Monthly Archives: December 2015

Transferring license plates in Florida

From state-to-state license plates are fairly general in obtaining, or transferring plates. Transferring license plates in Florida is no exception. This article will assist you with a few do’s and don’ts with license plates in the State of Florida.

Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has many offices throughout Florida to assist vehicle owners with transfer plates. Simply Google™ the Florida department of motor vehicles to find the location closest to your home.

A few things to remember to take with you:

  • Copy of current registration.
  • Copy of Liability Insurance coverage.
  • Your driver’s license.
  • If you and your spouse are on the registration you both should go. If any issues arise your both there to resolve any questions or issues.
  • Original or Non Negotiable Title to the vehicle.

License Plate fees will range based on your vehicles type and weight.

If you’re a current resident the license plates go with you, car-to-car. Be sure to take all appropriate sales documents with you for your old and new vehicle.

This is of course if you’re changing plates yourself. If you purchased a vehicle from a private party seller, or moved to Florida from another state.

When purchasing from an authorized Florida automotive dealer, these documents and appropriate fees to pay will be included in your sales documents. They also will handle this transaction on your behalf.

Purchasing from new or preowned vehicle dealers will provide you with a temporary tag, until such time your tax and title work can be completed by the selling dealer. Florida dealers have thirty days to complete this for consumers.

Odometer Regulations

Automobile odometers are federally regulated. For good reason! Historically shady car dealers would either replace or roll back the odometer giving unsuspecting consumers vehicles with more miles than what shows on the odometer.

Consumers drawn into this fraud pay more for a car they believe to have fewer miles than what is truly on the car. To the untrained eye it’s easy to fall prey to this fraudulent practice. What inevitably will happen is this won’t get caught until the victim trades the car or sells it and the State you live in catches the odometer discrepancy. Worse still you’re stuck with a car that potentially loses you thousands of dollars. For these reasons odometer regulations have been put in place.

So how can you protect yourself?

Several ways:

  1. Check CARFAX™ or AutoCheck™ Used car reports. Check the mileage on the report. Make sure the odometer has not been replaced. Legally it would show if it had.
  2. Contact the DMV and have them check last known miles.
  3. If the car has abnormal wear & tear based on the miles showing. Leather wrapped steering wheels can be a tell-tale sign. The leather is worn or slick looking.
  4. Check the under-carriage, engine compartment for wear. Cars with excessive miles will have wear and tear that is visible.
  5. Have the car plugged into a scanner or computer system; the cars onboard computer system will have the correct miles on its hard drive.

Odometer regulations are only intact until they reach 100K miles. At this point miles will be considered exempt. Vehicles ten years or older will also be exempt.

Here is the law for odometers:

The Federal odometer law, 49 U.S.C. Chapter 327 (Public Law 103-272)  

Fines for dealers who defraud carry $1500 or treble damages whichever is greater. With attorney’s fees and court costs included in with fines.

If you feel you may be a victim of odometer fraud, contact your States Department of Motor Vehicles enforcement division. They will guide you in the process of filing a complaint.

How to tell if a used car has been in an accident

When you’re buying a used car it’s important to know if the car has any previous damage. Several things can devalue a car. Important to note that if the car has damage now, you will take a hit for that when you trade this car in. Damage follows the car.

If you can buy the car for the right price then previous damage won’t sting as much.

Here is how to tell if a used car has been in an accident:

  • CARFAX History report or Auto Check history reports. These reports will identify damage repairs, hail damage, flood and other detrimental information. Always get one or both reports.
  • Visible hail dings on the roof, rear deck or hood. You may have to look at an angle, and if it’s raining or the car is wet you can’t see hail dents. Look in bright sunshine.
  • Noticeable differences in paint color from one body panel to another.
  • Paint is different color in door jams.
  • New radiator with new unpainted bolts on fender components under the hood.
  • Taking a finger down the sides of doors, hood, or rear deck lid. Feeling grit or sandpaper feel is the tell-tale sign of new paint. Factory paint will be totally smooth.
  • Uneven body panels. Where body panels come together and the gap is huge or small.
  • Visible overspray. Spots of paint on darker surfaces that you can see.

