Car buying is a complicated process that takes a good amount of preparation. Not many people just stroll onto a car lot without doing some research, you want to look into things beforehand and make sure you have enough info. All of that prep work is even more important when you have bad or little credit.
Buying used cars can be daunting with everything that can be wrong with used cars. Some shady dealerships might try to shift a bad car onto you just to get it off their lot while others might just not tell you about some problems the car has. There is a lot of preemptive research you need to do just on the brand of the car itself, then you need to hope the specific car you’re getting isn’t in too rough of shape.
You’ve had your car for the better part of a decade, it’s served you well. You probably have a lot of good memories with that car, but like all good things, it eventually must end. Maybe it’s having a few mechanical problems or it might just be time to update things a little bit.
Sometimes you need to make an upgrade to your car, but before you can there’s still that old car of yours. The easiest option is to just trade it in whenever you go to buy your new one, but you might want to slow down just a bit. There’s a bit more to it than just saying OK and trading your car in for another.
Top used cars to buy in 2018
One of the most difficult parts of automotive research is that nothing stays the same. We don’t just mean that buying last year’s model means that you won’t have the latest and greatest stereo system. A specific model that is highly rated today could prove to be rated poorly if you look at an older model year. It helps to know what the top used cars are in 2018 so you can get an idea of what past vehicles are still holding up to their reputation even after they’ve already been on the road and tested for a few years. They say only time will tell, and it seems these vehicles are living up to the test of time. Read the rest of this entry
How do you get the right auto loan?
When you go to purchase a used car, you likely have a specific budget in mind. It’s simple to show up, talk to the financial experts at Auto Simple and agree to terms that leave you with an affordable monthly payment. It’s not that this approach is wrong, but it’s worth considering your different options. Before you decide on a car, we’re here to help you learn how to get the right auto loan for your finances. Read the rest of this entry
Top-Rated Used Car Brands
One of the biggest risks associated with buying a used car is that you don’t know as much about the vehicle history as you would like. Of course you have the CarFax report to tell you if services are up to date, but you still weren’t there to reassure yourself that the previous driver was gentle on the vehicle. It only makes sense that you would want to hedge your bets by picking from the top-rated used car brands. These are the automotive brands with the best reputation for long-term reliability. Read the rest of this entry
What used vehicles have the best mileage?
Gas mileage is a primary concern for those shopping for their next vehicle. Concern for the environment and personal finance considerations are both major reasons for more drivers making the switch to vehicles with better fuel economy. Regardless of motivation, many drivers are asking the question: What used vehicles have the best mileage? We’ve created a list of tips to help you find used vehicles with great fuel economy. Read the rest of this entry
Is it time to say goodbye to “old faithful”? Like everything else in this world, cars don’t last forever. While you may be proud of your faithful 200,000-mile vehicle, it could be more trouble than it’s worth.
There are many reasons why you may want to replace your vehicle, including practical, financial, safety, drivability, and pleasure motives.
Should I Repair or Replace My Vehicle?
If you are thinking about repairing or replacing your car, this post will teach you how to save money when making your next car repair or car purchase. However, nobody knows your vehicle better than you do. Use the following tips as a guide not a gospel.
Cost of repairs
Car maintenance and repairs are unavoidable, but sometimes there is a major repair that gets you wondering if you should simply invest in a new car.
Small repairs and regular maintenance aren’t anything to worry about. It’s the costly repairs that start you thinking about whether you should replace the car or not.
Although it’s almost always cheaper to repair a car than to buy a new one, some repairs, such as replacing a failed transmission can run upwards of $3,000. At this point, you could buy a used vehicle for the same amount and probably save a lot of money in the long run.
Keep in mind that math can only take you so far. In addition to the price of repairs, you’ll want to take other things into consideration, including what you still owe on the vehicle, type of repair, repair frequency, and your vehicle’s worth.
