How Many Miles on a New Car Before It Is Considered Used?

I just bought a new car only to discover after I left the dealership that it had 1,100 miles on it.  Does this constitute a used car in the state of Georgia?

The number of miles the car has been driven isn’t the determining factor of whether the car is legally “used” or “new”.   In Georgia, a “new passenger car” is one which has never been sold at retail to the general public, meaning the car title has not been transferred.  In contrast, a “used passenger car” is one that has been sold at retail to the general public or one whose title has previously been transferred.  Therefore, a dealer that has used the car as a demonstrator car can sell the vehicle as “new” even when it has been driven hundreds of miles.  So, the short answer to your question is:  yes, a car that has been driven 1,100 miles may indeed still be considered a “new” car.  However, while a dealer can represent that cars which have been driven as employee demos are “new,” the dealer cannot misrepresent the actual condition of the vehicle.  For instance, a dealer can’t represent a car as a “demonstrator” car unless it has in fact been used exclusively for demonstration purposes by dealership personnel.  Dealers therefore cannot sell a used car as a “new” or “demonstrator” car.  Dealers must disclose the number of miles the car has been driven.  A dealer must also inform potential buyers if any damage has occurred to a new car that the dealer knows about, and which costs more than 5 percent of the manufacturer’s suggested retail price to repair. When you purchase a new vehicle that has been driven substantially before it’s sold at retail, you have increased bargaining power.  So, when you are shopping for a new car, you should pay special attention to the odometer disclosure.  Note the number of miles already on the car, to help you determine whether you’re willing to pay the purchase price, before you sign the final purchase documents.  You may also want to ask the dealer to provide an extended warranty as a concession, since the manufacturer’s warranty isn’t extended when the vehicle has been driven by the dealer before retail sale. You should also ask how the car was used (i.e., whether the car was driven as a demo by a salesperson or family member of the dealer, or whether it was driven by many different people) to help you decide if you’re willing to buy the car, and for what price.

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The Break-In Period for New Cars

Technology has evolved, and the way new vehicles are handled has begun to change drastically. The old methods of manufacturing cars are falling away, and new procedures are taking their place.

Previously, manufacturers had a rule of thumb for new vehicles with low mileage. New cars had a break-in period before traveling long distances. This process was so vehicles could be long-lasting, safe, and secure for all owners, drivers, and passengers.

Nowadays, new vehicles do not require a break-in process. Some car manufacturers and dealers will recommend specific procedures and tips for helping your vehicle remain long-lasting and in excellent condition.

Depending on your preference and the car you are purchasing, it will be up to you to talk with your car manufacturer to find out more information. Although the break-in process isn’t as necessary as it is with older vehicles, it is still a process that some people may consider checking up on.

When Is A New Car Considered Used?

Legally, a new car becomes a new car as soon as the title ownership is transferred. It doesn’t matter if the car has been driven or not; as soon as a buyer has the car, it ceases to be a new car to that person. There are some exceptions to this rule. For example, even if a buyer leaves a car at a dealership lot and does not drive it away, that car has already become used. However, there is no time limit on how long a new car must be on the road before it qualifies as a used car. For all intents and purposes, even if a car sits on a dealership lot for five (5) years or more without a buyer, it is still a new car.

A 2005 model car is still considered “new” in 2012 if it hasn’t been registered with anyone else. With the exception of features and technologies, the seven (7) year period has no bearing on the outcome.

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Is a Car With 7,000 Miles on It Considered New?

It appears as if there are many rules and laws around the concept of car sales, and it can feel scary to know what is right and wrong when navigating the purchasing process.

A vehicle with 7,000 miles is considered new by legal standards if it has never been sold or given a title. However, selling a new car with 7,000 miles on it may be a challenging task for dealerships because customers may want a high discount on that vehicle.

As previously mentioned, some vehicles with extensive mileage may be considered or used as a demo car. Nevertheless, demo cars can be sold as new without a discount or a change in rate.

Before going into a dealership to purchase a new car, it is best to research and negotiate with the car dealership or salesperson. Most buyers want to receive the best quality of vehicle for the price they are willing to spend.

Dealer Trades and In-Service Dates

Before car purchase you have to decide will you use it for instant cash Car Title loan or not. When purchasing a new car, you should ask the salespeople whether or not the automobile you’ll receive is a dealer trade. Dealer trades occur when dealerships decide to swap cars between themselves in order to acquire vehicles they believe will sell better at their location, while ridding themselves of stock that isn’t moving. In most cases, once the dealerships agree on an exchange, the trade car is driven from one business to the other by an employee, who then gets behind the wheel of the swapped car and drives it back.

