Purchasing a Car
It can be helpful to ask an American friend to assist you in buying a car, because they might be more familiar with buying practices in the United States. You can do some research first to learn about average prices and reliability by consulting the Kelley Blue Book» and Consumer Reports». You should test drive the car before you buy it, and you should have an auto mechanic examine the car. There will be a fee for this, but it could prevent you from paying for expensive repairs later.
When you buy the vehicle, the seller must sign the title in the presence of a notary. The title is the official document which states that you are the owner of the car. It will be changed to your name when you register the car. Do not pay for the car until the title is signed over to you by the owner.
You are required by law to have automobile liability insurance. You must have insurance to own and operate a car, and you have to keep the card you will get from the insurance company in your car. You must be able to show proof of insurance if you are stopped by the police. The cost depends on many factors, and you should contact several insurance companies to look for the best rate.
Registration and License Plate
Registering and licensing» are done at the Douglas County Courthouse at 11th and Massachusetts Street. To purchase license plates (also called “tags”), you will need to have the car title and proof of insurance. If you bought the car from a dealer and paid the sales tax, you will need proof of that also. The cost of the tags will depend on the weight of the car and can vary from $15 to $35. You may also have to pay sales tax and Kansas registration tax. The tag must be renewed every year and you will have to pay property tax on the car when you renew the tag. That amount depends on the value of your car.
Maintenance and Repairs
Be sure to check your oil and coolant regularly. Look in the yellow pages under “Automobile Repairing and Service” to find a place to get your car checked or repaired, or ask friends for a recommendation. Before agreeing to any repairs, it’s a good idea to get a written estimate of the cost. Never tell a mechanic to just fix everything that is wrong. You could pay more than the car is worth.
If you are involved in a car accident, do not move your car. Call 911 and wait for the police to arrive. Be sure to get the name and address of the other driver, their driver's license number and the name of their insurance company. The other driver will want to get this information from you also. Contact your insurance company as soon as possible after the accident. Additional resources: If you have any questions, the Consumer Affairs office (819 Vermont, 843-4608) can be of help. They have information on buying a vehicle. You can also consult them with complaints about specific businesses or companies.