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Resources for buying a Used Car, Truck or SUV

Information for Denver and Colorado car buyers

True Ownership Cost

When buying a car, the biggest consideration for most is the sticker price and the monthly payment if financing is used. While these are huge considerations for buying a car or truck, they are not the only things that a buyer should consider. Too often, a buyer finds the car or SUV of their dreams, and find that it is simply too expensive to pay for. In the worst case scenario, the customer has to let the car go back, and get a repossession on their credit report. As you can imagine, this is an undesirable scenario.

While some costs, car related and unrelated, are unforeseen and unexpected it is important to consider the "true ownership cost" when purchasing a car, truck, van or SUV. Below are a couple of considerations you should have in mind when you show up at the dealership.

Cost of Insurance on the Car, Truck, or SUV

Car insurance is an expense that should not and cannot be avoided. If you have a car loan you are probably required to carry full coverage insurance with a specified deductible. This insurance coverage is not the cheapest, but well worth it, and often required, to cover the value of your vehicle in an accident.

If you are planning on purchasing a new or used vehicle, you may want to call your insurance agent before you sign the documents. Based on the model and year of the vehicle, along with your driving history, your monthly premium may be more than you are used to. Therefore it is very important to budget in your car insurance in your total ownership costs of your used car, truck or SUV purchase.

Cost of Maintenance on the Vehicle

In order to extend the life of your vehicle it is important to keep up with the recommended maintenance program specific to the vehicle. While maintenance costs can add up, fixing and replacing parts early can prevent further damage and costly repairs. Certain maintenance considerations should be made when you are purchasing a car, truck or SUV. The regular maintenance or many sports cars and luxury imports are limited to specific service locations - which may come with a premium price. Some vehicles will also have a higher price to maintain, such as diesel trucks, or 4x4 trucks.

Additionally the cost to maintain and service a vehicle may come as a surprise to many first time buyers. However procrastinating an oil change or brake service can come back as a repair cost that is five or ten times more than the maintenance cost.

Cost of Repairs for the Vehicle

It is unavoidable when you own a vehicle and drive it that from time to time there are repairs that are needed in order to keep your car in commission. Often times when it breaks, the vehicle cannot be driven until it is fixed. Since you need your vehicle back to get to work and on with your life, it is difficult to shop around for the most reasonable repair costs. Unless you can predict the future, it is hard to know off hand what repairs you will have in the future if you buy a particular vehicle. As an educated buyer, however, you can do some research and find if replacement parts for the vehicle model you want are reasonable or relatively high priced. This will give you a better indication of the cost of your future repairs- and may steer you clear from vehicles that will require a costly repair.


Gas is one of the expenses that you're often to think about a couple times each week. In the previous years we've seen dramatic fluctuations in gas prices, that also affects the demand of small cars and big trucks. Often times customers are drawn to a large truck or SUV, to only find that it costs too much for their regular driving, especially when gas prices increase. Sometimes your need for a truck or SUV is unavoidable, based on your driving needs. However if your budget is already extended, you may want to consider a van, compact or mid-sized car for better fuel efficiency.

In contrast, if you are considering purchasing a hybrid car or SUV, the fuel cost saved in the time you own the vehicle will need to offset the difference in price between the hybrid and non hybrid model.

Price of the Car, Truck or SUV

The consideration that most car and truck buyers consider is the price of the vehicle and if the monthly payment will fit in their budget. As discussed, there are a lot of other expenses besides the monthly payment that affect the cost of the vehicle. Before you are commited to a long term auto loan, you may want to look forward if there are any changes you anticipate in your lifestyle. If you are planning on leaving your job, going back to school, starting a family, or moving, you may want to plan your budget conservatively to be sure that you can afford the vehicle long term.

Happy car shopping!

The Best Bets for Buying a Preowned Used Car, Truck, Van or SUV

Each year dozens of organizations, associations and consumer advocacy groups compare cars, trucks, and suvs, by several attributes to find the best vehicles, new and used, coupe to large truck, and share them online. While we're waiting for the newest report to come out, came up with their list "2009 Used Car Best Bets" which is a great resource for car buyers. Their list was derived by comparing reliability, safety, and availability. Many of these cars are the most popular vehicles at Fresh Start's exclusive dealer located and servicing used car buyers in the front range Colorado and Denver metro areas.

As listed by Edmunds, the most popular are listed below, the items listed in bold italics are the most popular vehicles for Fresh Start customers in Colorado.

Compact Sedan was the 2002-2007 Hyundai Elantra

Midsize Sedan was the 2002-2007 Toyota Camry

Large Sedan was the 2006-2007 Hyundai Azera

Convertible was the 2002-2007 Mazda Miata

Wagon was the 2003-2007 Pontiac Vibe

Compact SUV was the 2005-2007 Chevrolet Equinox

Midsize SUV was the 2004-2007 Mitsubishi Endeavor

Large SUV was the 2002-2007 Chevrolet Tahoe

Minivan was the 2002-2007 Honda Odyssey

Compact Truck was the 2002-2007 Toyota Tacoma

Large Truck was the 2002-2007 Ford F-150

Luxury was the 2003-2007 Infiniti G35

Hybrid was the 2004-2007 Toyota Prius

Are one of these vehicles on your list for cars, trucks or suvs that you would like to check out? Fresh Start's finance team has the capability to search for the right car and the right financing. We are real people with, collectively over 100 years of experience assisting customers get their Fresh Start. Click on the application link below, email us at or call 1-866-64-FRESH (1-866-643-7374).

Understanding the Carfax Report

If you've heard the commercials, and are looking at used cars, it's engrained in your head to ask for your Free Carfax Report. While this is a good effort to learn more about that used car, you should be aware that Carfax reports can have inaccuracies - damages that never made it to the report or damages reported incorrectly.

Carfax did not own your car. In fact they've likely never seen your car. They depend on information reported to them from a variety of sources. Of course not every fire department, car dealership, or collision repair facility will get a report to Carfax on every car that goes through their organization. On their information sources on their website it reads,

"CARFAX does not have the complete history of every vehicle. A CARFAX Vehicle History Report is based only on information supplied to CARFAX. Other information about the vehicle, including problems, may not have been reported to CARFAX. Use a Vehicle History Report as one important tool, along with a vehicle inspection and test drive, to make a better decision about a used car."

Therefore, your best advice if you're searching for a used car, truck, van or SUV is to take it for a test drive, a careful visual inspection, or bring your mechanic or most mechanically inclined friend or family member to help you while used vehicle shopping.