This is not a problem if the dealerships are located a few miles apart, but in some cases, they separated by dozens, even hundreds of miles. Dealer trades have been known to put 200 to 300 miles on an otherwise brand new car’s odometer.

This highlights the issue of “in-service dates” as well. The warranty on your car begins at the “in-service date” specified by the dealership. In the great majority of cases, this date is the same as the date you buy the car and take delivery of it. However, a dealership sometimes starts the in-service date at the moment a dealer trade occurs or the car is otherwise used to some degree. This could cut months off your warranty period if the car has spent some time unsold on the lot. Ask about the in-service date during closing and obtain the answer in writing somewhere on the documents.

Introduction

Most car dealers who sell used vehicles must comply with the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC’s) Used Car Rule. In fact, car dealers who sell, or offer for sale, more than five used vehicles in a 12-month period must comply with the Rule. Banks and financial institutions are exempt from the Rule, as are businesses that sell vehicles to their employees, and lessors who sell a leased vehicle to a lessee, an employee of the lessee, or a buyer found by the lessee.

The Used Car Rule applies in all states except Maine and Wisconsin. These two states are exempt because they have similar regulations that require dealers to post disclosures on used vehicles. The Rule applies in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and American Samoa.

This booklet defines the Rule’s requirements, explains how to prepare and display the Buyers Guide, and offers a compliance checklist.

You must post a Buyers Guide before you display a vehicle for sale or let a customer inspect it for the purpose of buying it, even if the car is not fully prepared for delivery. You also must display a Buyers Guide on used vehicles for sale on your lot through consignment, power of attorney, or other agreement. At public auctions, dealers and the auction company must comply. The Rule does not apply at auctions that are closed to consumers.

Previously titled or not, any vehicle driven for purposes other than moving or test driving is considered a used vehicle, including light-duty vans, light-duty trucks, demonstrators, and program cars that meet the following specifications:

  • a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of less than 8,500 pounds;
  • a curb weight of less than 6,000 pounds; and
  • a frontal area of less than 46 square feet.

Exceptions to the Rule are:

  • motorcycles;
  • any vehicle sold for scrap or parts if the dealer submits title documents to the appropriate state authority and obtains a salvage certification; and
  • agricultural equipment.

How Many Miles Should a New Car Have?

Estimating an acceptable delivery mileage isn’t an exact science, as the amount can vary by manufacturer and dealer. The general rule, though, is that anything under 200 miles is acceptable for a new car. That allows enough capacity for transport from the shipping port or between dealerships if the car has to be sent to a new showroom. It’s also unlikely that the car would suffer any technical issues with fewer than 200 miles.

That said, most new cars have far fewer than 200 miles. In fact, most new cars have between 10 and 50 miles on them right off the lot. A buyer, however, should keep a number of factors in mind when evaluating what’s an acceptable number of miles, including the journey from storage compounds, loading and unloading from ferries, and inspections.

Ultimately, how many miles is too many for a new car depends on your preferences and the car’s price. It’s fair for you to expect that your new car will come with no more than 10 miles on it, and if your car arrives with 190 miles on the odometer, you have the right to refuse delivery.

No new car will have zero miles, though. Even those that have barely been driven will have at least five or six, simply from being transported. However, if the odometer shows over 100 miles, you might want to reconsider the purchase, as it’s either been used frequently for test drives or it’s been driven on the highway during the transfer from one dealership to another.

New Car vs. Other Kinds of Cars

Before you rush out and buy a brand-new car, consider how new cars with delivery mileage compare to other types of cars to determine the best option for you. Your car-buying choices include:

  • New cars.
  • Demo cars.
  • Used cars.

New Cars

A new car is any car that’s never had a title issued to anyone before the buyer drives it off the lot. The odometer should read close to zero. Because cars depreciate the most between the first and second owners, the first buyer has the advantage of a mint-condition car.

Demo Cars

According to Autoblog, a demonstrator car, or demo car, is a vehicle the dealership staff, such as salespeople, managers, and executives, have driven. These cars have never been registered, which means, legally, they’re considered new, regardless of the mileage.

Dealerships often encourage buyers to purchase demo cars that have been driven by managers or executives, asserting that they are immaculately maintained and that the buyer will get a better deal on a demo than on a new car. That’s not always the case. Demo cars usually have considerable mileage, especially considering they’re legally “new,” and can have wear and tear that might not be immediately apparent.

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