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Buying a car - the process...

Buying a car - the process...

Old Jul 29th 2016, 12:29 pm
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Default Buying a car - the process...

Hi everyone, when I arrive in LA in 10 days(!) I will be looking to buy a used car asap. Something up to 10 years old probably for a couple of thousand dollars.

Can anyone advise on the process or correct me where I wrong below please?

1. Identify car, check insurance and buy it (Get the 'pink slip' from the current owner?)
2. Call insurance to pay for quote previously obtained.
3. Get inspection certificate. (Total guess that one...)
4. Drive to local DMV to register vehicle (can be done online? expensive?)
5. Pay tax (is there vehicle tax like here?)

Is that how it goes?
Thanks
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Old Jul 29th 2016, 12:37 pm
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Default Re: Buying a car - the process...

To add, I plan on getting a CA license asap but since I need to get an SSN card which can take a while to receive, I can't apply for my written test and temporary license until I do. Am I right in thinking I only have 10 days to get a temporary license? Am I also right in thinking I can buy a car without a US license?
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Old Jul 29th 2016, 2:28 pm
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Default Re: Buying a car - the process...

Originally Posted by michaeldc View Post
a couple of thousand dollars.
I wouldn't do this.
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Old Jul 29th 2016, 2:43 pm
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Default Re: Buying a car - the process...

Yeah well I wouldn't do it either but I will need a car and my budget (inc insurance) is under $4000 so I don't think I have much of a choice.
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Old Jul 29th 2016, 2:48 pm
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Default Re: Buying a car - the process...

Originally Posted by Nutek View Post
I wouldn't do this.
I agree, American used cars are expensive, and often expensive junk. You should expect to pay at least $5,000 for something that isn't a complete POS. Anything less than that

(i) is going to look like a rolling breakers yard,

(ii) may be dangerous even to drive - California has no annual safety inspection/MOT, and

(iii) is more of a future stream of repair bills and frustration than a reliable means of transportation.
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Old Jul 29th 2016, 2:51 pm
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Default Re: Buying a car - the process...

Yeah but... I will need a car and my budget (inc insurance) is under $4000 so I don't think I have much of a choice.
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Old Jul 29th 2016, 2:52 pm
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Default Re: Buying a car - the process...

I don't know about CA but some states make you pay sales tax on private sales when you go to the DMV to register it.
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Old Jul 29th 2016, 2:53 pm
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Default Re: Buying a car - the process...

Originally Posted by michaeldc View Post
Yeah well I wouldn't do it either but I will need a car and my budget (inc insurance) is under $4000 so I don't think I have much of a choice.
I do understand, but a 2K car is not what you might think it is here.
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Old Jul 29th 2016, 2:53 pm
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Default Re: Buying a car - the process...

Originally Posted by sir_eccles View Post
I don't know about CA but some states make you pay sales tax on private sales when you go to the DMV to register it.
CT require sales tax on used cars.
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Old Jul 29th 2016, 2:53 pm
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Default Re: Buying a car - the process...

Originally Posted by michaeldc View Post
Yeah well I wouldn't do it either but I will need a car and my budget (inc insurance) is under $4000 so I don't think I have much of a choice.
Well if you're serious about buying something that cheap, look at the used car dealers with signs in Spanish, or "Se hablo Español" signs, and if you have the income put some of your money towards a down payment and have them finance the rest. Dealers at the bottom end of the market usually have signs saying "buy here, pay here", meaning the dealer is providing the finance, not a bank or credit company - the interest rate will make your eyes water, but for a more reliable car it is worth it. ..... Then take a look at cars in the $6,000-$8,000 range, and try to find something with less than 150,000 miles on the clock and that isn't fit for the scrap yard.

Last edited by Pulaski; Jul 29th 2016 at 2:57 pm.
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Old Jul 29th 2016, 2:55 pm
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Default Re: Buying a car - the process...

4-5K would land you a Civic, or similar, that isn't a complete shed and would hold you over for a while.
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Old Jul 29th 2016, 2:59 pm
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Default Re: Buying a car - the process...

Originally Posted by Nutek View Post
4-5K would land you a Civic, or similar, that isn't a complete shed .....
Probably with 200,000 miles on the clock - but don't be too fazed by that, cars in the US often do crazy mileage. Our Accord is currently at 313,000 miles. ..... Yes, you read that right!

Last edited by Pulaski; Jul 29th 2016 at 3:06 pm.
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Old Jul 29th 2016, 3:00 pm
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Default Re: Buying a car - the process...

I'm not sure my situation is particularly representative of the norm here. We're a start up in the US with a very limited budget. I am not rich and do not have much in the way of savings. What I do have is going on rent, deposit and last months rent plus living expenses until my first paycheque in September. It's tight but doable.

Yes, I am hoping for a good deal on a small car for $2-3k (max) but I have to believe it's possible because I've done enough stressing out the last 6 months for a lifetime and right now I need to figure out how I'm going to get to the office and to meetings on this kind of budget.
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Old Jul 29th 2016, 3:02 pm
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Default Re: Buying a car - the process...

Your budget will take an extreme hit if you think like this. Cheap cars are cheap for a reason and usually that means it will cost a fortune to fix when it goes wrong! It's extremely hard to find any kind of warranty apart from the remainder of a manufacturer's warranty if applicable, but that would be a much newer vehicle and way out of your price range. Alternatively, you could buy a third-party extended warranty at a cost.

As an example, last year, my wife's 2007 CR-V, which we bought new, had to have the A/C compressor replaced. Cost from an independent mechanic? $1300!

Insurance will likely be paid in installments, so you can possibly up your budget. As with anything, the more you know, the better. Check pricing on Edmunds.com and KBB.com before you even go and look and be prepared to haggle.

Personally, I would seriously rework your budget if you want to be able to get where you're going without worrying all the time and you want to keep your hand out of your pocket as much as possible.

Trust me, if you drive away and it dies, the dealer will NOT be sympathetic.
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Old Jul 29th 2016, 3:02 pm
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Default Re: Buying a car - the process...

I saw this and thought it looked like a decent deal. I'm guessing it's a complete shed if what everyone is saying is true but if it were available I'd definitely have checked it out.

https://losangeles.craigslist.org/ws...701842932.html
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