What To Do After Buying a Used Car or Truck | Portland & Vancouver

What to Do After Buying a Used Car

Buying a used car can be a lengthy and detailed process. There are a lot of considerations that you must make before purchasing. What kind of mileage does the car have on it? How much will it cost? These are just a few questions that come to mind when purchasing a used car. A great deal of thought goes into that buying decision for most families, but what about after you buy

We are here to discuss the next steps that you should take after buying a used car.

Five Steps to Take After Buying a Used Car

The exhilaration of taking the wheel of a new pre-owned vehicle is unparalleled. While the temptation to hit the road may be strong, there are a few preliminary steps that must be taken to ensure that you have all the necessary information about your car. It is essential to take these initial steps seriously, as they will help you to secure important details about your vehicle.

From understanding your car’s make and model to finding out about its past maintenance history, there are several important details that you need to be aware of. It’s also important to familiarize yourself with the current condition of the car, and any potential problems that may need addressing soon. Taking the time to do this research now will save you time and money in the long run. Here are some steps to consider:

  1. Transfer the Title & Register the Car
  2. Insure Your New Car
  3. Read the Owner’s Manual
  4. Repair Any Unresolved Problems
  5. Perform Regular Maintenance
  6. Time to Drive

At Dick Hannah Dealerships, we also stand by our used cars with our Peace of Mind Pre-Owned Promise. This means that buying a used car from us will help ease your stress. All vehicles on our lots have undergone a rigorous, multi-point inspection. We also have a 5-day exchange policy in case the car ends up not being the right fit. Visit our stores for more details about buying used and about our inventory.

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Transfer the Title & Register the Car

Driving your new car without proper registration is not lawful. When purchasing a pre-owned vehicle from a dealership like Dick Hannah Dealerships, we assist you with all the DMV-related documentation and fees, inclusive of title transfers and registration.

Completing the paperwork right here at our dealership eliminates the need for that often-dreaded DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) visit. Your new plates will arrive at your doorstep within 2-3 weeks. It should be noted, though, that some dealerships might still require you to visit the DMV.

The process of transferring your car title varies depending on the state you live in and purchase your car from. In general, the process of transferring a car title requires submitting your application to the DMV, paying the applicable fees, and providing proof of ownership. Depending on the state, additional paperwork may be required, such as a bill of sale, proof of auto insurance, and/or an odometer disclosure statement.

Transferring a vehicle title in Washington State:

  • You have 15 days to transfer the ownership of a vehicle you bought or received as a gift into your name. If you fail to do so, you will be subject to penalties: $50 on the 16th day and $2 per day after that, up to a maximum of $125
    • If you buy from a dealer in Washington State, they will take care of the transfer. If you buy from an out-of-state dealer, you may need to take care of the transfer
  • Submit the following to a vehicle licensing office
    • Vehicle Bill of Sale
    • Vehicle Certificate of Ownership (Title) Application
    • The current vehicle title
    • Payment (Ask the office for the exact amount)
      • This includes title and vehicle registration fees

If needed for your vehicle, also submit:

  • Affidavit of Loss / Release of Interest
  • Odometer Disclosure Statement

It takes 8-10 weeks to get your title unless you pay extra at a quick title office.

For more information on transferring a title in Washington state, please visit the Washington Department of Licensing Guide.

Transferring a vehicle title in Oregon:

If you buy from a dealership, They will handle title transfer and registration on your behalf.

If you buy from a private party, here are the steps you need to follow to title your vehicle in Oregon:

  • Complete a title application for your vehicle
  • Provide the original title or ownership document
  • If the title is lost, you may need to get a replacement title before you can transfer the title
  • Provide original lien releases from any previous security interest holders
  • Provide original releases or bills of sale from any previous owners
  • Provide an odometer disclosure between you and the seller
  • If the vehicle has an out-of-state or foreign title, a vehicle identification number (VIN) inspection may be required
  • Pay the title fee and any registration and plate fees

You have two options for submitting documents:

  • In person at a local DMV office.
  • Or by mail to:
    • Oregon DMV 1905 Lana Ave NE Salem, OR 97314

For more detailed information, please visit the Oregon DMV website.

Get Some Insurance for Your Used Car

Now that you officially own your used car, the first and most important step is getting insurance to drive it. This is your financial armor that will protect your driving investment in case of an accident. Insurance is also required by law in all states, but the minimum coverage level varies from state to state.

Washington and Oregon require that at the minimum you carry coverage with liability. Liability is insurance that protects other drivers in cases where you are at fault for an accident. This is a part of all standard car insurance, but additional coverage can be added.

Standard car insurance may also include:

  • Collision Insurance
  • Comprehensive Insurance
  • Personal Injury Protection
  • Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage

The amount of coverage that you choose for your vehicle will depend on many factors such as the age of the vehicle, the miles that you will drive on average, and what your specific needs are. As the value of your vehicle decreases, you will likely receive less money when filing a claim. If you have a loan or lease on your vehicle, you are usually required to have full coverage. However, drivers with used cars may not have a loan and are not obligated to carry full coverage.

This is the time to shop around for your insurance and to do some research about the best deals. One of the advantages of buying a used vehicle is that insurance is often cheaper insuring a new vehicle, although this is not true in all cases. Shop at multiple insurance providers for your best chance of getting affordable rates. Once you find insurance that fits into your monthly budget, you are one step closer to driving your newly purchased car.

