Buying a New Car

Table of Contents
Oklahoma Bar Association, since 1904

Buying a New Car

What type of vehicle do you want? What type of vehicle do you need you? What can you afford?

Buying a CarBuying a vehicle is one of the most important things you may do when you become an adult. Try to read all you can about buying a vehicle, whether online or at a library. Be sure to research your choices by referring to such sources as Consumer Reports. Ask for advice from someone you trust who has experience in buying a vehicle.

Hopefully, your rights will be protected and you can get the best vehicle for the best price by comparing prices between two or more dealers who sell the same type of vehicle. Remember, the sticker price you see on the window of the vehicle is only the manufacturer's suggested retail price. You don't have to pay that much. Dealers expect you to bargain with them! Magazines such as Consumer Reports can tell you approximately what dealers pay for each make and model vehicle. Banks and credit unions also may be able to tell you what a dealer paid for a vehicle. This information helps you understand how much room you may have to bargain.

Important: Don't be pressured into buying a vehicle

Oklahoma law does not provide for a “cooling off” or cancellation period for a motor vehicle sale. This means that once you sign a contract at the dealership, it is a valid contract and can only be cancelled if the dealer agrees. You cannot cancel simply because you change your mind. Don’t sign anything unless you are 100% sure you want the vehicle.

Generally, dealers will offer several add-on products while you are purchasing a vehicle. These products are always optional. Ask a parent or friend for advice about the various products offered. Do not feel pressured to purchase these add-on products. Read all contracts carefully, and make sure you know exactly what you are purchasing and the price.

What warranties will you receive if you buy a new vehicle?

Many new vehicles have a warranty covering most parts against defects for a certain number of miles, such as 36,000 miles, or a certain period of time, such as 36 months, whichever comes first. This is not true for every type of vehicle. Check at several different places and compare warranty offers.

You can also purchase an extended warranty. Check with your insurance company about purchasing an extended warranty from the insurance company. It may be less expensive than the extended warranty offered by the dealership. Make sure you understand what the extended warranty covers. Sometimes extended warranties are not worth the price, especially for new vehicles.

What if you purchase a "lemon?"

Oklahoma's Lemon Law covers new vehicles only. A new vehicle may be a lemon if there is a defect covered by the warranty which substantially impairs the use and value. However, the defect cannot be the result of abuse, neglect or unauthorized modifications or alterations.

If you think you bought a lemon, you must report the defect in writing to the manufacturer or dealer during the term of the warranty, or one (1) year following the date of original delivery of the vehicle, whichever is earlier. You must take the vehicle back to give the manufacturer or dealer a reasonable number of attempts to fix the problem. If the problem has not been fixed after four (4) attempts, or the vehicle is out of service because of the repairs for a period of 30 days, the manufacturer must either:

  1. Accept return of the vehicle and refund the full purchase price to you including fees and taxes, but excluding interest, less a reasonable allowance for your use of the vehicle; or
  2. Replace the vehicle with a comparable new model acceptable to you, if one can be agreed upon.
<br/For further information about Oklahoma’s Lemon Law, contact the Oklahoma Motor Vehicle Commission at 405-607-8227,

NOTE: If you buy a used vehicle, there may be an implied warranty that the car is working properly.

Where can you get the money to buy a vehicle?

You may need to borrow money from your bank, a credit union, the dealer, or a financial institution to buy your vehicle. You must pay interest on the money you borrow. The interest will add to the cost of the vehicle. You can choose how long you want to take to pay off the loan. The longer the time you take, the lower your monthly payments, but the more money you will pay in interest over time. Make sure you know your budget and can afford the monthly payment.

When you sign a financing agreement, a contract saying that you agree to pay the money, you have the right to know the total cost to pay off the loan including interest. Remember, if you do not make your payments, the lender has the right to repossess the vehicle and sell it, often leaving you with a large deficiency and damaged credit.

Can a repair shop charge more than the estimate?

Car Repair Yes, because the amount quoted may be different from how much the repair actually costs you.

Can the repair shop charge for diagnosing a problem before doing an estimate?

Yes. However, if you tell the repair shop not to fix anything without telling you the final cost first, then they must call you before making repairs.

Can you get your vehicle back even if you disagree with the repair shop on the amount of the bill?

Yes, but only if you pay the bill first. This applies to the cost of storage of your vehicle, even if it is not in the shop for repairs. In addition, if you do not pay for the storage or repairs, a notice of sale of your vehicle may be filed to pay for the storage or repair. Once you pay the bill, you may then take the repair shop to court and try to get your money back. In court, you should have a witness experienced in vehicle repairs who can testify why the amount is not owed.

It is important to deal only with reputable repair shops, and to only loan your vehicle to someone you can trust.