Car Buying Tips for Newcomers to USA

With a large number of towns and cities spread out over a huge country, the US is undoubtedly a very large place to explore. If you stay in the major cities of America, traveling should not be a hassle, given the multiple options for public transport. However, if you stay in areas where public transport is inconvenient, you should consider buying a car.

Related: Things first comers to USA should do.

In the US, walking or riding a bike is considered too dangerous due to the immensely fast moving traffic on the roads and highways. This is leading a large number of newcomers to America to invest in a car. Buying a used car is a smart and less expensive decision, since in the US, cars are much more affordable than in most other parts of the world.

Should You Buy Outright or Finance?

In the US, newcomers can have a hard time financing a car purchase, since they do not have a credit history. Collecting documents like an employment letter with the salary mentioned, pay stubs, along with the down payment can become a nightmare for some. Fortunately, you can get a car loan without a credit history too but stay prepared for a higher rate of interest.

Things are a bit better for those working in large organizations, since they have the provision of employee loans to help them make such purchases.

New Car vs. Used car

If you have the budget, you have the option to choose from a plethora of American car models. However, Indians living in the US usually prefer Japanese makes, such as Honda or Toyota, due to their high resale value and low maintenance needs.

Comparatively, used cars become even more affordable. In less than $5-6k, you’ll get a good quality used car in America. These can be purchased either from a private owner or a car dealer.

If you can get a car loan, I would recommend that you buy a new car from a reputed car dealer. Make sure you negotiate on the car price to get yourself a good deal.

Related: Tips to buy cheap car insurance

Things to Do After the Car Purchase

  1. Buy car insurance:
    Much before you drive your new car, have car insurance in place. Visit the DMV website to know how you can buy car insurance.
  2. Safety and emission inspections:
    During the safety inspection, the vehicle is checked for safety features including brakes, tires, horn, headlights, turn indicators and more. In the emission inspection, the car is inspected for the allowed levels of harmful emissions.
  3. Car registration:
    Register the car in your name at the DMV. Along with the fees, you’ll need to submit a copy of the car insurance and safety and emission inspections. In most states, if you have bought a used car from a private owner, you need to pay sales tax at the DMV.

The US is a land of fast drivers. Make sure you always have your seat belt on while on the road. Never ever dare to race with other drivers for your own safety and that of others in your car and on the roads.

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Mani Karthik

Having lived in the USA, India & Middle East for over a decade, and having worked for big MNC's to startups, I have a lot to share with you. My aim is to help people, by sharing everything I've learned in life through this blog. Come join my pursuit of happiness! Be a smarter, richer, happier person. WhatsApp me at +001-408-489-4785. Subscribe to my YouTube channel here. <3

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Having lived in the USA, India and UAE, I share everything that I’ve learned in life. My aim is to help people by sharing whatever I know, through this blog. Come join my pursuit in becoming a smarter, richer & happier person! Here’s my story so far!

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