Investing in your own vehicle is an exciting and challenging decision. It entails you to shell out a considerable amount of money—so it makes sense to spend time on research first. After all, you want to get the most out of your money, right?
In this guide, you will learn everything you need to know about purchasing your own vehicle in the state of Texas. Know that there are slight variations in the processes of buying vehicles depending on your location, so it’s best to be specific on your research.
Should I buy a new or a second-hand car?
The decision to buy a brand new or a second-hand car is entirely a personal choice. However, you must consider a lot of things before making up your mind. These advantages and disadvantages will help you decide.
Buying a Brand New Car
1. The car is in top shape
Of course, a car without a history of use is free from abuse, damage, or neglect. You will have peace of mind that you wouldn’t face any problems in terms of the technical side in the first few years of purchase.
2. Modern car features
If the latest car technology is important to you as a car owner, there is no better option than to get a brand new car. This is because it will be hard, if not impossible at all, to find the latest advancements in a used car. Also, brand new cars will provide you with more flexibility in terms of options should you be looking for a specific feature such as a premium sound system, keyless entry, or back-assist radar.
3. Long warranty
Like the car itself, the warranty of a brand new car is untouched. Most dealers provide a comprehensive warranty that is valid for three to four years. This includes repairs and labor, depending on the contract. What’s more, you wouldn’t have to pay extra for such comprehensive warranty; it already comes with the car package deal.
4. Hassle-free to buy
If you opt for a new car, you wouldn’t have to go through the seemingly endless search over the Internet, newspapers, and other forms of advertisements. You would experience convenience as you can just go to a car dealer and tell him what you want in a car. The dealer will do the tedious task of searching for your dream car for you.
As nothing is perfect in this world, remember that owning a brand new car does not come without challenges. With all the conveniences it provides, its main disadvantage lies in its high purchase price. All the privileges you will enjoy come with an equivalent cost. Brand new cars also depreciate the very moment you drive it off the dealer’s place. This could mean hundreds or even thousands of dollars lost in its value in such a short time.
Buying a Second-Hand Car
1. Low purchase price
Cars are resold for a variety of reasons: to upgrade to a new one, to get a bigger car, or even change of preference. Like all used things being sold in the market, a second-hand car is undoubtedly cheaper. If you will be able to come across one that is still in good condition with a price that is half or almost half its original price, then that would be a good deal.
2. Declining depreciation
All cars technically depreciate over time. But they typically depreciate the most in the first three years. With a used car, you wouldn’t have to worry about the car losing its value. If you want to sell it again in the future, you wouldn’t be forced to sell it at a very low price.
3. Low insurance rates
This is yet another money-saving hack you will get out of investing in a used car. Insurance rates are highly affected by the age of the car; and in this case, since it has been used, the insurance you will have to pay will be less expensive compared to a brand new car.
The disadvantages of having a second-hand car involve limited or no warranty, higher maintenance costs, and the fact that you would have to search and scrutinize all the used cars presented to you. Doing this will enable you to end up with a vehicle with a feature you want, at a price you can afford.
Car Title Transfer Process in Texas
After choosing which car to buy, it’s time to have the car’s title be transferred to your name. This process will make you the rightful owner of the vehicle you just bought. Remember to accomplish this within 30 days after you have closed the deal.
If you have bought the vehicle in question from a car dealer, you wouldn’t have to worry about title transfer as well as registration. Most car dealers are more than willing to do this for you, in exchange for a fee.
However, if you have transacted with a private individual, you would have to accomplish the following steps to transfer the car’s title to your name:
1. Visit your local county tax office with the seller
2. Bring the following documents:
a. Current title with the seller’s signature
b. Application for Texas Title (Form 130-U) with the seller’s signature as well
c. Proof of Texas car insurance
d. Proof of Inspection
3. Pay the title transfer fees
Be prepared to pay $95 at most for the title fees. The fees make up the payment for title application, inspection, local and county, insurance verification, as well as automation. The amount will still change depending on the country and inspection station you are in.
Car Registration Process in Texas
Like the title transfer, you would also need to register your newly-purchased vehicle at least 30 days from when you purchased it. Again, you can have your car dealer do this for you (if you have one).
Otherwise, do the following:
1. Go to your local Texas tax office
2. Fill out the Application for Texas Certificate of Title (Form130-U)
3. Provide the following documents:
a. Proof of identification
b. A copy of the car insurance policy
c. Vehicle inspection history report
d. Proof of ownership (title)
4. Pay the vehicle registration fee of $50.75
What You Need to Know About the Texas Lemon Law
The Lemon Law is named as such because Americans use the slang word “lemon” to refer to a “worthless thing” or a “loser”. This use started in the early 20th century and eventually became a term to describe something that is broken or defective, particularly, a car.
The Texas Lemon Law is an administrative bill that protects every car owner. If you have unfortunately purchased or leased a vehicle that soon develops a defect that alters its overall function, its value, or even your own safety, you might be eligible for the Lemon Law. This particular law provides assistance and relief to car owners so that they can fix the situation with their car manufacturer.
Are you protected by the Texas Lemon Law?
As the car owner, you must give the dealer a reasonable amount of attempts to repair the vehicle before you file a Lemon Law complaint form. There are four tests which you must pass to ensure that you have actually provided the dealer with a “reasonable” number of chances to fix the problem.
1. The Four Times Test.
You have passed this text if you have brought your car to the dealer for repair of the same problem two times in a span of one year and twice again another year after the first repair.
2. The Serious Safety Hazard Test.
This refers to a life-threatening defect on the vehicle’s part. It means using the vehicle possess a dangerous hazard to you as the driver, your passengers, and other motorists. You passed this test if you have brought the car for repair at least once during the first 12 months when you have bought it and for another time again within one year after that first repair.
3. The 30 Day Test.
If the vehicle you have recently bought was needed to be repaired for a lengthy 30 days because of the severity of the defect, you may be eligible for the Lemon Law. That is, if this repair episode happened during the first two years of the vehicle’s stay with you.
If you have experienced all the above scenario and the problem with your vehicle still exists, go to the nearest TxDMV (Texas Department of Motor Vehicles) office and you may now file a complaint.
Are used vehicles covered by the Lemon Law?
Second-hand vehicles may be protected by Lemon Law if it is still under the original warranty of the manufacturer. This can also be the case if the defect has already been reported but continues to exist. You may receive repair assistance for your used vehicle under these terms. However, in most cases, the Lemon Law does not apply to used car purchases.