Congrats on your car purchase. If you’re like many buyers you spent time and consideration picking out the right vehicle, researching where to buy your car, and your financing options.
While those big decisions are now past you, don’t forget about what to do after buying a car. We organized a step by step guide to help you remember what you need to do and when, after purchasing a car.
Same Day as Purchasing a Car
Get Insurance Coverage for Your New Vehicle
Get your insurance policy set the same day, or preferably right before signing the paperwork for the vehicle purchase. Should the insurance premiums be higher than you have budgeted, you haven’t already inked in the deal and will not lose down payment funds by taking the vehicle, adding mileage, and unwinding the deal after a couple of days.
If you used financing to purchase your vehicle, you will likely be required to get full coverage insurance. Your lender will detail the minimum insurance coverage that you must maintain over the loan.
TIP: You will need to have the full VIN number to get a policy in effect.
Make sure you have your license plates
If you traded in your vehicle, and you have Colorado plates, the plates go with you (not the car, as is the case in some other states). If the plates are still in good condition, you can save a couple bucks when you register your vehicle on license plate fees, or receive a prorated credit for registration fees you paid on your trade in. Your salesperson should remember to pull your plates off the trade in for you, but it doesn’t hurt to make sure you have them before you drive away in your new car.
File your paperwork
You might be surprised but we see a lot of cars, whether it’s a trade in or repossession, that have their purchase paperwork in the glovebox. Protect your personal information and put it in a file in your house. First pull out your temporary permit registration and leave it in the vehicle. Before filing the rest of your paperwork, take note of any pages or forms with reminders about insurance, payment dates, payment options etc in the paperwork given to you. By filing your purchase paperwork, should you lose your keys and someone accesses your vehicle, they won’t know your address, as your home key is usually attached to the same keyring.
Plan Your Maintenance
The best way to improve the longevity of a vehicle is to take care of the vehicle’s maintenance. Get off to a good start while your car is still new to you.
Take note of your vehicle’s mileage for scheduling maintenance (necessary for tire rotations, oil changes, and other periodic maintenance items). Add a reminder in your calendar for upcoming maintenance, to keep your car in tip top shape.
Within 30 days
Read the Owner’s Manual
The best way to know all the features of your vehicle, and maintenance requirements is to read the owner’s manual. If the owner’s manual is missing, you can find it online through the manufacturer’s website, and there are sites that sell owner’s manuals for your specific vehicle’s make, model, and year.
Learn how to program features like Bluetooth, garage door openers, driver seat memory settings, etc if they are available on your vehicle.
Locate your Spare Tire and Jack
Make sure you have all the parts to change a tire before you have to change a tire. Check the air pressure of your spare.
Gather a Vehicle Emergency Kit
If you’re frequently driving in the mountains, through snowy conditions, or remote areas it’s always wise to have a few extra provisions in case if the road closes, or you find yourself stranded, or in an emergency. Here are some recommendations on how to a pack a vehicle emergency kit to keep in your car…
Within 60 days
Register Your Vehicle
When you purchase a vehicle in Colorado, you are given a 60 day temporary permit and temporary registration. The paperwork from the vehicle to your local DMV takes a couple weeks to process, but will be ready before your temporary permit expires. The 60 day permit saves you two months of vehicle registration fees.
You will need to bring your plates (if you had a trade in or previously registered vehicle), your insurance card, and you registration payment when you register your vehicle. If you purchased your vehicle at Mark’s Auto Sales and live in state your state and local sales tax was already collected. If you purchased your vehicle from a private owner, be aware that you will need to cover taxes at the same time as registration.
Within 90 days
Oil Change & Maintenance
Don’t forget to maintain your vehicle, you read the owner’s manual after all, and scheduled maintenance in your calendar already, right?! 😉
If your vehicle requires oil changes every three months or three thousand miles, be sure you get it done. It’s also wise to give your vehicle a checkup, taking a look at fluids, filters, brakes, and tire tread wear, to be ready for whatever roads you will travel.