Preparation is the key to a smooth and successful car-buying experience. That’s why we’ve put together a list of everything you’ll need when you step into the dealership to purchase your vehicle.

How exciting is it to walk into a car dealership and drive out in a brand-new car? That excitement can dwindle, though, if you don’t have the right paperwork and information with you. Avoid that roadblock and read our overview of what to bring when buying a car so you’ll be prepared and ready to drive off the lot.

What to Bring to Trade-in Your Car

If you’re going to trade your current vehicle in when you buy your new car, you’ll need a little extra paperwork and  preparation to make sure everything goes smoothly.

Before heading to the dealer, ask them “what do I need to bring when buying a used car?” Odds are, they’ll have you bring these things to streamline your car buying and trading process:

1. Current certificate of title

The dealership should help you prepare to transfer your car’s title to them. If you can’t locate your title, contact your local DMV to get a duplicate, but be prepared to pay a fee. Your lender may also be required to hold the title until the loan's paid off, depending on the state you live in. 

2. Current vehicle registration

Unless your current car is going to be junked after you trade it, you need to provide the current registration. You should be able to trade it in with expired vehicle registration, but the dealer will probably give you less for it since they’ll have to make it current themselves.

3. A clean vehicle

It's a great idea to get the car washed and detailed, and you’ll also want to pull out all of your personal belongings so you don’t get caught up in the deal and forget something that matters to you.

4. Service records

Have all service and repair information ready, as the dealer will want to know of the vehicle’s previous maintenance beyond the vehicle history report they’ll pull.

Buying a Car Out of State

If you’re buying a car out of state there may be additional fees and paperwork, so it’s a good idea to look up that state’s requirements on their DMV website so there aren’t any surprises.

In fact, it pays to do a little extra research on state special requirements, as some states have smog and emissions testing or safety inspections, while others do not.

Auto Insurance for Your New Car

At American Family Insurance, we want to make sure your new ride gets you from point A to point B without any hiccups in between. Get in touch with your agent and they’ll help you get insurance for your new car and add other optional coverages that’ll give you the peace of mind you deserve while you’re on the road.

This article is for informational purposes only and includes information widely available through different sources.


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