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Buying a Car

Buying a Car

Car Dealers:
There are two kinds of car dealers – certified car dealers and non-certified car dealers. Certified car dealers are the local distributors certified by specific car manufacturers. In other words, car manufacturers have to guarantee the quality of used cars sold in those car dealers, and you can also enjoy the maintenance services provided by them.

If you are considering spending less money on a used car and you are not familiar the mechanics of cars, looking for a non-certified car dealers may be a reasonable choice. CarMax is the largest non-certified car dealer in the U.S. Just like the certified car dealers, it guarantees the quality of its used cars and offers maintenance services. However, the quality of the cars may not be comparable to that offered by certified car dealers.

If you want to spend a small amount of money on your car (about $5,000 or less), you may consider buying a car from other non-certified car dealers. To minimize fraud, only buy a car from a non-certified car dealer which is authorized by the State of Tennessee. According to the law, all car dealers must have a license (posted in their office) authorized by the Tennessee state government.

For more information about buying a used car in the U.S., visit the Federal Trade Commission Consumer Advice website.

Individual Sellers:

If you buy from an individual seller, rather than a dealership, it is very important for you to make sure that the name and address on the title is the same as the seller’s name and address by checking their ID. Also, you should make sure that you take the car title from the previous owner when you complete the purchase.

Temporary Plates:

When purchasing a car, make sure that you obtain a temporary license plate from the dealer so that you can drive the car while you wait for an official license plate from the county court.

Car Registration

You have to register any car you own in the state of Tennessee. Visit the TN Department of Revenue for instructions and information on vehicle titling and registration.

Automobile Insurance

If you purchase your own car, you must have third-party automobile insurance. Failure to obtain auto insurance can result in fines or losing the right to drive your vehicle. Sufficient coverage is recommended; otherwise you will be liable for any damages incurred in an accident. You can compare quotes from multiple companies before deciding by using this guide to finding the best car insurance rate.


If you drive a car on campus and plan to park on University property, you have to register for a parking permit from Vanderbilt University. You can apply for this at the Office of Traffic and Parking.