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Supply Chain Delays and Buying a Car: Tips to Improve Success

If you’ve explored buying a new or used vehicle recently, you were probably met with a shock. Recent supply chain and shipping delays have made cars and trucks scarce in Orange County and around the US, and you may find yourself coming up empty-handed in your search. Use these tips to locate a vehicle that meets your needs despite shortages in our area.

Be Flexible on Model and Options

As with anything in short supply these days, you may have to be more flexible when it comes to your vehicle wish list. Instead of thinking about what the car looks like or what extras are included, turn to what functions you really need.

Do you need a compact vehicle for city parking that gets great gas mileage for your daily commute to LA? Or do you need something roomier to accommodate your dogs or kids and their sports gear? If you’re not driving very far or very often, you probably don’t need an expensive sound system. Additionally, four-wheel drive is nice, but is it really necessary if you never go off-road?

Look Beyond Dealerships

Dealerships around Huntington Beach were some of the first places to feel the pinch of vehicle supply delays. However, if you can’t find what you’re looking for with a dealer, there are plenty of options elsewhere:

  • Websites devoted specifically to car sales (AutoTrader, CarGurus, etc.)
  • Craigslist, Facebook, and other online platforms
  • Newspaper listings
  • Friends, neighbors, coworkers, and family (let them all know you’re looking)
  • Bulletin boards
  • Local mechanics and other auto-related businesses

Offer Cash

Buying a vehicle right now can be like purchasing a home; you have to act quickly lest you lose out to another buyer. Unfortunately, some private sellers of used cars don’t want to wait for payments that take days and demand cash. So, don’t let your payment method cause your deal to fall through.

Even private sellers won’t risk taking a cashier’s check for their vehicle because they’re worried about fraud. In that case, you’ll have to withdraw the money you need from the bank. Be sure to call your bank in advance, as many banks no longer keep large amounts of cash on hand.

Play it safe, and go straight from the bank to your transaction location. Then, exchange the cash for the vehicle and pink slip in a secure neutral area, like in front of your local police department. In fact, many Orange County law enforcement agencies are creating safe parking spaces for these types of transactions with 24-hour video surveillance.

Paying in cash will make your transaction at any dealership go more quickly. You won’t have to worry about a monthly car payment (which saves you money on interest in the long run), and there won’t be any liens on your vehicle. In addition, you can use a cashier’s check from your bank when purchasing with cash from a dealer.

Expand Your Search Radius

If you still can’t find a car, van, or truck near you, consider looking further afield. There are many medium and large markets not too far from Orange County and Los Angeles, including:

  • San Diego
  • Bakersfield
  • Las Vegas
  • Phoenix
  • Tucson

Some sellers are willing to drive a vehicle to you, or you could make an overnight trip to check out the area. There’s also the option of hiring a trusted person to retrieve the vehicle for you. Don’t let distance stand in the way of finding the right car.

One last important reminder: don’t forget your new car must have the proper insurance before you can drive it. California requires that you carry at least the state’s minimum liability insurance, although you’ll probably want to add collision and comprehensive protection for full coverage.

To arrange coverage when you find your vehicle, call First West Insurance at 714-842-2523, or reach out online to start a quote so you can drive safely and legally.