by the original Bugatti Veyron. Its CCR reached 242 mph at Italy’s Nardo Ring in 2005.

The CCR was essentially an earlier generation of the cars Koenigsegg is building today. It featured a 4.7-liter V8 of the company’s own design, a carbon-fiber body, and not much in the way of electronic aids.

Despite its impressive stats, the CCR’s moment in the spotlight was as brief as its claim on the world. It was soon supplanted by the CCX, and then by the current Agera. Koenigsegg says the Agera-based One:1 will top out at over 270 mph, but no one has tried it yet.

McLaren F1 (241 mph)

The F1 is more than just a former world’s-fastest car. With its carbon-fiber body, gold-lined engine bay, 6.1-liter BMW M V12, and center driver’s seat, it just might be the coolest car ever made.

Years before it attempted to take on Ferrari and Porsche with the MP4-12C, McLaren was known only as a successful race team in Formula 1 and the defunct Can-Am series. Yet its first road car wasn’t exactly an amateur effort.

McLaren intended to make the F1 the ultimate road-going supercar, but its design was informed by the company’s racing experience. The F1 even went on to a fairly successful racing career in its own right, winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1995.

Aston Martin One-77 (220 mph)

The One-77 is the most extreme road-going Aston ever, and the fastest. It may share a front-engined layout with “regular” Astons, but the One-77 is a completely different animal.

Only 77 examples were made, and each sports a 7.30-liter V12 producing 750 hp. Like the chassis, it’s based on an engine used in lesser Aston production models, but it’s both lighter and more ferocious.

Aside from its performance and jaw-dropping good looks, the most remarkable thing about the One-77 may be that Aston was able to create a hypercar without making many compromises.

While it matches race-inspired mid-engined designs for performance, the One-77 still has the look and feel of something much more luxurious and well-rounded. It is, after all, the only front-engined car on this list.

The One-77 proves that incredibly fast cars don’t have to focus solely on performance. Its character is almost as special as its 220 mph top speed and limited production run.

Jaguar XJ220 (217 mph)

The XJ220 lost six cylinders and two driven wheels on the way to production, but it still managed to claim the title of fastest production car in 1992.

The original concept version featured a V12 engine and all-wheel drive, but the production model had to make due with a twin-turbocharged V6, and rear-wheel drive. Still, that was enough to get the XJ220 to 217 mph at Nardo, once engineers removed the rev limiter.

However, it wasn’t enough to solidify in the car’s place in history. Buyers weren’t as impressed by the production version as they were with the concept, and a weak early ‘90s economy tanked sales. Sometimes being the fastest just isn’t enough.

McLaren P1 (217 mph)

McLaren’s successor to the F1 isn’t as fast, but it’s much more high tech. Its 903-hp hybrid powertrain seamlessly blends electric and turbocharged V8 power, making the P1 one of the most capable performance cars ever made.

During the car’s press junket, McLaren said it emphasized the driving experience over outright top speed. Maybe the company didn’t think it could compete with Bugatti, or maybe it just thought organ-shredding lateral grip was a better way to torture customers than stratospheric speeds.

With a claimed lap time of around six minutes. the P1 also excels at a performance metric that’s almost become more important than top speed: the Nürburgring.

Ferrari LaFerrari (217 mph)

Along withe P1 and the Porsche 918 Spyder. the Ferrari LaFerrari is part of a trio of hybrid supercars that showed the world that performance cars don’t have to be (too) inefficient.

The Ferrari matches the McLaren for top speed and cleverness. Its 6.3-liter V12 is joined to a hybrid system modeled on the Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS) used in Ferrari’s Formula One cars. Not only does the LaFerrari give its driver 950 hp to play with. it also provides the instantaneous response of electric motors to get things going.

Ferrari Enzo (217 mph)

That the current LaFerrari isn’t any faster than the Enzo that appeared a decade before it could be viewed as proof of lack of progress. Or maybe it’s just an indication of how good the Enzo really was.

The Enzo looks positively ancient next to the LaFerrari, but it was state of the supercar art a decade ago. It was the first of Ferrari’s flagship hypercars to incorporate Formula 1-style tech, and when it launched it was also the fastest and most powerful production Ferrari to date.

Named after Ferrari’s founder, the Enzo’s mechanicals and styling set the tone for a generation of Ferrari road cars, and may also represent an important point in supercar development.

With relatively few electronic aids, the Enzo was tricky to drive. A string of crash photos and Youtube videos attested to that. Subsequent Ferraris have included more driver aids, making the Enzo among the last of the analog cars from Maranello.

