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In the age of the Internet, anything can be bought and sold online with the click of a button.

We’ve all heard the stories of a friend of a friend who bought a used car from Craigslist, only to have that car fall apart a week later. But, when you buy a used car from a dealership, you know that the vehicle has already been inspected and is backed by the Dealer to ensure that you’re getting your money’s worth.

When you’re at a dealership, you have the benefit of knowing that you’re dealing with industry professionals who want to make sure that the vehicle you’re leaving with is safe and reliable. In addition, all the used vehicles at dealerships meet a certain standard in order to be sold.

Virtually every single auto manufacturer has a Certified Pre-Owned vehicle program, where the best of their lease returns and trade-in vehicles are resold. These programs are in place to make sure the used cars are of the highest quality and are both reliable and dependable.

New Car Dealers also have first rights on lease returns and trade-ins, and dealers are known to be fickle. Anything dubious or with a high mileage will be passed up to go to wholesalers or auctions.

Dealers are under tight regulations over which vehicles can be resold to the benefit of the buyer. Buyers are more protected and less likely to run into problems thanks to these regulations, and the dealer takes care of the nuts and bolts – including all of the paperwork.

The best thing about the Certified Pre-Owned program is that the used vehicles are backed by the automaker themselves. Potential buyers can sleep easy, knowing that these cars have gone through rigorous inspections and reconditioning and that things like brake pads and fluid have been checked. Buyers can ask to see the inspection and keep it for future reference.

In addition, buying from a dealer also gives the buyer more financing options – dealers can offer trade-ins or in-house financing. Be sure to ask about any possible exchange policies or money back guarantees.

Lastly, for anyone thinking about buying a used car, there are a couple of things to check for before signing the dotted line.

One of the most important things to check for is rust. Rust can spread and depending on where the rust is located, it can be hard to fix. Never purchase a car with frame rust.

Many dealers have online inventories to make it easier to compare and shop around. CarProof is another useful online resource and can give buyers an extensive history of a vehicle, including any previous accidents.

Make good use of your test drive opportunity. If you’re looking for a family vehicle, bring along the kids to see if they’re comfortable in the back seat. Also bring any strollers and car seats to see if the vehicle can easily accommodate those items. Ask the dealership for any service records and review the maintenance history.

Our industry regulator the Motor Vehicle Sales Authority has excellent information and tools on their website for consumers looking to purchase a vehicle. Visit before you buy.

Be sure to stop by your local new car dealer and ask a staff member to help you find which new or used vehicle best suits your lifestyle and budget.

Blair Qualey is President and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of BC. You can email him at [email protected].