Here are the eight most important things to do after picking up your new or used car from a dealership. Regardless of the state where you purchased your vehicle, dealerships are staffed by humans, and as in any other business, dealership employees can make errors, oversights, and mistakes. Some of this advice also applies to for-sale-by-owner purchases, and that’s a separate article coming soon.
Step 1: Remove the dealership advertising
When you get home, double check that the dealership has removed its advertising from the vehicle, as you asked them to. It is in the interest of dealerships to leave their advertising on the vehicles they sell, but once you get your new car home, leaving it there is your choice.
Step 2: Double-check with your insurance company
Call your insurance company again (even if you did already) to make sure that your vehicle is covered and that the insurance company has correctly recorded the VIN (and the lien holder, if applicable).
Step 3: Check the arrangements for your new tags
If the dealership has transferred your tags, then you’re all set and there is nothing to do. If the dealership has put a temporary tag on your car, make a note to yourself to contact Car Pal (if we helped you with your purchase) or the dealership title office (if you made your purchase on your own) in three weeks if you still haven’t received your permanent tags. Our staff will chase down the new tags for you if they have not been sent to your home.
Step 4: Double-check that everything in the car is working
Double-check that everything on the vehicle is operating correctly. If you’ve purchased a brand-new car or a certified pre-owned car, it is covered under warranty. However, if you purchased a used car and didn’t notice when you picked it up that some part of it was not operating as it should (such as windows, seat adjustments, emergency brake, windshield wipers, etc.), you’ll want to notify Car Pal or the selling dealership (if you purchased without our assistance) immediately.
By notifying the dealership right away of their oversight (and your own as the individual, making sure all is operating properly), if it’s not an item covered under warranty, you are increasing your chance of getting the dealership to pay for the repair. NB: We had a client who didn’t notice that the rear passenger window actuator wasn’t working until two weeks after purchase. In this case, the dealership was honorable and paid nearly $500 for new actuator parts and labor. Not all dealerships are this ethical, so it’s better to notice these things at time of purchase, not later.
If you don’t happen to notice a problem at time of purchase, then we recommend that you bring it to the dealership’s attention (via Car Pal) as quickly as possible.
Step 5: Pencil in your next oil change and tire rotation
Now is a good time to note on your calendar when you anticipate the next oil change and tire rotation will be due. Time flies, so don’t leave it to chance to remember when it’s time to take care of your new or new-to-you gem.
Step 6: Spread the Car Pal cheer
Post on Facebook that you used Car Pal for your purchase! Tell everyone how much time, money, and effort it saved you. If it didn’t save you time, money, and effort, call Car Pal and complain (we mean it!).
Step 7: Review the dealership online
Take a moment to review the dealership online and (hopefully) give them a fantastic review. If you used Car Pal for your purchase, you can be sure that the dealership had to jump through hoops to make sure they met Car Pal’s standards for pricing and service to ensure that you had the most extraordinary purchase experience possible.
If your car manufacturer sends you a survey, for the sake of Car Pal and our future clients also getting the best pricing and a similar red carpet experience, give them the highest marks on the grading, because anything less will be seen as a failing grade. Remember the saying “No good deed shall go unpunished.” We don’t want to punish dealership personnel for good customer service.
Step 8: Catch your breath
Rest and relax for at least an hour. Even with Car Pal’s car buying service, you’ve just spent a lot of money. That is stressful for most of us. Allow yourself to decompress if you can.