Tips for young car buyers in California

Everyone wants their own set of Hot Wheels. Cars have long fascinated people. Even as children we were fascinated by the beauty of cars. It’s absolutely true that cars are the ultimate American passion.

If you live in a state known for its car culture, you just love cars. And so it is with the Californians. Who wouldn’t want to drive across the famous Golden Gate Bridge?

Well, for all Californian teenagers who want to feel the rush of driving. There will be several questions in your mind. It is better to solve them before buying your first car because doubts hold back satisfaction.

Am I legally allowed to drive a car? What are the requirements for obtaining a driver’s license?

You can drive a car from the age of 15. You must apply for the California Instruction Permit. This driver’s license is a “provisional” driver’s license and you must follow some additional rules until you receive a driver’s license.

>> It is important that you obey all traffic rules and drive without collision.
>> It is mandatory that you drive in the presence of a parent/guardian/spouse/adult over the age of 25 with a valid driver’s license

If you follow the regulations, you meet the basic requirement for a driving test in California.

To take your driving test, you must:
>> You must be at least 16 years old and have held your residence permit for at least 6 months
>> Completed driver training and 6 hours of professional driver training
>> Have completed 50 hours of certified practice with an adult 25 years of age or older with a valid California driver’s license. It is imperative that at least 10 of the 50 hours have been completed at night.
>> Do you have minimum insurance coverage.

If you fail the test, your retest may be scheduled only after two weeks. A re-test fee will be deducted for the second and third attempts. If you fail the test in three attempts, you must reapply.

How should I choose a car?

Well, the California Lemon Law helps you with all new and used cars (if covered by the original manufacturer’s warranty). So, go ahead and explore your car options. Only with thorough research can you buy a perfect first car.

The need for a car

I understand that we all have a passion for cars and owning the best set of wheels gives us great satisfaction. But it is necessary that you let the left brain dominate you for some time. Think about why you need a car exactly.

When you have to drive long distances every day, it is important that you choose a car that will give you good mileage.

If you live in the hilly area of ​​Sierra Nevada, you can opt for an SUV or other car with a sturdy build. It will help you tackle the hilly routes. You can opt for a stylish convertible if you live near San Diego’s Ocean Beach.

If you don’t take passengers in your car, a two-seater is also sufficient. 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 just on the price of the car. You will also have to spend on the title, registration and also insurance. Also consider future maintenance costs and make a wise decision.

A new or used car?

Latest designs, better mileage and advanced technology make us demand the latest models. There are several new models that cost less with several promotional incentives and discounts.

But keep in mind that cars depreciate faster. So when you’re spending that much on a new car, you don’t want its value to depreciate quickly and put you at a disadvantage.

As a teenager, the cost is always an important factor and so you can also resort to used cars. They will obviously be cheaper than brand new cars. Request a vehicle history report and make sure the vehicle is not salvaged or a lemon.

The problem with an old car is determining its exact value. You obviously don’t want to pay more than the car’s value. The Kelly Blue Book value of the car will help you with this.

It is important that you take someone with you. A TRUSTED mechanic is the best person in this case. Take a test drive and ask as many questions as you like.

What papers are required when buying a car?

Your work doesn’t end with choosing the perfect vehicle; You still have to go through the paperwork. It’s less of a hassle if you let the dealer do it. But that doesn’t mean you can skip it. Before you sign the dotted line, you need to understand everything.

The most important is the Purchase contract. It is a document confirming the sale. It contains the entire contract information, Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), license plate number, year of car, model, sale price and other details.

The state also requires California cars to have one Smog Certificate. Only a few are exceptional. You have to pay a fee of $8 to get it from the DMV.

It is the seller’s responsibility to report the change of ownership to the California DMV within 5 days of the date of sale. Only then does the DMV revise the notes from the TRANSFER AND LIABILITY NOTICE. On the other hand, you are also responsible for informing the DMV within 10 days of the transaction.

Can I get a car loan?

Buying a car is expensive and therefore financing a car is essential. When you are a teenager, getting a car loan gets a bit complicated. So here are a few tips to help you get a loan.

Steady income

Since you don’t have any credit history, it would be a bit difficult for lenders to trust you. Therefore, it is important that you pledge regular payments to lenders. This is possible with a steady job and income.

Big deposit

If you can afford to put down 10-20% of the car price, it will be easier to take out loans. A higher deposit amount can protect you from possible negative equity. So even if your car’s value goes down, you’ll own less and the chances of getting an upside-down loan will be less.

Find a co-signer for your car loan

Although you must be at least 18 years old to sign contracts in California, a minor still has certain rights. You can contract for specific goods and services necessary for survival. In some situations, a car is also seen as a necessity. So you can sign the contract in such cases.

Even 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 unnecessary risks, the lender needs a co-signer with a good credit history.

Under California law, a co-signer is someone who takes responsibility for the car loan but does not take ownership of it. So the co-signer does not have to be a co-owner of your car. Ownership of your car depends on the names added to the car’s title.

If you repay your loan on time, your co-signer has no further obligations or rights.
Knowledge is power!

Buying a car is easy once you know the exact process. You only have bargaining power if you are familiar with it.

All the best with the purchase of your FIRST car!