According to statistics, Americans buy 39.4 million used cars every year as opposed to only 17.3 million new ones. A lot of that has to do with the fact that used cars are considerably cheaper than new ones.
As an inspiring first-time car owner, there is no doubt that you would want to find a great used car in your area. One that will not only serve you well but also won't cost you an arm and a leg. However, just because you successfully find the right car at the right price doesn't mean that your work is done. Used cars are just that...used. That means that they might have a kink or two that would need ironing out to ensure that you have the perfect transportation machine.
Here are some tips on what you need to do right after you buy your first car:
Transfer the Title to the Car and Register It Under Your Name
If you used a car dealer, then there is a good chance that the paperwork was already taken care of during the sale process. However, if you bought it from a friend or family member then you need to go through the process of transferring the car title and registering it under your name. That means heading over to your local DMV.
To do this, you would typically need to have:
- The car's title or associated loan documents if it's financed.
- Identification and proof of residence.
- Proof of insurance.
Different states have specific requirements that apply to those particular states. You can find out about the requirements that would apply to you here.
Have the Car Insured
This is probably the very first thing you have to do before you even drive the car out of the yard. That's why most used car dealerships offer car insurance through a partner and if you bought your car through one then there is a good chance you already insured it. However, simply going with the car dealer’s insurance suggestion might not be the wisest of moves. You need to do your own research and find out what kind of cover you want for your car as well as what is the minimum cover required by your state. Here are the five main car insurance types to consider.
Visit a Trusted Mechanic
As already mentioned, used cars are just that...used. That means that, no matter how clean they may be, there will always be a few minor or even major mechanical issues that need fixing. Thankfully, however, most trustworthy used car dealerships offer assessment options and you can even bring in a trusted mechanic to inspect the vehicle. This inspection is by far one of the most important things you can have done before you buy the car.
Assuming that you found just a few minor issues or even major ones that you are willing to take on, after you buy the car, one of the very first things you should do is take it to the mechanic who did the inspection for repairs. If you are strapped for cash, a trusted mechanic can give you a list of priorities: the kind of issues that need immediate attention and the ones that can wait a little longer. Make sure to take care of the important ones first even if you have to put it on your credit cards. These issues tend to have a way of interfering with the rest of the car’s engine and workings.
Have it Professionally Cleaned and Detailed
This is all part of making the car your own. You need to have it professionally cleaned and detailed. Not only will this get rid of the "used car" stench but it will also get rid of whatever allergens and dirt the car might have picked up while at the used car lot. Cleaning and detailing your car should be something that you do on a regular basis. It will keep the car looking good and new even.
Read and Understand the Owner's Manual
Most cars are very straightforward. However, if you buy a used car that is a "new age" car that has a lot of computers onboard, you might need to read the owner's manual. This will help you get a hold of how to fully use the car to your advantage. Granted, there are some things that you will learn as you go along but to begin with, you should read the owner's manual to understand how everything works. Furthermore, the user's manual will give you a lot of insights on how to ensure that your car works properly and how to perform minor maintenance tasks.
While every single one of these suggestions is wonderful and a good way to make your new, used car your own, the best way to come to terms with the machine itself is to take it out on frequent drives. This will give a chance to get a feel for how the car handles and to make you comfortable with the controls.
About The Author:
Tim Setterfield is an automotive writer who's looking to expand his writer's brand. He writes on various automotive topics from products to luxury vehicles. His inspiration to write about the automotive industry stems from working with his dad when he was a kid in his garage.