Unfortunately, the work is not quite over when you have successfully negotiated and bought your new vehicle. Before embarking on long car journeys or getting too caught up in your daily commute, there are a few important steps you need to take first, such as: B. Registering your new car, getting insurance and scheduling future inspections.
These steps will ensure you have legal ownership of your new wheelset and can enjoy the open road with peace of mind.
The 4 most important steps after buying a car
Before driving your new vehicle, take the time to finalize important ownership details.
1. Register your new car
Registering your new vehicle is one of the most important steps after purchase. It is illegal to operate your vehicle without valid state registration. If you bought a new car, the dealer probably did the registration, but confirm it before hitting the road. If not, you will need to make an appointment and go to the Motor Vehicle Registration Office (DMV) to register your new car.
The process varies slightly from state to state, but in most cases you will need the following documents to register your vehicle:
- valid drivers license
- vehicle purchase agreement
- Proof of State Residence
- Proof of car insurance
- vehicle title
- loan documents
- Proof of the passed state emissions test
Check your state’s DMV website to confirm the required documentation before going to the appointment.
2. Exchange your insurance
Auto insurance protects your finances to cover any unexpected accidents or expenses that come with vehicle ownership. Once you buy a vehicle, you will also need to get new coverage or change your existing policy.
The type of coverage you need will vary based on vehicle type, usage, and the state you live in. However, each state has a minimum coverage required to drive legally. So check the regulations for your home before opting out. Check out Bankrate’s guide to finding insurance while shopping to get your necessary insurance as soon as possible.
3. Read the user manual
While reading the manual cover to cover may seem time-consuming, it helps to become familiar with the features of your new car. This will allow you to get the most out of your new vehicle and confirm that you are making proper use of all available technology and safety features.
4. Plan for future maintenance
Maintaining your vehicle is one of the larger consistent expenses you’ll face, so it’s best to prepare for upcoming mechanic trips. Your new car doesn’t require service right away, but check the manual along with online vehicle forums to make a list of required services. This allows you to make appointments early and budget for any costs that may arise.
Considerations when buying from a retailer
While buying from a dealer comes with the added benefit of the dealer doing much of the heavy lifting involved, there may still be some steps you need to take yourself.
Add temporary vehicle tags
In some states, temporary tags can be obtained directly from the retailer. This is simply a temporary number plate that you must use before you receive your official number plates. Time limits vary by state but are essential and serve as proof that the vehicle is registered. Consult your state’s specific regulations if your dealership does not handle temporary license plates.
Considerations when buying from a private seller
When buying a vehicle from a private seller, there are a few extra steps you need to take to ensure you have full legal ownership and drive away with a car in the best possible condition.
Transfer the vehicle title
There are two main steps to transferring a vehicle title: the seller relinquishes ownership and you, the new owner, take ownership with the DMV. Unlike buying from a specialist retailer, you have to do this step yourself. As with many of these considerations, check with your local DMV for specific regulations as each state varies slightly.
You need the following documents:
- vehicle purchase agreement
- sale date
- vehicle insurance
- Name and address of buyer and recipient
- License Information
Take the car to the vehicle inspection
Although you should have your vehicle checked by a trusted mechanic before you buy it, it is still advisable to do it once the vehicle is in your care as well. Doing this early can be useful for finding mechanical issues that need fixing. It can also help you build a valuable relationship with a trusted mechanic. Some specific points to look out for are checking tires, brakes and filters.
After successfully completing these steps, place your registration, title and insurance in your glove box for safe keeping. Now the vehicle is all yours and you can enjoy the freedom that comes with vehicle ownership.