It takes a long time to find a new (or new-to-you) vehicle. There is a lot of research, searching, test-driving and questioning to be done, but once you find “the one” that fits your budget and your lifestyle, it can be pretty exciting!
There is less risk with buying a new vehicle, as they generally come with warrantees, but there are lots of ways to make a smart purchase of a used car too. One of those is to have a thorough vehicle inspection done before you buy. Also take a good, long look at the vehicle’s maintenance history. Any major repairs or long gaps in service are red flags.
Buying a Car and Your Insurance
Before you drive off the lot or away from the last owner, it’s imperative to check on your insurance. Make sure you get the VIN, and then call your car insurance provider or insurance broker. They will be able to give you an estimate for your new insurance and also provide important details such as:
- What sort of sales documentation you should obtain. In Alberta, you will need a Bill of Sale including the date of the purchase, contact information for both the buyer and seller, the year, make, model and VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) number of the car, the odometer reading, the total price, how it is being paid for and additional information about the car such as warranties that are still valid.
- If the type of vehicle you have chosen is often stolen
- If there have been any recalls on that particular make and model
- If your vehicle has been in an accident that was perhaps not disclosed
It is highly recommended that you have your new car insurance in order before you make the final purchase. But in some cases this may not be possible. If you are on the hunt for a vehicle, call your insurance provider or broker to ask if your policy will cover your new vehicle for a certain number of days after you make a purchase. It doesn’t necessarily guarantee you will have the same type of coverage as you currently hold, however. Find out the specifics and get proof in writing so that you can assure your dealer that you are covered before driving off. It’s possible they may not let you go even with this documentation, however, especially if they have provided financing. Also remember that you will need to register the vehicle under your name as soon as possible, and to do so requires a valid pink slip.
Tips For Keeping Your New (or Newly-Bought) Car Driving Like New
There are two tried-and-true ways to keep your vehicle in tip-top condition. The first is regular maintenance. Your car dealership should provide a maintenance schedule that we suggest following to the letter. Doing so will not only make sure your warranty stays valid, but you will catch major problems before they start. If you did not purchase your vehicle from a dealership or it did not come with a warranty, check your car’s manufacturer’s guide for their maintenance recommendations. The general rule of thumb is to take it in for an oil and filter change plus an inspection every three months or 5,000 kilometres, especially for vehicles more than five years old or with high mileage. In milder climates it may not be necessary to go as often, but Calgary’s cold and wet winters are hard on engines.
The second way to keep your car operating at peak efficiency is by driving “green” and driving defensively. You can reduce wear and tear on your vehicle (plus save on gas) by thinking safety first. Anticipate the road ahead and avoid accelerating and braking hard. Check your tire pressure often – especially during the colder months. Flat tires don’t allow for a smooth ride and cause extra exertion on the engine. Also, take it easy on your car right after you start it. Newer vehicles don’t need to be “warmed up” before putting them in drive anymore, but it’s still a good idea to not put the pedal to the medal for several kilometres. Finally, use your parking brake when parking to stop your transmission from deteriorating.
Keeping Your Car Looking Good
We recommend taking your car to drive-thru or pull-in wash stations, as they have proper drainage systems for the soapy water plus oil and gas that can be washed off. It is a smart idea to check their damage policy before entering, and to do a visual inspection of your vehicle for and dings and scratches. If the car wash damages your vehicle you will then have recourse.
Treat interior stains as quickly as possible. Use paper towels or a dry, clean cloth to soak up as much of the liquid as you can. Then, use a foaming fabric cleaner or a specially formulated car upholstery cleaner, both of which you can purchase from auto care retailers. Start with small amounts of cleanser, then increase them as needed to get the stain out. Use a toothbrush to scrape them away; the bristles help dig into the fabric to vanquish stains.
Lane’s Insurance of Calgary Works for You
Lane’s Insurance is a leading Calgary-based insurance brokerage, providing comprehensive and affordable protection to drivers across the province. If you have any questions about your car insurance coverage, or if you’d like a fast, free, no-obligation quote, please contact us to learn more.