10 Top Sites For Car – Bike Lovers In India #used #car #auction

#car review sites

10 Top Sites For Car Bike Lovers In India

As the 10th largest automobile industry in the world, India s automobile industry is becoming major global industry in the coming years.Specially, Indian car market has emerged as one of the fastest growing in the world.

The projected domestic sales of cars for the year 2010 is nearly doubling the number of cars already sold in the market.Also more foreign firms are already starting their production plants in India to acquire their share in the growing market.

Here is the list of 10 top most popular car and bike sites in India which covers all the latest news and tons of useful stuff for the vehicle owners and also for new vehicle buyers.

Business Motoring is the India s oldest and most popular motor magazine dedicated to cars and bikes.

Having both printed and web versions, it covers all latest Indian cars and bikes news, reviews, the vehicle comparisons and motoring awards.

The magazine is also know for its unique and most funny way of presenting the articles that makes readers more excited to read.The column named Which Car? is the most famous among all the articles of the magazine.

Overdrive another popular auto magazine in India provides tons of information about all latest vehicles.

As a leading car and bike magazine,it provides very useful stuff like Road Test and reviews on cars and bikes, news and features.You also get in-depth reviews of the latest vehicles, tips on safe driving and posters.

Autocar India is the part of Autocar U.K- the world s oldest car magazine.Autocar India is the online home for all latest car and bike road tests,reviews,latest news and lots of other stuff.

The online forum feature provide us an excellent way to discuss vehicle owners experience directly and get clarification on virtually any information about the vehicles.These discussions helps us to choose the right decision for new vehicle buyers.


AutoIndia the pioneer in Indian online automotive market brings vehicles buyers,owners and sellers in a trusted environment.

AutoIndia ranks among the top 50 most visited sites in India.It also has latest car and bike reviews,news and auto shows,tips, advices and reader reviews

4.Indiacar Indiabike one of the most trusted automobile portal in the country, provides very useful information on buying cars, two-wheelers.It also contains useful information related to finance, insurance, spare parts and vehicles service. a part of the, concentrates totally on latest news related to two wheelers.Specially the Question and Answer section of this website contains tons of useful information for all the bike lovers.

Team-BHP -Unlike above discussed websites, this is the largest Indian motor forum with pictures and discussion about all the latest vehicles in the market.The site is having great stuff like owners exchanging reviews,tips etc, The forum currently having nearly one million posts.

In Bikeadvice you get latest bike news and also the reviews of all Indian bikes including TVS, Bajaj, Hero Honda, Yamaha and Honda.Also provides high quality photos of all bikes .

The country s leading automotive enthusiast website zigwheels, is a part of the Times Group.

Zigwheels offers you to buy new car, used cars, sell cars at great prices. Provides Auto news, expert car reviews, new car prices, used car prices.

The is an Indian Automobile blog for Car Bike reviews, Pictures,Videos.

This site covers automobiles to the core and obsessively cover the auto industry.

10 Tips for a Successful Car-Buying Experience on Craigslist – Feature – Car and Driver #car #auctions #london

#buy used cars online

10 Tips for a Successful Car-Buying Experience on Craigslist

The vehicle listings on Craigslist are often light on graphics and always free of oversight, and cruising them can be an eye-opening experience. Usable at no cost for most sellers, half-truths are plentiful in the listings and vehicle histories rare, leaving it to you to connect the dots. (Very few people take our advice for selling a car online .) Yet Craigslist can be a highly effective tool for locating the car of your dreams. Here are 10 tips that should help you separate fact from fiction and satisfied with your purchase:

1. Hone your search. Craigslist allows users to configure their search results to include dealers, private sellers, or both. If a warranty, certified pre-owned status, or convenience is high on your list of priorities, you’ll want to restrict yourself to dealer listings, as there’s no reason to waste time scrolling through pages of clapped out Fox-body Mustangs and worn-out work trucks. On the other hand, if driving for two-hours to look at rust-ravaged, Vietnam-era forward control Jeep that “ran when parked” is your thing, you already know the drill: private sellers all the way. Still, the “both” setting can be handy when looking for a nice commuter car or winter beater, as sometimes dealers will offer such things, although that practice is becoming less common.

If you know exactly which vehicle you want and how much you’re willing to pay, CL offers the option of plugging those criteria in right at the top of your search. Doing so will narrow the offerings accordingly, facilitating a focused search and a rational purchase with a minimum of drama. (To cast a wider net, you can also use one of the many sites that allow you to search every local Craigslist across the country.) Of course, one could argue that a life that doesn’t include at least one late-night back-alley transaction involving a sagging Ford Torino, small farm animals, and some class-C fireworks isn’t really a life worth living.

