American Experience | 体验美国

Buying a Car in the US

September 30, 2016 9:00 am | By Chris

Why buy a car?

Why we need a car in US? Because there are only few big cities in the US that have a very efficient and convenient transportation system, places such as New York or Boston. These systems have subways and buses that run every 15 minutes or so. However, most other places in the US, such as New Jersey, Connecticut or California do not have a wide-reaching subway system. In many small US towns, buses come every 30-60 minutes or more, and, if the weather is poor — it snows or sleets — there may be no bus that day. It is very hard and much time would be needed to get food or to go somewhere if we lived in a small town and didn’t have a car. The good news is that buying a car in the US isn’t that difficult or extraordinarily expensive; in fact, it’s very normal type of purchase as well as important one for those who live here in America.

Before you buy a car…

There are several things you need to prepare before buying a car. First, you need to have a US driver’s license, which you can obtain from the Department of Motor vehicles (DMV). In order to get license, you must take both a written and driving test but you can get the necessary information to prepare the test from the DMV. Since every state has its own rules and conditions for providing driver licenses, you must  to go to your state DMV website to review all the details. Or if you have a Chinese driver’s license, you can also go to the DMV to change it to an international driver’s license, which is good for up to 3 months. In that time period, you can buy a car first, and then take the driver’s license test in your own state. Second thing you need to prepare for is what kind of car you want to buy, such as the style (coupe, sedan, SUV) and brand (Honda, Nissan, BMW). Each kind of car has a different price and service-life. The last thing you need to prepare for is the money to make a purchase.

How to buy a car?

First, you have to decide if you want to buy a new or a used car. It depends on your personal economic situation. The main difference is that a new car is always much more expensive than a used car, but it always has a factory warranty and several kinds of protection for the car. You don’t need to worry as much about mechanical problems when buying a new car. Buying a used car is definitely cheaper than buying a new car, but you need to be careful about selecting a car you definitely want to buy. Generally, you can buy a used car from either a person or a used car dealer. I recommend that you pay a car mechanic to help you choose a car or ask a friend who knows a lot about cars. You also have to know that you must pay sales tax to the state where your DMV is located. Sales tax isn’t usually included in the car’s price. And the last thing you need to do is ask either the dealer or car seller for the car’s title. They must transfer the car title to your name with a signature. All this must occur before you can drive you car back to your place. PS: Here are some car websites:,

After you buy a car…

After you buy your car, the first thing you need to do is buy car insurance. Most of the time, you can buy car insurance online; there are many insurance companies you can choose from, such as GEICO, Allstate and so on. The next thing you must do is bring your driver’s license, passport, car title, insurance card to the DMV center. Some states require an emissions test certification which you also must bring to the DMV. Once there, you then fill out a form and pay the state’s plate fee. Finally, you get your car’s plate and registration form. One you have all that, you must very importantly remember to put your registration form and your current insurance card inside your car’s glove compartment. You also have to pay property taxes each year and need to make sure you renew your plate every 1 to 2 years. Once all these items are taken care of, you can drive your car anywhere you want in the US.