Buying Used Car in California

Buying a used Car in California
Many people prefer used cars as they are more affordable. However, to get a car for its money’s worth you need to know the things that must be looked into that can make it a safe buy.

Every state has its own rules and regulations for motor vehicles usage and buying and selling of them. Knowledge of them can make the buying or selling process much simpler and also give you the peace of mind that all things are legally in place.

Given below are some factors that must be kept in mind while buying a used car in California:


  • Search for the car you want. Compare the prices and models and shortlist the ones that fit your motor vehicle needs.
  • Call the seller to enquire about price and other details such as the VIN number of the car.
  • Get the vehicle history report.
  • Check the car in daylight and look for signs of accident, paint chips and the overall condition of the car.
  • Take your driver’s license or a photocopy along for taking a test drive.
  • Check the use of brakes, clutch and gears.
  • To ensure that you are buying a fully functional roadworthy vehicle, you should take it to a mechanic for evaluation.
  • Get the smog check history (if it applies to the car you are buying) as required by the California department of motor vehicle. It is provided by the seller and cannot be more than 90 days old. Generally owners of vehicles over four years old need to provide smog certification.
  • After double checking you can proceed with the buying process. For this California law requires certificate of title signed by both parties.
  • California bill of sale is also required that can be downloaded online, along with the notice of release of liability. Notice of release of liability and notice of transfer is submitted by the seller to DMV. This can be done online and has to be submitted within five days.

The buyer according to California DMV law has to get the transfer of title done within 10 days. There is a transfer fee that has to be paid within 30 days and after the clearance the car belongs to you.

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