You must consider several things after buying a used car. You may need to do some paperwork and make sure you have completed a few additional steps, depending on where you purchased it. We’ll look at four important steps you need to follow once you’ve bought a used car.
1. Registration, Title, and Transfer
If you bought your new-to-you car at a dealership, they usually take care of this part of the sale. However, on the chance that you purchased your vehicle from a private seller, you have a few things to do for your car to be legally drivable.
To register your car with the Department of Motor Vehicles, you will need the title from the seller transferred to your name. You will also need a complete inspection, depending on your state requirements. Insurance is also required, as is your ID and proof of address.
Transferring the title requires additional paperwork. You will also need the Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin, the current title from the previous owner, and the bill of sale. The bill of sale proves that it was purchased and lets the state know what was paid so it can charge appropriate fees or taxes.
2. Insure Your Car
When you buy from a dealership, you will be required to show proof of insurance before you drive the car off the lot. Financing at a dealership may also require that you have full coverage until your loan is paid off. If you purchase from a private seller, it is still essential to get your vehicle insured before you drive off.
You can call your insurance company ahead of time if you have the VIN number for the vehicle you are interested in purchasing. They will give you a quote based on the information you provide them, so you’ll have a good idea of what you will have to pay regarding insurance. Once you have made your purchase, you need to call the insurance company to confirm you need coverage before driving off.If you’re in between insurance companies or this is your first car, you should probably shop around to compare car insurance. Do not forget to ask for discounts, such as those for good drivers or bundled options. Of course, you will need liability insurance at a minimum, but having full comprehensive coverage is always the best bet.
3. Consider an Extended Warranty
Not all extended warranties are scams, and they can be helpful. For example, if you purchase your car from a dealership, they will offer you an extended warranty. Read the fine print before you decide to buy an extended or used car warranty from them. Be sure you understand what they cover and what you are responsible for in terms of repairs.
Typical wear-and-tear issues or maintenance, like tire replacements or oil changes, are not covered under extended warranties. In some cases, the expected repairs you may face will also be less than the warranty price, so it may not be worth the extra cost.
Dealerships and warranty providers should be able to give you a copy of their warranties, so ask for it before you complete the purchase. Read through it and ask them any questions you might have to be all on the same page. If you decide it is not worth it for whatever reason, do not be afraid to say no.
4. Visit a Mechanic
If you could not get your vehicle looked at before purchase, you will want to take it to a mechanic soon after. Purchases from a dealer are likely fine because they have mechanics review their cars and make any necessary repairs as needed. Even so, it’s not a bad idea to visit a mechanic for a once-over to get your new car on record and make sure the dealership didn’t miss anything.
After purchasing from a private seller, you should visit a mechanic to check filters, fluids, brakes, and tires, at the very least. If you do not have a mechanic, do some searching to find one who you can trust by reading reviews and getting recommendations from others. A great way to get that search started is to use social media for real-time feedback.
The Bottom Line
Navigating the car-buying process can be a bit daunting, but knowing what to do once you know what you want is a lot easier. Search for your new-to-you used car with confidence, knowing what you will need to do once you purchase it.