New convertible models emerge

As USA Today recently reported, automakers are rolling out new convertible models to appeal to a growing number of Baby Boomers who are reaching "peak buying-power years." Examples? Nissan's Infiniti brand has announced a new drop-top version of its G37 sports coupe. General Motors will deliver the Camaro convertible by June of 2010. Toyota's Lexus will soon unveil an open-air version of its sporty IS. Plus, many popular convertibles these days come from luxury brands such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Cadillac. Additionally, brands such as Audi and Volvo are making specialty convertibles that have hard tops. Chrysler Sebring comes in hard-top and soft-top versions. Volkswagen goes a step further with its Eos, offering the best of both worlds: an operable sunroof built into the convertible roof.

Tips for buying used

Motor Matters recently offered a number of tips for car buyers who are considering used vehicles for purchase. When buying a vehicle through a private sale, check that the body and alignment is straight by looking down each side of the vehicle. Examine the vehicle's door jambs to see if there is a mismatch in colors. Check for evidence of water damage by feeling the carpeting and flooring. Look under the vehicle for fluids that may have leaked on the ground. Check the odometer for the vehicle's mileage. Check to see the wear of the hoses and belts inside the engine. Write down the VIN number and conduct a title search. Most important, your trusted mechanic should inspect the vehicle before you buy it.