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scrubbedexpat027 Jun 7th 2011 2:20 am

Buying a car
 
So, I need to buy a car pretty soon as my rental is costing me a bomb.

I don't have a US license yet (just a UK one) and I'm living in an extended stay hotel at the moment. Would either of those facts cause me any problems buying a car out here.

What do I need to do / pay for in addition to the cost of the car? There's no separate road tax is there?

Anyone know of any decent dealers in or around my area (Stevenson Ranch) preferably that I can check out online first?

Finally, any suggestions for a good reliable car for the money? Must have 5 seats, no too old (reliability / warranty my highest priority), up to $15K.

Thanks in advance for any info.

fatbrit Jun 7th 2011 4:07 am

Re: Buying a car
 

Originally Posted by dek (Post 9415164)
What do I need to do / pay for in addition to the cost of the car? There's no separate road tax is there?

Haha!

md95065 Jun 7th 2011 4:12 am

Re: Buying a car
 

Originally Posted by dek (Post 9415164)
What do I need to do / pay for in addition to the cost of the car? There's no separate road tax is there?

There are taxes and documentation fees that have to be paid if you buy a car (either new or used) from a dealer in California. Note that there are both state and local taxes involved and the precise rate will depend on where you live not where you buy the car.

There is also an annual vehicle registration fee but if you buy a use car that has a current California registration you will just get whatever time is left on the current registration and you won't have anything to pay until the renewal date.

What you care about is the "out the door" price which is quite a bit more than the price that you negotiate based on the "sticker price".

If you buy a $13,750 car from a dealer in California you might get some change back out of $15,000 but quite probably not enough to fill the tank with gas ...

scrubbedexpat027 Jun 7th 2011 4:33 am

Re: Buying a car
 
ok cheers. Don't worry, I wasn't nieve enough to think there weren't any taxes ;) I just meant that it wasn't the same process as buying a tax disc and shoving it in the car window.

md95065 Jun 7th 2011 4:42 am

Re: Buying a car
 
Oh, and you should get some insurance quotes before buying the vehicle since that is something else that you will have to factor in to your initial expenditure.

(and remember that US insurance companies quote premiums for 6 month, not 12 months so that ridiculously expensive quote that you just got is actually twice as expensive as you first thought it was because it was only for 6 months not a year ...)

penguinsix Jun 7th 2011 5:09 am

Re: Buying a car
 
The car price is nothing.

Insurance will be the killer. Without a permanent address let alone a credit rating you can expect to pay near "uber-high risk driver" rates. I'd start talking to some insurance companies first before picking out a make and model of a car as you may find something really nice might cost a heck of a lot more than basic and practical.

scrubbedexpat027 Jun 7th 2011 5:19 am

Re: Buying a car
 
Good point. You're right. I'd better get onto that first.

Bob Jun 7th 2011 1:28 pm

Re: Buying a car
 

Originally Posted by md95065 (Post 9415291)
the car.

There is also an annual vehicle registration fee but if you buy a use car that has a current California registration you will just get whatever time is left on the current registration and you won't have anything to pay until the renewal date.

Really? That's good going as it gets voided on transfer of title in MA.

Other costs, which might not apply in CA, or might be minimal, but car inspection, cost of getting the plates punched.

The cost of the title but that might be included with all the dealer work.

But yeah, car insurance is the biggest hassle because with no US driving history or credit history, you'll be treated worse off than some 15 year old on a learners permit :D

guitarmaan Jun 7th 2011 1:53 pm

Re: Buying a car
 
I read somewhere that US insurers recognise UK no claims bonus. Is that not true then?

Bob Jun 7th 2011 2:13 pm

Re: Buying a car
 

Originally Posted by guitarmaan (Post 9416376)
I read somewhere that US insurers recognise UK no claims bonus. Is that not true then?

That'll be a sales pitch and nothing more.

They might look at a clean UK license and treat that as having a no US history, which is one step up from having a bad history or being treated as a 15 year old, being treated as a 18 year old instead.

md95065 Jun 7th 2011 4:03 pm

Re: Buying a car
 

Originally Posted by Bob (Post 9416321)
Really? That's good going as it gets voided on transfer of title in MA.

Other costs, which might not apply in CA, or might be minimal, but car inspection, cost of getting the plates punched.

The cost of the title but that might be included with all the dealer work.

When used vehicles are sold in California they normally keep their existing license plates unless the seller had custom plates and wants to keep them to transfer to another vehicle.

There are fees for smog inspection, document preparation and title transfer but they are pretty minimal. Last year I bought a used vehicle in exactly the price range that the OP is considering, and the total for all of those fees was only $113.

Bob Jun 7th 2011 4:27 pm

Re: Buying a car
 

Originally Posted by md95065 (Post 9416650)

There are fees for smog inspection, document preparation and title transfer but they are pretty minimal. Last year I bought a used vehicle in exactly the price range that the OP is considering, and the total for all of those fees was only $113.

No wonder CA is broke, that barely covers annual registration down my way :lol:

And it costs a little more the first year too.

md95065 Jun 7th 2011 4:44 pm

Re: Buying a car
 

Originally Posted by Bob (Post 9416722)
No wonder CA is broke, that barely covers annual registration down my way :lol:

And it costs a little more the first year too.

Yes, but that amount doesn't include the annual registration because a used vehicle is normally already registered and still has some time to run on the current registration and that transfers to the new owner.

lansbury Jun 7th 2011 6:58 pm

Re: Buying a car
 

Originally Posted by guitarmaan (Post 9416376)
I read somewhere that US insurers recognise UK no claims bonus. Is that not true then?

