TADA

Trillium Automobile Dealers Association

Serving the interest of Ontario New Car
and Truck Dealerships for over 100 years

Picking up a new car? 10 things to know

Created on Friday, 30 July 2010

You've purchased a new vehicle and are now ready to take delivery. This part of the car-buying process is like icing on the cake and shouldn't take more than 10 or 15 minutes, right?

Wrong. I understand that picking up a new vehicle is exciting. But there are certain procedures that should be followed to optimize your ownership experience.

According to research firm, R.L Polk & Co., the median age of a passenger vehicle on the road today is 9.4 years. This suggests that many of today's buyers haven't purchased a new vehicle in nearly a decade.

A lot has changed. Automobile technology has become more sophisticated and complex, and consumers will often require assistance in understanding the latest technology, features and accessories.

Here is a list of 10 things that all new car owners (especially first-time buyers) should know before taking delivery of their new wheels.

  1. Ask your salesperson how much time should be set aside for the delivery process. This can vary from 30 minutes to over an hour, depending on the make and equipment level. Some luxury brands may need longer orientation sessions to fully demonstrate all of the features. Give yourself as much time as necessary.
  2. Be punctual. Salespeople often have several appointments scheduled throughout the day (especially true on Saturdays; avoid this day whenever possible). Showing up on time is a basic courtesy and shows respect for the salesperson.
  3. Take advantage of new car seminars offered by many new car dealers. There, you will learn about operational and safety features and about new car warranties and maintenance. These sessions are extremely informative.
  4. Make sure that your ownership documents are in order and that all lease/finance and payment arrangements are accurately recorded. Retain copies of any paperwork that you sign at the time of delivery. Ensure that your new vehicle has valid insurance coverage (pink proof of insurance slip). Valid licence plates with a current sticker should be properly attached to the vehicle.
  5. If a trade-in or an off-lease vehicle return is part of the transaction, present it in the same condition as it was assessed. Don't remove or replace any parts or accessories (this is unlawful and unethical). Remove any personal belongings and debris, and give the vehicle a thorough cleaning, inside and out.
  6. Check that all features and accessories that you contracted for are installed and that you understand the function and operation of each. This includes electronic systems (hands-free devices, CD players, memory settings, GPS systems). Make sure that you are at ease with all safety features (rear-view camera, back-up sensors, tire pressure monitoring systems). Dealers frequently get calls from customers about how to use certain features, days and weeks after they have taken delivery.
  7. Your dealership will have cleaned and prepped the vehicle prior to delivery. Inspect the vehicle for yourself and confirm that it is satisfactory. This inspection should be done in the daylight. If you observe any deficiency, now is the time to report it, not weeks or months later.
  8. Familiarize yourself with the proper fluid levels: coolant, engine oil, power steering, brakes and, especially, the windshield washer fluid.
  9. Get comfortable with the settings and controls. All new vehicles come with an owner's manual – many manufacturers now post these publications online. You may wish to peruse the manual online, prior to taking delivery of the vehicle.
  10. Enjoy the process. Some buyers feel that the above-mentioned steps are a waste of time. But a new car represents a significant financial investment and why wouldn't you want to enjoy all of the features and benefits of your new purchase?

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