A Complete Auto Guide for Californian Teenagers
Everyone wants to have their own set of Hot Wheels. Cars have been a fascination for long. Even as children, we were mesmerized by the beauty of cars. It is absolutely true that cars are the ultimate American passion.
When you live in a state known for its car culture, you simply end up loving cars. And so is the case with Californians. Who wouldn't want to drive on the famous Golden Gate Bridge?
Now, for all you Californian teenagers who want to feel the rush of driving a car. There will be several questions in your mind. It is better to solve them before you buy your first car because doubts hold back satisfaction.
Am I Legally Allowed To Drive A Car? What Are the Requirements For Getting A Driver's License?
You can drive once you are 15 ½ years old. You will have to apply for the California Instruction Permit. This license is a "provisional" driving license and you will have to follow few additional rules until you get a driver's license.
>> It is vital that you follow all traffic rules and drive without any collision.
>> It is obligatory that you drive in the presence of a parent/guardian/spouse/adult above 25 years of age with a valid driver's license.
If you follow the regulations, you fulfill the basic requirement of taking a driving test in California.
To take your driving test you must:
>> Be at least 16 years old and must have held your permit for minimum of 6 months.
>> Have concluded driver education and 6 hours of professional driver training.
>> Have accomplished a certified 50 hours of practice with an adult who is 25 years of age or older with a valid California driver license. It is mandatory that minimum 10 of the 50 hours must have been done at night.
>> Have minimum insurance coverage.
If you fail the test, your re-test can be scheduled only after two weeks. A Re-Test Fee will be taken from you for the second and third attempts. If you don't pass the test in three attempts, then you will have to apply again.
How Should I Choose A Car?
Well, the California Lemon Law will help you with all new and used cars (if covered under the manufacturer's original warranty). So, go ahead and explore your car options. Only with a thorough research, you will be able to buy a perfect first car.
The need of a car
I understand that all of us are passionate about cars and owning the best set of wheels gives us huge satisfaction. But it is necessary that you let the left brain dominate you for some time. Think why you exactly need a car.
If you need to cover long distances every day, then it important that you go for a car which gives you good mileage.
If you live in the hilly area of Sierra Nevada, you can go for a SUV or any other car with a sturdy built. It will help you cover the hilly tracks. You can go for a stylish convertible if you live near San Diego's Ocean Beach.
If you won't be driving passengers in your car, then a two-seater would also be adequate. So, it all depends on you.
Buying a car is not like buying movie tickets. Believe in saving for the rainy day and don't spend every penny on just the price of the car. You will also have to spend on the title, registration and also on insurance. Also, consider future maintenance cost and so make a wise decision.
A new or used car?
Latest designs, better mileage and advanced technology make us crave for the latest models. There are several new models that cost less with multiple promotional incentives and rebates.
But, remember that cars lose their value faster. So if you are going to spend so much on a new car, you wouldn't want its value to depreciate quickly and put you at disadvantage.
As a teenager, cost is always an important factor and so you can also go for pre-owned cars. They will obviously be priced lower than brand new cars. Request a Vehicle History Report and make sure that the vehicle isn't salvaged or a Lemon.
The trouble with an old car is to identify its exact value. You clearly don't want to pay more than the car's worth. The Kelly Blue Book value of the car will help you here.
It is important that you take someone along with you. A TRUSTED mechanic is the best person in this case. Take a test drive and ask as many questions as you want to.
What Paperwork Is Involved While Buying A Car?
Your work doesn't end by choosing the perfect vehicle; you still have to go through paperwork. It is less taxing if you let the dealer do it. But this doesn't mean you can skip it. Before signing the dotted line, you must understand everything.
The most important is the Bill of Sale. It is document which acknowledges the sale. It will include the entire contract information, the vehicle identification number (VIN), license plate number, car's year, model, the selling price and other details.
The state also requires Californian cars to have a Smog certificate. Only few are considered an exception. You will have to pay a fee of $8 for getting it from the DMV.
It is the duty of the seller to report the change of ownership to the California DMV within 5 days of the date of sale. Only after that, the DMV will revise the records from the NOTICE OF TRANSFER AND LIABILITY. On the other hand, you are also responsible to inform the DMV within 10 days of the transaction.
Can I Get An Auto Loan?
Buying a car is expensive and so financing a car is inevitable. When you are a teenager, getting a car loan becomes a bit complicated. So, here are few tips to help you get loan.
As you don't have any credit history, trusting you would be a bit difficult for the lenders. So, it is important that you assure the lenders of regular payments. This can be done with a steady job and income.
Large Down Payment
If you can afford to put down 10-20% of the car price, it will be easier to avail car loans. A higher down payment amount can prevent you against the possibility of a negative equity. So, even if the value of your car goes down, you will own a lesser amount and chances of an upside-down loan will be lesser.
Find a Co-signer for Your Auto Loan
Although you must be at least 18 years old to sign contracts in California, a minor still has certain rights. You can sign contracts for certain goods and services which are necessary for survival. In some situations, an automobile is also considered a necessity. So, you can sign the contract in such circumstances.
Also if a contract is signed by two parties and one of them happens to be a minor, the contract is voidable at the option of a minor. So, to avoid any unnecessary risk the lender will require a co-signer with a good credit history.
Under the California Law, a co-signer is someone who undertakes the responsibility of the car loan, but doesn't take possession of it. And hence, the co-signer need not be a co-owner of your car. The ownership of your car depends on the names added to the Title of the car.
If you pay off your loan on time, then your co-signer will have no other responsibility or rights.
Knowledge is power!
Buying a car is easy when you know the exact process. You will have the power to negotiate only when you know it well.
All the best for buying your FIRST car!
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