In the US, the average person retains ownership over the same car for around seven years

By the end of those years, you’re more than ready for an upgrade, but it’s been a while since you’ve gone through the buying process. Most people concentrate on finding the perfect car at the right price, but your preparation shouldn’t stop there. There are plenty of other steps you need to take after you’ve already purchased your new vehicle. 

Keep reading to discover the top seven things to do after buying a new car.

1. Update Your Insurance

Wondering what to do after buying a car? The very first thing you should do is update your vehicle insurance. 

Contact your insurance provider immediately. If you procrastinate on this end get into an accident, you’ll be driving without insurance. In addition, you don’t want to be paying for your old insurance on a vehicle you aren’t driving anymore. 

Most of this can be done with a simple phone call to your insurance provider. Give them your new vehicle’s information and they’ll be able to provide a new quote. They can email you a quick proof of insurance and mail you an official one as soon as the paperwork is processed. 

If you buy from a private car dealership, most will require you do this before even leaving the lot. 

2. Register the Vehicle

Once your insurance is updated, it’s time to officially register your vehicle with the Department of Motor Vehicles. 

Take your proof of insurance, along with the title transfer paperwork, and personal identification documents to your local DMV branch. Here they’ll walk you through the steps of registering your vehicle. Expect to pay a fee for registering the vehicle under your own name. 

If you’ve already gone through the steps of how to get temporary license plates when buying from a private seller, now you’ll apply for your permanent plate. Keep the temporary plate on the vehicle until you receive your new one.

3. Familiarize Yourself With the Manual 

We aren’t doubting that you didn’t do diligent research on your vehicle before purchasing. But knowing the difference between the top Ford SUVs and knowing the ins and outs of your specific vehicle are two separate steps. 

While the text inside a manual isn’t the most page-turning, it’s important you at least skim through every section. 

Pay special attention to the following sections:

  • Your vehicle’s battery
  • Tire pressure
  • Warning lights
  • Checking the fluids
  • Common troubleshooting issues

4. Set up Your Presets 

Now that you’ve done some of the more boring legwork, it’s time to actually get inside your vehicle. 

Sit in the driver’s seat and familiarize yourself with all the customizations. Get your seat in the perfect position and adjust all the mirrors. Sit in the driveway and discover exactly how all your blinkers, windshield wipers, and heating controls work. 

Don’t forget to also set up your radio. If you have an older radio, set up the presets for your favorite stations. If you’ve purchased a new vehicle, you’ll also have to set up BlueTooth connection to your phone and any music streaming service you’ll use. 

If your vehicle has an integrated GPS system, nows the time to enter all your most-visited addresses into the destinations.  

5. Equip With Personal, Emergency Items

Now it’s time to make sure your vehicle is equipped with all the items you prefer to keep in your vehicle. 

Start with your personal items. This could include the following:

  • Umbrella
  • Jacket
  • Gum or mints
  • Phone charger

You’ll also want to store some emergency items in your vehicle. While everyone hopes to never use these, it’s a good idea to keep them in your vehicle just in case. 

Your car’s emergency bag can include:

  • First aid kit
  • Bottles of water and non-perishable snacks
  • Jumper cables
  • Multi-tool
  • Blanket and a change of clothes
  • Flashlight

6. Visit Your Trusted Mechanic

Even though you hope your new car is in perfect working order, it’s not a bad idea to visit your trusted mechanic after purchasing it. 

They’ll be able to give the vehicle a once-over to ensure that everything is working as advertised. If you bought the vehicle with any existing mechanical issues, they can take care of these at this time. 

This trip to your mechanic is also useful so they can familiarize themselves with your new vehicle. The next time you need mechanical work done, they’ll already know a little bit about the vehicle. 

7. Go for a Road Trip

Now that you’ve gone through all the other steps on this list of what to do after buying a car, it’s time to actually drive the car. 

You’ve taken the vehicle on short trips, like to your mechanic or the DMV and running various errands. But now it’s time to go on a road trip to truly familiarize yourself with how the vehicle drives. 

While you don’t need to drive across the country for a week, you should aim for a trip lasting over an hour. This will give you the opportunity to feel how your vehicle handles on different road trips and at different speeds. 

And, it’s just a fun thing to do with your new ride! 

Checklist of Things to Do After Buying a New Car

If you follow this checklist of things to do after buying a new car, the transition process will go much smoother than you imagined. 

Start with the important steps of updating your insurance, registering the vehicle, and reading the manual. Then, get the vehicle ready for driving by setting your presets and adding in your emergency items. Finally, it’s time for a check-up with your local mechanic and then you’re ready to take your new car on a joy ride. 

After you’ve got the basics down, consider customizing and upgrading your vehicle to make it truly yours. Visit the Cars section of this site for great inspiration to improve your ride.