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lou’s garage

We live in a rural area and need a reliable, comfortable, safe, all-wheel-drive vehicle, good in snow with cargo space. We are buying used and looking at a few different Subaru Outbacks, Volvo XC60s and a Hyundai Santa Fe.

All the cars are we are looking at are E-tested and certified.

In the past we have had two bad experiences where we bought certified used from dealers and had many problems, so we don't rely on a safety certification.

Any thoughts? – Shelby

Your previous experiences speak volumes. Purchasing a used car is an adventure that most people find exhausting.

I've looked at your comprehensive list and noticed that you have listed vehicles from $10,000 all the way up to $29,000.

Generally, my first piece of advice for anyone buying used is to narrow the field down and focus on one model and one price range as quickly as possible.

My essential criteria for finding the best used vehicle start with A) the seller providing a full vehicle-service history, B) ensuring it is accident-free and C) finding a model with the fewest kilometres and the fewest owners.

Most buyers make the mistake of trying to buy the newest model year they can for their money, when in fact they should be looking for something a couple of years older that meets all of the above criteria.

Lou Trottier is owner-operator of All About Imports in Mississauga. Have a question about maintenance and repair? E-mail, placing "Lou's Garage" in the subject line.

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