General Advice for Buying a Car:
Think carefully about whether you really need a car. The costs will be quite high (insurance could cost $300 per month or more, plus fuel costs, the car purchase itself, taxes, campus parking permit, maintenance, etc.).
- First, check to see if your driver´s license is valid in the U.S. (you can check at the Michigan Secretary of State - 1 Division Ave N Grand Rapids, MI 49503 – Phone: 888-767-6424).
- If your license is not valid, you will need to apply for a Michigan driver’s license at the Secretary of State.
- Next, search for a car to buy (Craigslist, AutoTrader, local car dealers, etc.)
If you find an appropriate car, before you buy it:
- Talk to an insurance company about insurance costs, which can vary widely from car to car and company to company (one option: State Farm, 6414 Lake Michigan Dr, Allendale, MI 49401 – Phone: 616-895-7161).
- You will need to purchase insurance to legally drive the car, so buy it before you actually purchase the car.
- With valid insurance you can now purchase the car.
- If you purchase the car at a dealer, the dealer will help you with all of forms needed for a license plate, registration, and title.
- If you buy a car from a private party, you will need to go to the Secretary of State to fill out the forms for a license plate, registration, and title. (Tip: watch the expiration date on the sticker on the license plate, since driving with an expired license plate is illegal).
- Note that you must pay 6% Michigan sales tax on the purchase price of the car.
- To get a parking permit for the GVSU campuses, you must go to the GVSU police department. The parking permit will cost about $175 per semester.