Auto Bits: What you need to know before buying a car

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Tip of the Week offers a couple tips to help consumers make a smart car purchase:

Tip 1: Rev up your report knowledge. Review your credit report on an ongoing basis to ensure it accurately reflects your credit history. Your history will dictate your credit score and your score affects your loan rates.

Tip 2: Make necessary tune-ups. Whether or not you’re in the market for a new car now, keep a close eye on your credit report. If you spot something that doesn’t look right, you should first contact the creditor involved. If that doesn’t solve the problem or if the issue doesn’t involve a specific credit or loan account, contact the appropriate credit-reporting company directly. If you have significant issues with your reports, consider delaying your purchase until those issues are resolved to help you get the best rate available.

Tip 3: Make an age-defying purchase. Decide if you want to buy a new or used car. Buying a used car can save you a heap of money if you do your research. Since new cars generally depreciate 10 to 35 percent during the first two years, it's a good idea to check the depreciation rate on the car you're interested in by looking up the current price and the price for the same car made two years earlier. On the other hand, many of the factory incentives are on new models, so you may get a better deal with a new car right now. It’s important to shop around to find the best deal for you.

-- ARA

The List

Consumer Reports recently released its Best and Worst Cars list. Here are the worst-ranking cars in the list, along with the score (out of 100):

17: Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara

23: Hummer H2

27: Hummer H3

27: Jeep Liberty Sport

28: Smart ForTwo Passion    

31: Chevrolet Aveo5 1LT

33: Dodge Nitro SLT

36: Toyota FJ Cruiser

36: Chevrolet Aveo LT

37: Ford F-250 Lariat (6.4)

For more information, go to

Did You Know

General Motors is recalling almost 300,000 2009 vehicles because of a possible faulty transmission cable system, which affects the car’s ability to stay in park. For more information, go to

Car Q&A

Question: I own a 1971 Toyota Corona. The emission tubing rotted and was replaced with rubber hose. My problem seems to be a lack of gas getting to the carburetor. Is there some way to bypass the emissions to get the car to run normally?

Answer: First, it is against the law to tamper with emission systems. Second, you need to have the car checked to see if, in fact, there is a fuel problem. If it is a fuel delivery problem, you could have a small pinhole in the suction line from the fuel tank to the fuel pump. A good technician can troubleshoot to see if the problem is a lean fuel condition.

-- Junior Damato, Talking Cars columnist

GateHouse News Service