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Are you shopping for a new or used car?

Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs
HAMBURG — Guest column submitted by Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs.

Hundreds of people buy and sell vehicles, every year. The process of buying a car is not what it used to be; consumers are more educated and focused on a car’s reliability, the model that meets their needs and how much the car should cost. I believe that the car-buying momentum has shifted from dealer to consumer.

Prospective car shoppers should do their homework. Some key considerations are your budget, your needs, your wants and the quality of the vehicle you are purchasing. Before spending your hard-earned money, learn more about the vehicle you plan to purchase and the dealer from whom you plan to purchase it.

Every automobile dealer in New York state must register with the department of motor vehicles; registered dealers must obey certain state and federal laws that protect your purchase of a new or used car, truck or other vehicle, including one sold as salvage.

When you buy a used vehicle, the dealer must certify, in writing, that the car is “in condition and repair to render, under normal use, satisfactory and adequate service.” The vehicle must have all safety equipment and emissions controls required by state and federal laws for the vehicle’s model year.

New vehicles are also protected by a manufacturer’s warranty.

The Erie County Auto Bureau, as an agent for the NYS DMV, assists buyers and sellers by providing guidelines for vehicle transfers and information about registration and licensing documentation, to ensure safe business practices are followed for the transfer and sale of all motor vehicles.

To assist new or used car buyers, the NYS DMV has published a brochure called “Let the Buyer Be Aware,” which provides a detailed and concise synopsis of the rules and regulations governing the sale and purchase of vehicles, in NYS.

As with any major purchase, spending thousands of dollars for a new or used vehicle can be overwhelming. The secret to getting a fair deal and a quality vehicle is to be informed. A little research and awareness on your end will reward you with a satisfying transaction.

If you would like to request a copy of the DMV’s brochure, call the Erie County Auto Bureau Call Center at 858-7450 or email

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