PORTLAND -- To keep from being taken for a ride when you buy a used car, you have to do your homework and be prepared to take some important steps.

Tommy Wilson Motors on Canyon Road is proud to have received this years Oregon Independent Auto Dealers Association Quality Dealership of the year award.

After 37 years of selling cars, Wilson has some advice for dealers: You have to treat your
customer right. Customers come back to us because they know they re going to get a good car.

A good place to start doing your homework is Consumer Reports Car Buying Guide. It lists most vehicles and let s you know what s good and bad about them.

Next, narrow down your search to one or two vehicles and then go to Kelly Blue Book online and find what the vehicle is selling for and in what shape.

The next step is to check out the dealerships you expect to shop at by checking out both the Oregon Attorney General s Office and the Better Business Bureau for complaints. If they have several, it s best to look somewhere else.

Once you visit the dealership you choose, it s best to let them know right away that you are not buying that day. just looking.

I hate it when I hear a salesman say, what s it going to take to get you to buy this vehicle today, Wilson said.

Look for quality, he said. Buying the least expensive vehicle many times comes with hidden costs in repairs.

Definitely test drive the vehicle on side streets, smooth streets, rough streets and the freeway so you can see how it handles every kind of driving.

Go around the vehicle and check for the vehicle identification code on every body part to make sure they match. If they don t you know that part has been replaced, which means it s likely had damage before from an accident.

Finally, check the vehicle identification number with a Car Fax or some other reporting service to see the history of the vehicle. Many dealerships will pay for the service, which Wilson says is crucial to know what the car has been through.

Click here for more from ODOT on dealer sanctions

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