What enables people to be on time for an important appointment,attend a favorite social event or recreational activity, or just driveon a pleasant summer day? What machine do many people get toknow as if it were almost a member of the family? What enablesdrivers to experience an increased sense of freedom? Of course, what else but the automobile. Or in today's terms: the automobile,sport-utility vehicle, or minivan.

More and more people are realizing that the cost of newtransportation can really throw a budget into reverse. In many instances, today's new vehicle prices compare to the cost of a new home just a generation ago. Since dependable transportation is a necessity--do not despair; a two to four-year old used automobile, sport-utility vehicle, or minivan can be purchased at a savings of 25 to 50 percent as compared to its cost when new. Furthermore, the number of well-built, dependable vehicles has increased during the past decade. When well maintained, these vehicles can be driven for many miles, and they are now available at substantial savings.

The following tips will help you to get more driving pleasure and save money on your next used vehicle purchase.

1. Take the time to really identify your transportation needs. Buying used transportation that satisfies transportation needs to the greatest extent results in increased driving pleasure. Also, you will be less likely to get tired of the vehicle and want to sell it after only a year or two.

2. Consult the April (vehicle edition) issue of Consumer Reports at a public library. The Frequency-of- repair information will help you to focus upon used vehicles that will likely need fewer repairs.

3. At the public library, consult the N.A.D.A. used car price guide. Checkout the vehicle classified sections of the largest newspapers in the United States. Vehicle price trends begin in the major cities and then progress to other areas of thecountry.

4. Become aware of when a vehicle will be redesigned. Get an additional price break by purchasing a vehicle (the previous design) six months to one year after the new vehicle design hits the market. Try to avoid buying a vehicle that will be redesigned soon after you have purchased it or its price will drop on you.

5. Keep in mind that there are several used vehicle sources from which to choose: private owners, rental car companies (some rent sport-utility vehicles and minivans), Internet sources, bank repossessions, company vehicles, off lease vehicles at dealerships, etc. Be certain to inform eachsource that you are considering the others.

6. Remember that information, knowledge, and understanding are the keys to driving the best vehicle for the price.

For more information on buying a used vehicle and saving money, the book: Drive the Best for the Price... is available in print and e-book editions.

Visit: www.drivethebestbook.com to find out more about the author and this book.

In 1991 the book's author [Kyle Busch] purchased a used 1986 vehicle for $2,600 that a private owner had driven 82,000 miles. He has driven the vehicle for over nine years and the odometer has now logged over 292,000 miles. The vehicle continues to provide for Busch's daily transportation needs.