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by Rick Doble

You're itching for a new car. Ads about comfort and freedom have you champing at the bit to head out on the open road, leaving your troubles behind.

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It's almost part of the American Dream.

But what do you really know about a new car? Virtually nothing.

In a couple of years you'll be able to get enough information to know how well the car you just bought was made. You'll be able to look up the model's average repair record in Consumer Reports and see which systems are likely to cause trouble: electrical, brakes, transmission, etc. But right now, as you tool down the road smelling the new leather, there is no way you can know any of this.

When models change and engineering innovations are made, strange things can happen. You won't really know until hundreds of thousands of people have driven this car for millions of miles.

Arm yourself with a reliable report of repair records, do your homework and you can find a 2-year-old car with a better-than-average record that will save you thousands of dollars and the hassle of major repairs.

But cars aren't the only example of used being a better deal. Home exercise equipment can be bought almost new for less than half the original cost. You can see clearly how well this gizmo has stood up to use.

Used boats are a great bargain and you can buy a complete used photographic darkroom setup for a song.

Thinking you need a hobby to relieve your stress? What if you get bored with it and don't follow through. Finding someone who's selling all the equipment for the hobby that interests you will save you the time and trouble of putting it together yourself and will cost you have the price.

Once you decide you really love your new hobby, you can upgrade to new, state-of-the-art equipment and while you're at it get a few bucks back on the used gear you bought in the first place.

Rick Doble is Editor & Publisher of

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