Research market value of your car
You can even find out what your vehicle is worth without leaving the comfort and convenience of your home. Fill out our online form and we’ll send you an estimated appraisal within 48 hours.
Repairs are more than 50% of the vehicle’s worth
As soon as you start considering a repair that is more than half of the vehicle’s market value, you should start comparing the pros and cons of purchasing a vehicle.
For instance, if your car is only worth $3,000 and you are faced with repairs that are over $1,500, it may be time to start looking for a trade-in deal at your local used car lot. But, if your vehicle is worth more than $4,000, you may want to research the matter further to make the best decision.
It doesn’t make much sense to pay for a repair that is over half of the value of car when there is a high likelihood that another costly repair will soon be on its way. But first, you need to know the value of your vehicle (as is, without the repair(s)) and the likelihood of future repairs.
If your repair is more than 50% of the cost to replace, start researching sale and trade-in values to see how much your old car can serve as a down payment for a new one.
Repairs are more than the vehicle is worth
The choice is simple when faced with a repair that equals or exceeds the market value of your vehicle. Find out what your vehicle is worth and if your repair is close to or exceeds that amount, you should definitely look into replacement options.
Use the money you get from your car sale or trade-in toward the purchase of your next vehicle.
Consider future repairs
Will your repair be the last one for a while? If you have a reliable mechanic who is warning you of likely upcoming repairs, you should take those recommendations into consideration. If this big repair seems like the beginning of a whole host of new problems, consider replacement.
A vehicle can be as much of a money pit as a home. Be wary of vehicle troubleshooting and diagnostics that warn of impending problems for your vehicle, such as new tires and brakes. Take the time to get a second or third opinion on the matter so you know if these forecasts are reliable or not. Factor them into your decision.
Get a second and third opinion
We’ve already shared some tips for finding a good, honest mechanic, but it’s worth going over again to get the most accurate representation of your vehicle’s state.
Even if you’ve found a mechanic you can trust, before you make a decision on whether you should repair, replace, sell, or trade in your used vehicle, get a second or third opinion on the recommended service and repairs. For any major decision like this, don’t rely on one opinion.
Your mechanic may also be able to provide information on whether or not the repair or upgrade will significantly increase your selling or trade-in value. You may be able to get a return on investment.
Determine your maintenance and repair costs
Create a calendar and plan for future repairs so you know what to expect and when. It can help you budget for future repairs and give you an idea of the cost and likelihood of future car costs.
Consult your owner’s manual and past maintenance/repair history reports to create a calendar of likely repairs over the next couple of years.
Are you spending more than $300/month to keep your car running? If so, do the math on getting a more reliable and fuel-efficient vehicle.
Increased safety and reliability
Personal safety and job security also rely on a dependable mode of transportation. If you are worrying about your car starting every morning, consider the added benefits of safety and reliability.
For many people, not having a reliable car means missing work and possibly losing a job. If you have been late or missed work too often, you may want to consider the extra benefit of reliable car for work and career purposes.
Lifestyle changes often dictate the need for a new vehicle, such as longer/shorter commutes and the need for more space. If your family has expanded in size or you have a new job that requires a different vehicle, a more suitable vehicle type is probably needed.
The older your car is and the older your car gets, the less fuel efficient it is likely to be. While there are some things to increase the fuel efficiency of your vehicle, if it’s a gas guzzler, you may want to consider purchasing a more fuel-efficient vehicle.
Add up your monthly operation costs and use this fuel cost calculator to compare it with the estimated monthly fuel costs for your new vehicle.
If you want the newest car technologies and features, such as cameras, sound systems, and GPS, you may want to look for a new vehicle that satisfies your requirements.
Looking for a change
Sometimes, you just want a change. If you are looking for a big change in your life, a different vehicle can make you feel like a brand new person.
Reasons for Repair:
- Purchasing a new car takes time and energy. If you want to get back on the road as soon as possible, it’s probably faster to pay for a repair.