Keep in mind that just because a vehicle may have previous body damage or paint work that the car is no good. Minor damage if fixed properly is not that big a deal. A poor fix, where visible signs are there, you would really have to buy this car right. A poor repair will haunt you at resale time.

Tread carefully through these waters and make sure you have a trusted professional survey the cars damage before you buy. Account for depreciable loss when you trade in. Follow these simple rules and your shopping experience will be fine.

Check out our great dealers at usedcarstampa.com. Quality used cars, used trucks and SUV models are searchable now. Thanks for choosing usedcarstampa.com!

Top Ten Questions to ask your used car salesman

Make sure when shopping for a used car that you ask your car salesman questions. Salesman shouldn’t be afraid to give you good information and clearly answer all questions.

Your success purchasing a vehicle will all depend on your thoroughness and due diligence. Write down the questions so you don’t forget, or add to the following questions as needed.

Here is a list of what we feel are the Top Ten Questions to ask your used car salesman. This gives you a good starting point of things to ask your salesperson when you have found a car online at usedcarstampa.com:

  1. What incentives are available with this car, what’s the best price?
  2. Does this car have any prior damage (can I see the CARFAX° report).
  3. Has your dealership done any repairs to this vehicle, may I see what those were?
  4. What warranty is currently on the car and what service programs do you offer?
  5. Where did you get this car from, trade-in, or auction?
  6. How long of test drive can I take (what about an overnight drive)?
  7. Can I take this vehicle to my own mechanic?
  8. What are the finance terms & rates available for this car?
  9. Is this car a certified preowned model, what does that come with?
  10. What are your service hours, do you provide loaners and for what types of services?

At usedcarstampa.com we strive to provide you with quality information that will help you make an informed buying decision.

Should I sell my used car or trade it in?

Several readers have asked us, “Should I sell my used car or trade it in”? Pro’s & Con’s to both.

Selling your car on your own, you need to consider a few things. Do you want strangers coming to your home to check out your car (always have someone with you; never show your car alone)? Do you actually have the time to do it? The uptick is you can typically sell it for more money that what a dealer will give you.

When you sell your vehicle on your own you do loose some State sales tax incentive. Most States customers will pay state sales tax on the new purchase, less the trade amount. Here is how that math works:

(SELLING PRICE – TRADE IN = SUB TOTAL & TAX CALCLUATED FOR THE NEW PURCHASE)

You pay less sales tax trading in. So you will want to calculate if selling on my own gains me more than what a dealer is willing to offer including my tax savings.

Selling the car on your own also requires you and the purchaser to complete the title work. Simply handing someone your title without changing it over is not a safe idea. You will want to make sure that the purchaser transfers the title and gets your name off it. The state of Florida provides title transfer forms to file that you sold the car.

Complete your sale with a “bill of sale”. Be sure you and the purchaser create a bill of sale signed by you both. This gives a date that the vehicle was sold and would help if heaven forbid something happened i.e. a wreck, DUI or worse occurred with your automobile. Distance yourself from liability.

Trading with a dealer has its advantages as well. As stated above you do save in taxes. Other advantages include knowing paper work is filed and properly done. If you owe on the car the note will be paid in full.

The convenience is for most folks the biggest advantage of trading with the dealer instead of on your own. Most busy consumers simply don’t have time to sell a car on their own.

Remember your car is a depreciable asset. None of us ever truly get what we hoped for our trade. Market conditions will dictate a trade value. So simply weigh out your options, do a bit of homework and decide what is best for you and your family. One is not really better than the other; it boils down to where YOU get the best deal.

So when you are contemplating whether “to sell my used car or trade it in” you will now have the knowledge to make a more informed decision, but keep in mind that the best thing of all is If you’re trading you will need to shop on usedcarstampa.com to find your next car. Thanks so much for supporting us and our blog. We hope to be your first resource when looking for a vehicle. Send us your questions and we will be happy to address them on our blog.