Farmers did here in Oregon when we first insured a car just after arriving. But it isn't just the no claims part they want, that shows no accidents, they also wanted a copy of the previous three years insurance certificates. The discount was in part on being previously insured. Fortunately I had kept those, but they were somewhere mid Atlantic in our shipping container. So when I had them and took them to the agent, Farmers then gave us the discount and reduced the premium.

guitarmaan Jun 7th 2011 7:33 pm

Re: Buying a car
 

Originally Posted by lansbury (Post 9417077)
Farmers did here in Oregon when we first insured a car just after arriving. But it isn't just the no claims part they want, that shows no accidents, they also wanted a copy of the previous three years insurance certificates. The discount was in part on being previously insured. Fortunately I had kept those, but they were somewhere mid Atlantic in our shipping container. So when I had them and took them to the agent, Farmers then gave us the discount and reduced the premium.

ok so some companies actually do.

My next step is finding one in Florida ....

Ray Jun 8th 2011 4:06 pm

Re: Buying a car
 

Originally Posted by guitarmaan (Post 9417142)
ok so some companies actually do.

My next step is finding one in Florida ....

not a chance

mayhemuk Jun 9th 2011 12:39 pm

Re: Buying a car
 
I would have thought top of the list would be getting your license sorted since you're meant to do it within 10 days of being a CA resident!
It also makes all the other stuff easier if it's in place.
Good luck with your DMV front desk!

scrubbedexpat027 Jun 9th 2011 2:58 pm

Re: Buying a car
 
If I can't afford to insure a car then I wouldn't need a license.

I have now spoken to a few insurance agents and it seems doable with a cheaper car. They're telling me that I can drive on my UK license (and even get insured on a car with it) for 60 days!! There seems to be conflicting information. I think I read that when you pass your theory test you get a temporary extension so maybe that's what they were talking about.

Bob Jun 9th 2011 7:21 pm

Re: Buying a car
 

Originally Posted by dek (Post 9422020)
If I can't afford to insure a car then I wouldn't need a license.

I have now spoken to a few insurance agents and it seems doable with a cheaper car. They're telling me that I can drive on my UK license (and even get insured on a car with it) for 60 days!! There seems to be conflicting information. I think I read that when you pass your theory test you get a temporary extension so maybe that's what they were talking about.

That's what they are talking about, and you'd want them to put it in writing, because if they can get out of paying up in case of a claim, they will :D

mayhemuk Jun 10th 2011 9:13 am

Re: Buying a car
 
I wouldn't take anything an insurance company (agent) told me at face value. If the CA DMV say get a license within 10 days of being a resident then that would suggest to me that is what I should do.
What decision or influence does an Insurance Company have in relation to the state driving regs etc.
And as stated above if they can wiggle out of a claim they will.

That said the worse part of getting the CA license is dealing with the DMV so I'd get it done rather than put it off.
Just saying.

Take care.

NEW2LA Jun 12th 2011 5:52 am

Re: Buying a car
 
RE: insurance.

I passed my driving test in CA about 1 month after being here - biggest tip, go somewhere in the suburbs ( the DMV in Simi Oak in LA County had no queue for example, anywhere in LA itself was a 2 hour plus wait)

I did quite a lot of shopping around and found that both Geico and Progressive allowed me either to say I was a foreign driver with 12 years driving history or a US license holder with 1 months experience.

Both were reasonable quotes, I pay $150 per month for me, my european wife, and her dad to drive a SC430 and a CLK55 AMG with good coverage. And I'm 32. I live in fear it's a mistake, but both were close enough for me to feel comfy.

MoshiMoshi Jul 27th 2011 4:59 am

Re: Buying a car
 
Hello,

I'm hoping to buy a used car soon (in California). Can anyone clarify the difference between 'transferring the title' and 'registering the vehicle'? I know we definitely have to do the first, but I'm not sure about the second. And do we have to buy new license plates, too?

I think I'm clear on the rest of it: seller reports sale to DMV and provides smog certification; buyer transfers title at DMV and pays fees. I've already got insurance quotes, and we're buying the car from a friend. Is there anything else I should know...?

md95065 Jul 27th 2011 5:23 am

Re: Buying a car
 
If you are buying a used car in California you do not have to register the vehicle - the vehicle is (or should be) already registered and that transfers with the vehicle along with the license plates. (The one exception to that is if the previous owner had custom license plates and wants to keep them - in that case it gets more complicated but the seller should really take care of that for you by getting new plates before they sell the vehicle).

You also get whatever time is remaining on the annual registration - you will get a renewal notice from the DMV about 8 weeks before it expires.

Beware of a seller who is selling a car that is from out of state and "hasn't gotten around to registering it in California yet" - you don't need to deal with that kind of hassle.

Also beware of buying a vehicle that has an expired registration - there are penalties for late renewal.

Oh, and make sure that the vehicle has a current valid smog certificate - you can't transfer the title without that and it is the seller's responsibility to get it.

Bob Jul 27th 2011 5:09 pm

Re: Buying a car
 

Originally Posted by MoshiMoshi (Post 9521602)
Can anyone clarify the difference between 'transferring the title' and 'registering the vehicle'?

Title says who owns it and if there's any liens on it. Registering it would be the equivalent to the road tax, usually get a sticker that goes on the plate or the windscreen for a year, depending on the state and all that malarky.


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