There are two places to start your search for an automobile. The pre-Internet way is in the consumer section of your public library. The newspapers are a good place to get a general feel for what's available in your area but you will want a little more information than they provide. There are consumer publications which give the average price, a general description and the recall history of each automobile. When you start with these books, you will know a little more about the automobiles and what interests you about a particular model.
The Internet is now the fastest and easiest way to search and research used cars, trucks, vans and SUVs. You can find sites that rate all types of automobiles including crash tests and recall information. Click here for a list of sites.
List all of the automobiles in your price range that interest you. Appendix A in the ebook is provided for this task.