Clark's Resources: Automotive
Buying a car:
- CarBargains.org - 800-475-7283
For rebate information on new automobiles - $7 each or $80 for 1-year subscription
Comes out every two weeks
Send check or money order to:
1625 K Street, NW
Washington D.C. 20006
- Consumer Reports New and Used Car Price Service - 800-933-5555
Box 8005, Novi, MI 48376
Must know the make, model and year
$14 for a new car price report ($12 for each additional new car report)
$12 for a used car price report
Gives list price, dealer cost, factory rebates and more
Buying cars on the Web:
- Carsdirect.com - Carsdirect allows you to select a make and model and get an instant, guaranteed price quote. You can see what the manufacturer's list price is, and the price quote may be thousands of dollars below that sticker price (which may or may not be accurate). You can buy from the site or use that price to shop the marketplace. It eliminates all the games that often go with car buying.
- Autobytel.com - A good site for research and information about buying cars. It allows you to get an instant guaranteed price quote on some models. However, the site is mainly a glorified classified ad system for car dealers.
Car rental sites:
- Budget - Budget has been the most aggressive of any car rental company in offering deals online, with consistent specials for $15 to $20 a day online. Sometimes the deals are as low as $10 a day. Of course, that changes with market conditions. But these are far better deals than you could find normally booking over the phone.
- Alamo - Alamo Rent-A-Car has a "hot deals" section on its website, and will offer discounts that are a lot cheaper than
those available over the phone.
- Dollar - Dollar does a pretty good job offering car-rental discounts on its site, with a special offers section on its home page. The specials range from yawners to very good, but they're easy to find.
Clark's Kooky Cars:
- Moller.com: This company is trying to create a "sky car" that will allow you to fly above traffic. It's right out of The Jetsons. If you would like to follow the progress of the flying personal car, visit the site.
- Electroauto.com: A good site to check if you want to drive a car that is pollution-free.
Used car info on the Web:
- Edmunds.com - Edmunds lets you get price quotes on new cars, giving you the actual dealer cost for the base vehicle and all the options. For used cars, you can see the average price a dealer would pay you for a trade-in and the average retail price for which the dealer would sell it. It gives you the information you need to make smart buying decisions.
- Kelley Blue Book - Like Edmunds, Kelley Blue Book's website offers both new car and used-car price information. It also has information on the incentives manufacturers are offering to get you to buy, like $1,000 cash back for a particular model, or 2.9 percent financing.
- Moroney Sticker - (202) 307-0066
The Auto Information Disclosure Act says this sticker must include manufacturer's suggested price.
- CarFax - CarFax gives you an opportunity to check the history of a used vehicle you're thinking of buying. Since you're almost always buying a used car or truck as-is, it's certainly worth Car Fax's $20 fee to find out if it's been salvaged from a wreck or returned as a problem vehicle under a state's Lemon Law. You can also find out if there are any title problems. All that is available for just $20. You'll need the Vehicle Identification Number to request a report.
- National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA)
Automated Response Line - 703-821-7144
Dispute with new car dealer, Press 1
Problems with vehicle, Press 2
Safety/Recall info, Press 3
Member line - 770-432-1658
- Better Business Bureau - Autoline - 800-955-5100
Mediation/arbitration reps help settle disputes with the following manufacturers: Acura, Alfa Romeo, AM, GM, Audi, Honda, Hummer, Hyundai, Infiniti, Isuzu, Kia, Land Rover, Lexus, Nissan, Porsche, Saab, Saturn, Sterling, Toyota & VW
- Federal Trade Commission - 877-438-4338
Enforces the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act, which provides the consumer a private right to sue car manufacturer for lemon.
- Fuel and Measures Dept (gasoline pump regulation) - 877-382-4357
Safety & Recalls:
- Hwysafety.org - To find the safest cars on the road
- Carlemon.com - Lemon Law guides for each state and general information.
- Consumer Product Safety Commission
The Consumer Product Safety Commission site allows you to check for recalls on a variety of products, or you can file a complaint online if you're having a problem with a product. It's a great site if you have children, and you're dealing with products such as car seats and cribs. For example, there's a notice about candles, many of which contain lead and can be very dangerous to children.
- Nhtsa.dot.gov Wondering how safe your car is, or how to buy a safer car? The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration gives you safety ratings for each car, evaluating crash safety from the side, front etc. If safety is a big family issue, this site will be invaluable.
Recall info on topics such as food, toys, drugs, furniture, clothing, heating/AC and electronics. Information is organized by month.
- Center for Auto Safety - 202-328-7700
The website of the Center for Auto Safety has the best database of information on vehicles that have been recalled or should be recalled. You can use it to find out more about your own car or truck. It's especially good to check before your manufacturer's warranty runs out. You can see what parts of your car may need warranty repair work. The site also explains and gives the full text of state lemon laws.
- To write:
1825 Connecticut Ave NW, Suite 330, Washington, DC 20009-5708
Send 2 stamps with make, model, year and problem.
- National Highway Traffic Safety Adm (NHTSA)
- Auto recalls, seat belt recalls - 1-888-327-4236
- Auto Safety Hotline - 1-888-327-4236
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
Send 2 stamps with make, model, year and problem.
Auto Safety Bulletins:
- Saftercar.gov - air bag safety microsite