How to return a brand new car

Written by shanan miller
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How to return a brand new car
Be sure to document vehicle miles at the time of return. (Speedometer image by Sirena Designs from

If you want to return your brand new car the day after purchase, you might be able do so without penalty, depending on the circumstance. For example, if you bought it on a Saturday, it is unlikely any paperwork will be completed with the lender or your state's motor vehicle department until Monday. No matter which day you bought the car, be sure to return it early the next day or you might face a voluntary repossession, which damages your credit. Follow a few other rules as well.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Take any of your personal belongings out of the vehicle. You should not have to clean it if returning immediately. If the dealership gave you number plates, leave them on the car. If you transferred your own plates, take them off the vehicle and return them to the motor vehicle department as soon as possible.

  2. 2

    Gather all items given to you with the car. You'll need all sets of keys and the owner's manual for your return. You should also document the vehicle's mileage from the time you purchased it until the time you return it.

  3. 3

    Arrange for a ride from the dealership and bring the new car back. Park the car in front of the building where it will have to be moved, lock it, and take both keys inside. Photograph or take note of the mileage at the time of return to avoid dealership claims against you.

  4. 4

    Ask to speak to the sales manager. Tell her you have changed your mind and do not want the car anymore. Expect the dealership personnel to try to change your mind. Keep your conversation with the manager brief and hand her the keys.

  5. 5

    Tell the dealership you will have your lawyer contact them if any arguments or problems arise. Leave immediately after handing back the keys.

  6. 6

    Call your insurance agent to remove the car from your policy. If a dealer representative has not added the new vehicle to your policy, tell your insurance agent you returned the car. Some dealer representatives do not set up insurance right away. This can work in your favour as insurance is a lending requirement.

Tips and warnings

  • The dealer might tell you that you cannot return your car, and will do what she can to save the sale. Do not be threatened by the dealer and return the car immediately. Most dealers will not pursue the sale in order to maintain a good customer-service reputation.
  • If the dealership does not have proof of insurance from you, or has not asked you to provide proof of income (such as a pay stub) or residency (a utility bill in your name), you can return the car easily. This means the dealer let you take the vehicle without a definite bank approval.
  • Do not wait longer than a day to return the vehicle. You signed a contract. If the paperwork is submitted to the lender and the state's motor vehicle division, you are responsible for the car you purchased.

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