2. Size up the seller. It’s true you can’t judge a book by its cover, but the type contained within can be quite revealing. If an ad is composed in ALL CAPS and is accompanied by a couple of grainy images that resemble lo-res screengrabs from the Zapruder film, you’re probably in for a rough ride. Likewise, certain sellers like to spice up their ad with buzzwords and phrases like “air blows cold” and “stops on a dime,” which are actually thinly veiled code words for, “if [insert name of component or system in question] is still working when you buy it, it likely won’t be by the time you get the car home.” Bottom line: Judge the vehicle on it’s own merits and don’t believe the hype.

3. Call first. Get as much information about the vehicle as you can on the phone—and always ask if more photos are available or can be taken, especially of problem areas—and try to pick up on the seller’s character. Do they sound composed or sketchy? Engaged or disinterested? There’s nothing worse than carving an hour out of your busy schedule to drive across town only to be greeted by a seller who says, “Well, I was just kinda throwing out a feeler, not sure if I really want to sell it at this point.” Of course, if their voice is tinged with the languid drawl or hyper-intensity of a narcotics aficionado, there’s a good chance they’re looking for a quick sale—cash talks—so quit reading and start buying! We kid, of course.

4. The meet-up. As the buyer, it’s up to you to go to the seller. Meeting on common ground is always a good idea, and if the seller agrees, make arrangements to meet at a well-lit, mutually agreeable location, preferably one with lots of credible witnesses foot traffic. A local “cars and coffee” event is a good option, as is the parking lot of the local auto-parts store or speed shop. Of course, if the vehicle in question isn’t in running condition, you’ll have to visit the car where it sits.

5. A word about vans. Nothing is more creepy and suspicious than two or more guys loitering around an unmarked, windowless lockbox on wheels in a parking lot. (Especially if your meeting place is near a school or government facility.) We love vans, too, but discretion is advised.

6. Get an inspection. Be realistic. If the deal in question involves a decade-old pickup priced around $3K, it’s unreasonable to start bitching about surface rust or worn upholstery. Take it for spin, and thoroughly exercise the accelerator, brake, and, if applicable, clutch pedal and shifter. The steering and suspension will inevitably be looser than when new, but overt creaks, clicks, or clunks could indicate a potential safety issue. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a late-model daily driver for the wife to shuttle the kids around in—or you’re purchasing a classic—do yourself a favor and have it inspected by a reputable shop or expert in the make. A seller with nothing to hide will be more than agreeable.

7. Negotiate. Everything on Craigslist is negotiable. Even if a seller states that a price is firm, the very nature of Craigslist and its low, low price of free for the listings encourages ambitious pricing. Haggling as portrayed on television, however, where the seller caves after a tense 15-second negotiation and lets the car go for half of the asking price rarely happens in the real world. It’s OK to start low, but insulting a seller with an absurdly low number can quickly sour a deal. To score a good price while retaining a modicum of dignity, try asking the seller what their bottom dollar is, and then counter with an offer 15 to 20 percent below that figure; chances are you’ll be within 10 percent of the actual number the owner needs to get the deal done. Always negotiate in person; the only thing cheaper than talk is a tactless e-mail. One last thing: Seal the deal with a handshake, as the human element imparts an air of finality to the deal that only a true psychopath could ignore.

8. Make sure there’s a clean title. Talk is cheap, and when it comes to a missing or suspicious title, everyone has a story. Sorting out an unsound title or sourcing a duplicate is possible, but our experience proves it can be time-consuming and soul-crushing work. So unless the car in question is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, walk. You don’t need the hassle. If a bank or financing company still holds the title on a vehicle, ask the seller to make some calls to ensure everything is kosher, and that the title can be obtained and delivered without undue delay.

9. The exchange. When it comes time to trade green for pink, you can’t find a better location than your personal bank. In addition to being the home turf for your money, banks generally have a notary public on staff who can witness signatures and emboss the bill of sale or other paperwork with their all-important official seal. Building a sound paper trail is a great way to protect yourself in any transaction, so don’t be afraid to ask the seller to take a certified check if the selling price is more than a couple of grand.

10. The road home. At this point, the vehicle in question is yours. Unless spelled out in writing beforehand, the seller has every reason to expect you’ll be removing it from his property pronto. Suddenly announcing that you need to, “get my El Camino running first—to make room,” is of little concern to the seller. If your new vehicle needs to be towed, have arrangements in place; if it’s a driver, buy a pal lunch and have him drop you off. Before you leave, double check to make sure you have everything: the manuals, the spares, and the loose interior bits from that box that was in the trunk. Once the previous owner has your cash, they’ll have little incentive to track you down to hand off anything you forgot.