General Question

FluffyChicken's avatar

Can I test drive and/or buy a vehicle with only a permit?

Asked by FluffyChicken (5511points) July 7th, 2011

I am looking to buy a Eurovan. I found one online that looks like it’s in really good condition and is in my price range. The problem is, I won’t have my license for a few more weeks, and would really like to go test drive it. If I took someone with me that had a license, would I be able to test drive it? What about buying it? I know I couldn’t buy it on my own without a license, but If I had a cosigner would that be possible? This is in California, by the way.

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8 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

You could test drive it from a private seller with a licensed driver if the owner agrees. I doubt a car dealer would allow it for insurance reasons.

Supacase's avatar

My guess is that the final decision would be up to the owner. If it is privately owned, he/she may not be comfortable with you driving it.

I test drove several vehicles through car dealers (my parents and the dealer came with) and I bought my first car with a cosigner when I was 17.

tedd's avatar

It probably varies by state, but I would assume @zenvelo is correct.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

I haven’t lived in California in a long time, however:

The test drive will be nixed by most dealers for insurance requirements.

The vehicle owner must have a valid drivers license to get the title issued and registration written. Not you if you have only have a learner’s permit.

A loan must be in the name of the person owning the car. You could only be the co-signer someone else would have the vehicle in their name. Later you have to re-register the vehicle once you get the license to replace the permit and to put it in your name also may have to pay off balance of any loan to do that.

How long before you get the license? Doing it before you have a license will put you through a lot of DRAMA.

robmandu's avatar

As far as the test drive goes, simply take a licensed driver along with you. Let them drive it while you ride and evaluate.

Purchasing the vehicle in your name using bank financing will not work at all unless you have a valid drivers license yourself, co-signer or not.

If you don’t want to let this opportunity slip away, then you might want to get your prospective co-signer to buy the car outright as his/her own. And then later, when you have your real drivers license, then you can purchase the vehicle in your name. Two problems with this:
1) Most finance companies require the person on the lien to be the primary driver. Your cosigner friend is not… you are. But if you keep mum on this at the dealership and/or bank, it’s likely no big deal.
2) You’ll have to pay sales tax again when you purchase the vehicle in your name. Here in Texas, that’s 6.25% of the sale price… not inconsequential.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Call a local dealership. Most that I’ve ever worked don’t allow it, not even for a fully licensed driver under 18yrs old.

FluffyChicken's avatar

Thanks everyone! It sounds like I’m just going to have to wait until I have my license, which should only be a few weeks anyway. And I’m 24 so age is not the problem. Just lack of license. sigh I hate waiting.

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