- You have a sentimental attachment to your old car. Whether it’s the first car you paid for on your own as an adult, a gift from a grandparent who has passed, or simply carries many pleasant memories, there are many emotional reasons why you may want to stick to the car you’ve known for many years.
- Make sure you have enough to make a good down payment (around 20%). While the cost of repair could be thousands of dollars, which would be a really nice down payment on a car, you probably still have to worry about monthly payments.
- Sometimes your insurance increases when you get a new car. Factor the cost of insurance into the repair-or-replace equation.
Tips for Purchasing Your Next Car
Don’t buy new! Buy used!
New car depreciation is shocking! A new car loses around 10-15% of its value as soon as you drive it off the lot. New cars lose around 20-25% of their value within the first year.
According to CarFax, “new cars continue to lose value for four more years, averaging a decline of 15-25 percent per year. On average, a new car will lose 60 percent of its total value over the first five years of its life.”
Keep in mind that older and foreign cars tend to have higher repair costs. When shopping for a new vehicle, factor in operational and depreciation costs.
Be wary of private buying and private selling
There are many risks involved with private car sales. We recommend either avoiding the situation entirely by working with a used car lot or being extremely careful and diligent when dealing with private sellers or buyers.
Avoid the hassle of posting on Craigslist and simply visit one of our locations in Tennessee and Georgia for a quick and easy transaction.
Buy used car in full
The best way to replace your current car is by selling or trading in your current vehicle in order to pay for a used car upfront. By choosing a car that you can afford to pay for upfront, you will own the car rather the car owning you. Then, save the money that you would have spent on your monthly car payments for future repairs and/or your next vehicle.
The worst (most expensive) way to purchase a car is to lease a new car. Not only will new cars lose around 22% of its value over the first year, your lease payments will also be covering the car’s depreciation and the dealer’s/loaners profits.
Try not to go into debt over a car. Use cash if you can for the best deal. If you must “rent” a car, lease a Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle instead.
First, you should know your credit rating. While your credit rating will affect your loan approvals and interest rates, there are some car dealers, such as Auto Simple that provide competitive financing ratings for any approval rating.
Still, you want to make sure you can afford the car. Use a car affordability calculator or contact your local Auto Simple representative. If you are trading in your vehicle, get a quote from us so you can subtract the trade-in value from the estimated car budget.
Read our Used Car Buyer’s Guide for more tips on shopping for a used vehicle.
Tips for Extending Vehicle Lifespans
If you aren’t quite ready to say goodbye to the car that has served you so well over the years, then here are some tips for extending its lifespan and stalling some of those common repairs:
- Use your owner’s manual to stay up on all the proper maintenance for your vehicle, including fluid changes and other regular service intervals. It’s a good idea to schedule calendar reminders for all your important car maintenance so you never forget.
- You can also conduct some regular maintenance for your vehicle on your own. Reference your owner’s manual for information on replacing fluids, such as motor oil and coolant. Read our blog post for more information on regular vehicle maintenance.
- Learn what your vehicle dashboard signs and symbols mean. Some can be ignored while others are much more important to pay attention to.
- If you don’t know what’s wrong with your car, use the internet and online forums, such as CarTalk to try and figure out the problem.
- Avoid getting scammed by mechanics by learning what to bring with you and what to look out for when shopping around for a mechanic.
The decision whether to repair or replace your vehicle can be difficult. It involves math, your current situation, and many other factors.
Before you sink more money into your vehicle, contact Auto Simple for a free vehicle appraisal.
Not only do we pay top dollar for your used vehicle, we also can get you a better deal on trading in your old car for one of our Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles.
