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The choices you make when car buying can impact the rest of your life in several ways. It will affect your finances, the way you feel about yourself when you drive, and your reliability (just think what will happen if your car keeps breaking down).

For most people, a car is the second most expensive purchase they will ever make, after their home. For these reasons, it’s important to do your research before buying a car. But, there’s one important tool most people are missing when it comes to research.  Luckily, we’re here to help get you off on the right start.

What should I look for when doing car research?

The default for most people when they start to look at cars is to focus on the positive features of each model. It’s human nature to be excited about the purchase and to be thinking about all the great things it’s going to bring to our life. But once that car ends up in your driveway, reality will come crashing in if you haven’t researched the possible drawbacks of your new vehicle. 

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t be excited, and you should absolutely compare the positive features of each vehicle. Just don’t forget to also look into things like recalls, common repair issues, and customer complaints.

If one of the benefits of your favorite model is collapsible rear seats, but several people have mentioned that the seats are difficult to move into place, that’s something you should take into consideration. 

The dealership will be a great place for you to get a hands-on feel for each model, and they will be more than happy to explain the benefits of each feature, but where can you find information on the drawbacks of each vehicle? is the perfect place to start your research

According to the New York Daily News, J.D. Power’s New Autoshopper Study found that 80 percent of car buyers start their research online before heading to the dealership. A great place to find information online about common customer complaints is This easy-to-use website compiles a list of user-submitted and NHTSA complaints on cars of every make, model, and year.

If you have a specific car in mind, you can search common issues and complaints on that vehicle to get an idea of how it may perform. If you don’t have a specific vehicle in mind, you can browse through the highest rated models to see if any of them might be right for you.

The site is organized in a way that makes it easy to find the exact information you’re looking for. There’s even a search bar, which makes it easy to compare a specific feature across models. For example, search “air conditioner” to see all the complaints users have submitted about air conditioners on every make and model. 

Gather information from everywhere

If you’re just browsing, and in the mood for some entertainment, has a section called “Funny Complaints” with tons of amusing stories about car trouble. Do car research, and get a laugh at the same time. Also, take a look at the section titled “Horror Stories” to see the absolute worst-case scenarios, and which models to avoid, so it doesn’t happen to you.

There are tons of great resources online for car research. But if you want to guarantee that you get the best deal for your money, make sure you stop by to get the full picture on each make and model, before you buy. Avoid ending up as one of the “horror stories” by rushing into a purchase without doing to appropriate research.