Potential car buyers have been warned throughout the entire research process of looking for their next vehicle about the scams auto dealers have been known to pull. They are often discouraged from buying a used car, but some auto experts believe that purchasing a used car and holding on to it as long as possible can be a wise decision in the long run.

Used car dealers are often looking to run scams on those looking to purchase a vehicle that is dependable, but usually leave the lot with a vehicle that will break down at any moment and is unable to be returned. Considering all the different factors that come into play when trying to secure a reliable used vehicle, research and a thorough knowledge of how the car is suppose to run is imperative.

According to a recently released survey, 60 percent of the respondents reported that their vehicle has more than 100,000 miles and two in three participants said they plan on driving their car for more than 150,000 miles or until it dies.

"Our data has been showing this trend for the past three years, but what is most compelling is that longer ownership has become an embedded habit for car owners, regardless of what the economy does," said Brian Hafer, vice president of marketing for AutoMD.com. "This significant lengthening of the ownership cycle looks like it is here to stay."

The survey also found that holding on to a car for more than 10 years is an acceptable life span for owning a vehicle. Many reported that if the economy was better, it would not change their plans of keeping their vehicles until they didn't work anymore.

Fifty-two percent of respondents reported that they would pick practicality over style when choosing their next vehicle, because they want the vehicle to be dependable for more than 10 years.

According to Alec Gutierrez, senior market analyst of automotive insight for Kelley Blue Book, the price gap between new and used cars is beginning to narrow significantly, with new vehicles on average selling for only 11.5 percent more than a used car that's a year old and similar to the new vehicle.

"While traditionally shoppers would save thousands of dollars by purchasing a slightly used vehicle rather than new, this is no longer the case, as used-car values remain near their all-time peak," Gutierrez wrote in a recently released commentary on KBB's website.

Consumers hold on to cars longer
A recently conducted study by Polk showed that more Americans are holding on to their vehicles longer, with the average age of cars in the U.S. an all-time high 10.8 years, showing that vehicle's performance might be even more paramount in the purchasing process in the coming years.

“The increasing age of the vehicle fleet, together with the increasing length of ownership, offers significant business growth opportunity for the automotive aftermarket,” said Mark Seng, global aftermarket practice leader at Polk. “Dealer service departments and independent repair facilities, as well as aftermarket parts suppliers, will see increased business opportunity with customers in need of vehicle service.”

With the vehicle's performance at the top of the list for consumers, fuel efficient vehicles from brands that have a good reputation as being dependable might see an increase in sales in the remainder of 2012.