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Tips for Young Car Buyers in California
Everyone wants to have their own set of Hot Wheels. Cars have been a fascination for a long time. Even as children, we were fascinated by the beauty of cars. It is absolutely true that cars are the ultimate American passion.
When you live in a state known for its car culture, you just end up loving cars. And so it is with Californians. Who wouldn’t want to travel the famous Golden Gate Bridge?
Now, for all you California teenagers who want to feel the rush of driving a car. There will be some questions in your mind. It’s best to sort them out before you buy your first car, because doubt gets in the way of enjoyment.
Am I legally allowed to drive a car? What are the requirements for obtaining a driver’s license?
You can drive when you are 15 years old. You will need to apply for a California instruction permit. This license is a “provisional” driving license and you will need to follow some additional rules until you get your driver’s license.
>> It is vital that you follow all the traffic rules and drive without any crash.
>> It is mandatory to drive in the presence of a parent/guardian/spouse/adults over 25 years of age with a valid driver’s license
If you follow the regulations, you meet the basic requirement to take a California driver’s test.
To take the driving test you must:
>> Be at least 16 years old and must have had your permit for at least 6 months
>> Completed driver education and 6 hours of professional driver training
>> Have completed 50 hours of certified practice with an adult who is 25 years of age or older with a valid California driver’s license. It is mandatory that at least 10 of the 50 hours must be done at night.
>> You have minimum insurance coverage.
If you fail the test, your retest may be scheduled just after two weeks. You will be charged a retest fee for the second and third attempts. If you do not pass the test in three attempts, then you will have to apply again.
How should I choose a car?
Well, the California Lemon Law will help you with all new and used cars (if covered by the original manufacturer’s warranty). So go ahead and explore your car options. Only with a thorough research, you will be able to buy a perfect first car.
The need for a car
I understand that we are all car enthusiasts and owning the best set of wheels gives us great satisfaction. But it is necessary to let the left brain dominate you for a while. Think about why exactly you need a car.
If you have to cover long distances every day, then it is important that you go for a car that gives you good mileage.
If you live in the Sierra Nevada hilly area, you can go for an SUV or some other car with a solid build. This will help you cover hilly tracks. You can go for a stylish convertible if you live near Ocean Beach in San Diego.
If you will not be driving passengers in your car, then a two-seater would also be adequate. So it all depends on you.
Buying a car is not like buying movie tickets. Believe in saving for the rainy day and don’t spend every penny just on the price of the car. You will also have to spend on the title, registration and also insurance. Also, consider the future maintenance cost and thus make a wise decision.
New or used car?
Latest models, best mileage and advanced technology make us want the latest models. There are some new models that cost less with numerous promotional incentives and discounts.
But remember that cars lose their value faster. So if you’re going to spend that much on a new car, you wouldn’t want its value to depreciate quickly and put you at a disadvantage.
As a teenager, cost is always an important factor and so you can also go for pre-owned cars. They will definitely be priced lower than new cars. Ask for a vehicle history report and make sure the vehicle isn’t salvaged or a lemon.
The problem with an old car is to identify its exact value. Obviously, you don’t want to pay more than the car is worth. Kelly Blue Book Value of Car will help you here.
It is important that you take someone with you. A trusted mechanic is the best person in this case. Take a test and ask as many questions as you want.
What documents are included when buying a car?
Your job doesn’t end with choosing the perfect vehicle; you still have to go through the paperwork. It’s less taxing if you let the dealer do it. But that doesn’t mean you can get over it. Before you sign on the dotted line, you need to understand everything.
The most important is Bill of sale. It is a document that certifies the sale. It will include all contract information, vehicle identification number (VIN), license plate number, car year, model, selling price and other details.
The state also requires Californian cars to have one Smog certificate. Only a few are considered exceptions. You will have to pay an $8 fee to pick it up at the DMV.
It is the seller’s responsibility to report the change of ownership to the California DMV within 5 days of the date of sale. Only then will DMV review the data from the TRANSFER AND LIABILITY NOTICE. In turn, you are also responsible for informing the DMV within 10 days of the transaction.
Can I get a car loan?
Buying a car is expensive and thus financing a car is inevitable. When you’re a teenager, getting a car loan gets a little complicated. So here are some tips to help you get a loan.
Since you don’t have any credit history, trusting you would be a little difficult for lenders. So, it is important that you assure the lenders of regular payments. This can be done with a steady job and income.
Big down payment
If you can put down 10-20% of the price of the car, it will be easier to get a loan. A higher down payment can protect you against the possibility of negative equity. So even if the value of your car goes down, you will own a smaller amount and the chances of an upside down loan will be lower.
Find a Co-Signer for your Auto Loan
Although you must be at least 18 years old to sign contracts in California, a minor still has some rights. You can sign contracts for certain goods and services that are necessary for survival. In some situations, a car is also considered a necessity. So you can sign the contract under such circumstances.
Also, if a contract is signed by two parties and one of them is a minor, the contract is void at the will of a minor. So, to avoid any unnecessary risk, the lender will look for a co-signer with a good credit history.
Under California law, a co-signer is someone who assumes responsibility for the car loan but does not take ownership of it. And so, the co-signer does not have to be a co-owner of your car. The ownership of your car depends on the names added to the car title.
If you repay your loan on time, then your co-signer will have no other liability or rights.
Knowledge is power!
Buying a car is easy when you know the exact process. You will only have the power to negotiate when you know it well.
All the best in buying your FIRST car!
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