It’s as simple as 1, 2, 3:
- Visit one of our locations
- Receive a top dollar offer
- Sell of trade in your car and get paid on the spot
- Used Car Buyer’s Guide
- Pros and Cons of Buy Here Pay Here Lots
- How to Buy, Title & Register a Vehicle in Tennessee
- How to Avoid Getting Scammed by Mechanics
- Pros and Cons of “Buy Here Pay Here” Dealerships
- What to Do After Buying a Used Car
- Risks of Buying a Used Car from a Private Seller
Contact Auto Simple or visit one of our convenient locations:
Chattanooga, TN – (423) 551-3600
Cleveland, TN – (423) 476-4600
Dayton, TN – (423) 775-4600
Dalton, GA – (706) 217-CARS (2277)
* We provide the Kelley Blue Book link for research and reference purposes only. Kelley Blue Book is not affiliated with this site in any way. Representations made regarding products and services provided by third parties are governed by the policies and representations made by these third parties.
We’ve already written up guides for how to buy a used vehicle, how to buy a used vehicle with bad or no credit, and what to do after buying a car. But since there are a lot of specifics unique to each state, today we’re discussing what you need to know about buying, titling, and registering a vehicle in Tennessee.
How to Buy a Vehicle in Tennessee
If you are purchasing a vehicle in Tennessee, you will need to know some specific information for the proper transfer of ownership into your name.
While it can be more expensive to buy a car from a dealership, it is a much safer and easier process. It can also be cheaper to purchase from a dealership depending on the private seller and common private seller scams. Still, there are many steps to take before you sign the final papers. Read our Car Buyer’s Guide and do your homework first.
Purchasing from a Dealership
If you are purchasing a vehicle from a dealership, here is what you’ll need to successfully transfer ownership in one go:
- Government issued photo ID, such as a valid driver’s license.
- Proof of income, proof of residence, and proof of insurance. Contact the dealership before you go for specific requirements.
- If a trade-in is in order, don’t forget your vehicle’s title (or payoff information), valid and current vehicle registration, and all keys/remotes. Learn more about selling or trading in your used vehicle to a dealership.
The dealership will provide you with:
- A Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin (MCO), only if the vehicle hasn’t yet been titled in Tennessee. This won’t apply if you are purchasing a used vehicle.
- Current title, only if the vehicle is used and has already been titled.
- Invoice from the dealer that shows the total purchase price, which is used to determine sales tax.
Buying a used vehicle from a dealership is a lot easier and less time-consuming than purchasing from a private seller. When you deal with a dealership such as Auto Simple, we will handle all of the DMV-related paperwork including title transfers, registration, and any related fees.
After all questions are answered and the paperwork is signed, you will receive the keys and copies of all the documents. You simply drive away in your new certified pre-owned vehicle, with all the important documents in the glove box.
Purchasing from a Private Seller
Before you think about purchasing a car from a private seller, make sure you are aware of all the risks.
You will need certain documents and assurances from the private seller before you can properly transfer ownership.
Here are the TN Department of Revenue (DOR) requirements for titling and registering your vehicle after purchase:
- Signed and completed title.
- Odometer Disclosure Statement (Form RV-F1317001). Learn more about odometers and odometer fraud.
- Purchase price.
- Sale date.
Never purchase a vehicle from a private seller if they don’t have a title. If they don’t have a title, they must apply for a new title by completing a Duplicate Title Application (Form RV-F1321801).
For more information on transferring title information, read the DMV Guide to Title Transfer in Tennessee.
How to Transfer a Title in Tennessee
Here are the steps for transferring a title from a private seller (via DMV.org):
- Get a properly assigned title and Odometer Disclosure Statement from the previous owner.
- Bring the paperwork to your local county clerk’s office.
- Provide proof of ID and residency.
- A copy of your current registration if you are transferring current license plates to the new car.
- A completed Affidavit of Non-Dealer Transfers of Motor Vehicles and Boats (Form RV-F1301201)—For tax exempted DMV title transfers only (such as a gift or a qualifying relative of previous owner).
- Pay any applicable fees and sales taxes.
If you are new to the state of Tennessee, you will need to title and register your car with the Vehicle Services Division (DVS) at your local county clerk’s office.
Make sure you bring:
- Current out-of-state registration.
- Out-of-state title certificate.
