8 Things to Bring When You Buy a Car


When you need a new car, you don't want to spend hours going back and forth to an auto dealership. You'd rather quickly locate the right car and purchase it on the spot. But in order to do that, you need to bring certain belongings with you.

Pay close attention to this list and you'll have a smooth car buying experience.

1. Driver's License

The auto dealership needs to see your driver's license before you can buy a car. In fact, you can't test drive any vehicles unless you bring your license.

2. Auto Insurance Card

The dealer also needs to see that you have a current car insurance policy. The best option is to call your insurance company before you go to the dealership and set up a policy for your new car. However, this only works if you know exactly which car you're going to buy.

Maybe you have an idea of what car make and model you'd like to buy but aren't sure. Or maybe you don't have a current car insurance policy and need to buy one. You can call your preferred insurance company and ask about insurance costs for the car you're considering. You can also ask them how soon you should contact them once you purchase your new car. You can even contact them from the dealership to finalize the policy.

3. Title and Registration

If you plan to trade your current car for your new car, you'll need your car's title and registration. If you have a co-signer or a lien against the title, make sure your title carries the appropriate signatures. If there's a problem with your title, the car dealership may refuse to trade in your car. If you can't locate your title, you'll need to request a new copy from the Department of Motor Vehicles of the state where you bought the car.

4. Payment

If you're going to take out a loan, many car dealerships prefer that you get a pre-approved loan through a bank or credit union. You may also be able to get a lower interest rate if you get pre-approved. Bring the check for the pre-approved loan with you.

Whether you can pay the car's full cost or you plan on taking out a loan, bring a check or credit card with you to pay the down payment.

5. Current Loan Information

If you have a loan on your current car, you'll need to transfer the loan to your new car. Make sure you bring the account number for your current loan. You should also call the lender before buying your new car to let them know you're swapping cars. You may need a release of lien form, which states that the lender has released the car for you to trade even though you're still in debt to them.

6. Finance Documents

Are you planning on taking out a loan at the dealership? You need to prove to the dealership that you're worthy to take out a loan, especially if you don't have a great credit score. Besides your driver's license and insurance card, you'll need your last two pay stubs. You'll also need something official that proves your residency, such as a utility bill, bank statement, or tax document.

Consider bringing a list of several references, such as coworkers, neighbors, or teachers who know and respect you. Include your references' names, addresses, and phone numbers.

7. Car Keys and Owner's Manual

If you're trading in your current car for a new one, bring the keys, owner's manual, and anything else that came with the original car. Clean out all your belongings from the car before you arrive at the dealership.

8. A List of What You're Looking for in a New Vehicle

It can help you with the buying process to keep a list of what you're looking for. That way, you won't forget what your preferences are. You also won't be tempted to buy a car that's outside your budget.

Do some research beforehand, keeping in mind whether you want a new or used car. Cars that have been used for only a few years are often the best deal. They are more affordable than new cars and are usually still in good condition.

The list you bring should include:

  • The makes and models you prefer. Explore different makes and models and what drivers have to say about them. Customer reviews about the car's reliability are more important than extra features like sound systems and sunroofs.
  • Your preferred price range. You should know the upper limit of your budget before you go to the dealership. You can also check local prices online for on the vehicle makes and models you prefer.
  • How long you're willing to make payments. Most car loans or leases are for a set number of years. If you're willing to pay more per month, you'll pay off the car faster and pay less interest.

Use your list as a reference while you search for the right car.

Purchasing a new car can be time-consuming, but you can ease the process by bringing these items. Prepare these items now and you can quickly and easily purchase your dream car.

Categories: New Inventory