Not sure where to start on the auto insurance front? Talk to one of our Dick Hannah Auto Insurance agents and let them help you find the best deal and coverage for you and your new car.

Read the Owner’s Manual

There is nothing flashy or exciting about reading the owner’s manual for your vehicle. You would be wise to spend time doing so, however. Just like people who drive, every car is unique and variant.

The owner’s manual is a treasure trove of knowledge that will teach you about your vehicle. It provides valuable information about the car’s features, maintenance requirements, and safety precautions specific to your model. You will also learn to operate the car’s various systems and troubleshoot common issues. Additionally, following the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule can help prolong the life of the car and prevent costly repairs.

Reading your owner’s manual can help you understand the warning lights on your dashboard, program your radio, and maybe most important tell you what all the buttons do. Taking the time to know your vehicle will make you prepared and is well worth spending the time on.

Repair Any Unresolved Problems

Take the car for a test drive and have a certified mechanic do a full inspection. If there are a few issues, but you’re still comfortable buying the car, get them fixed now. Don’t wait until you’re broken down on the side of the road. Check for service recalls, too. Ask the previous owner or a dealership if any recall repairs have been done. Making these repairs now is one of the best decisions you can make.

It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to big investments like a car, so don’t hesitate to take the necessary precautions.

If you need to save for repairs, check if the maintenance can wait. Get quotes for parts and labor, then set up a budget and schedule a date for the repair. Avoid unexpected breakdowns by taking care of the issue now.

When purchasing a used car, choosing a reputable dealer like Dick Hannah can significantly reduce your stress. We uphold our Peace of Mind Pre-Owned Promise, ensuring that every vehicle on our lots has passed a rigorous, multi-point inspection. This commitment to quality provides an additional layer of confidence in your purchase. Moreover, we understand that sometimes a car might not feel like the right fit once you’ve driven it for a few days. That’s why we offer a 5-day exchange policy, giving you the flexibility to find the perfect vehicle for your needs. For more information about our used car buying process and to explore our inventory, we invite you to visit our stores.

Perform Regular Maintenance of Your Used Car

Now that you’ve read up on the service schedule in the owner’s manual, it’s important to keep up with the recommended maintenance timetable. Regular service is the best way to keep your car running smoothly and efficiently. From oil changes, tire rotation, battery upkeep, and replacing the fluids, these are all important steps to ensure your car runs properly.

Taking the time to keep up with the car’s regular maintenance is essential for keeping it in good condition. Neglecting to do so can result in costly repairs and diminished performance.

One of the drawbacks of buying a used car is that you are at higher risk of mechanical issues cropping up than on a new car. Regular maintenance can help significantly lower this risk and will greatly extend the life of your car.

Drive Your Used Car

First off, congratulations on purchasing a used car. You’ve checked all the boxes and now it’s time to get out there and start exploring. Take a drive around the block to get a feel for how your car handles and to become familiar with all the features it has to offer. Once you’re comfortable, hit the highway and enjoy the open road.

If you’re feeling more adventurous, take a day trip and explore what’s out there.

Buying a car is a big decision, so take some time to appreciate this moment. Enjoy the ride, and don’t forget to buckle up!

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Additional Steps to Consider

Check for Existing Recalls

It’s best to check for recalls before purchasing a car, but it’s never too late. Manufacturers sometimes issue recalls on cars with specific issues, depending on the model and year. Look up your car’s VIN number to see if it has had any recalls.

Recalls are issued when a manufacturer or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) determines that a vehicle or its equipment has a safety-related defect or does not comply with federal safety standards. By checking for recalls and addressing them promptly, you can help prevent accidents and maintain the value of your car.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has a tool that you can use to search for recalls at https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls.

Consider an Extended Warranty

An extended warranty, also known as a vehicle service contract, is an optional plan you can purchase to cover the costs of repairs for your vehicle while you own it.

It usually starts when the manufacturer’s warranty has expired, but sometimes they may overlap. Extended warranties can give you peace of mind, protecting you from costly repairs and the hassle of paying out of pocket. This is especially important for a used car as you are at higher risk for mechanical problems.

They also provide coverage for parts and labor not covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. Before getting an extended warranty, read the fine print and understand the coverage. There may be exclusions and limitations that you should be aware of.

Get Familiar with the Features

Once you’ve completed the necessary paperwork and maintenance, it’s time to get to know your new car. Spend some quality time familiarizing yourself with all its features. This includes safety features, such as anti-lock brakes, traction control, and airbags, as well as convenience features like cruise control, automatic headlights, and power windows. Understanding how these features work will enhance your driving experience and ensure you’re getting the most out of your vehicle.

Some newer cars come equipped with advanced technology systems, such as navigation or infotainment systems. Take the time to understand how to operate these systems. This might involve setting up your preferred radio stations, connecting your phone via Bluetooth, or learning how to use GPS navigation.

Lastly, adjust the car’s settings to your personal preference. This includes setting the seat position and mirror angles for optimal visibility and comfort. You should also set the climate control system to maintain a comfortable temperature inside the car.

If you’re unsure about anything, refer to the owner’s manual or look for resources online.

By taking the time to get familiar with your car’s features and settings, you’ll ensure a comfortable, safe, and enjoyable driving experience.

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