- If you are making payments on your car, and have a lien hold, you must provide your lender’s name and address.
- Emissions test certificate (if applicable).
- Proof of identification and residency.
- Payment for the title transfer fee (varies by county).
How to Register a Vehicle in Tennessee
Registering your vehicle is necessary whenever you purchase a vehicle or move to a new state, such as Tennessee. If you are purchasing from a dealership, they should be able to title and register your car for you.
Requirements for registering a new vehicle:
- Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin.
- Your new car’s invoice.
- Copy of your current registration (if you are transferring license plates from your previous car).
- Proof of identification.
- Proof of residency.
- Payment for your titling fees (vary by county).
Requirements for registering a used vehicle:
- Proof of identity and residency
- Odometer Disclosure Statement (if purchased from a private seller)
- Payment for registration fees
- Some counties require an emissions inspection BEFORE registration
If you are transferring a vehicle title from a private Tennessee seller, visit your local county clerk with the following information:
- Properly assigned (by the seller) title certificate.
- Odometer Disclosure Statement (Form RV-F1317001).
- Copy of your current registration, if you are transferring your current license plates to your new car.
- A completed Affidavit of Non-Dealer Transfers of Motor Vehicles and Boats (Form RV-F1301201)—For tax exempted DMV title transfers only (see below).
- Proof of passed emissions test, if applicable.
- If the vehicle registration is up for renewal and you live in a required testing county, you or the seller will likely need to have the car tested prior to a change of ownership.
- Acceptable proofs of residency and identity.
- Payment for applicable title transfer fees (varies by TN county).
Note: If you are purchasing your vehicle from a private seller and the vehicle is up for registration renewal, then you will want to have the car inspected and give the paperwork to the buyer before purchase. Or have them get the car inspected themselves.
Don’t Buy a Lemon!
Never purchase a vehicle from a private seller or used car dealership without obtaining a vehicle history report (CarFax) first. This document will tell you all the information you need to make sure the car isn’t a clunker.
How to Renew Your Vehicle’s Registration
Residents of Tennessee who already have a registration should check out the registration renewal page.
- Submit your passed emissions test information (if your county requires it)
- Current or most recent out-of-state registration.
- Your out-of-state title.
- Bring the name and address of the lienholder if you have a loan out on the vehicle.
- Identification (such as U.S. driver’s license, birth certificate, military ID, etc.).
- The DOR provides a full list of acceptable identification documents.
- Proof of residency (rental or mortgage agreement, utility bill, paycheck stub, etc.).
- Click for full list of acceptable proofs of residency in Tennessee.
- Payment for all required fees.
Visit DMV.org for more information on title transfers and registrations in Tennessee.
You May Not Have to Leave Home!
You may be able to complete many of these tasks without leaving the comfort of your home. Visit the Tennessee DOS online services page for more information.
Remember, the Tennessee Department of Revenue (DOR) is the place to go to complete most processes that involve your car, truck, or motorcycle:
Looking to sell your used vehicle? Check out our guide for selling your used vehicle to a dealership.
If you have any questions about the requirements for titles, registration, license plates, and more, contact the Tennessee Department of Safety and Tennessee Department of Revenue:
TN DOS Contact Info
Main Office: (615) 251-5166
Tennessee Department of Safety
P.O. Box 945
Nashville, TN 37202
TN DOR Contact Info:
- State-wide, toll free: (888) 871-3171
- Nashville area and out-of-state: (615) 741-3101
Department of Revenue
Vehicle Services Division
44 Vantage Way, Suite 160
Nashville, TN 37243
We carry a large selection of hand-picked used vehicles, all of which come with a 6 month/6,000-mile powertrain warranty. We also own a private track for test driving!
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to speak with one of our Online Specialists or give us a call:
Chattanooga, TN – (423) 551-3600
Cleveland, TN – (423) 476-4600
Dayton, TN – (423) 775-4600
Dalton, GA – (706) 217-CARS (2277)