Buying a car in Texas - assistance needed!

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Norwegianwood, Jan 31, 2011.

  1. Hey guys!

    After a month as a foreigner in the lone star state, it has come to my attention that it is impossible to survive here without a car. I've found a car that I really want, but there's an issue that the collective wisdom of talkbass might just be able to help me out with.

    First things first: At 5000 USD it's a 2002 Dodge Durango, gray, v8, one owner, clean carfax report, in excellent condition (looks and drives flawlessly). I know the seller.

    The thing is that the car had to be jumpstarted cause it had been sitting in a garage for half a year without being used. Fair enough. Then I had the owner do the texas vehicle inspection thing, because it wasn't current. But for some reason beacuse of the jumpstart the computer (or something) had been restarted, and it has to run 70 miles first in order for it to pass! To me this doesn't make sense, since it's illegal to drive it without a current inspection, isn't it?

    How big a deal is this inspection thing anyway? Does it need to be current in order to transfer a title? The registration is current....I really like the car, I just wanna avoid any problems down the road.

    Oh, and btw, I'm in Houston, USPS just delivered the cheapest bass known to man, and life's good!
  2. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2001
    Spencerport, New York
    Since the battery was dead, the computer needs to run a series of self tests. There are anywhere from five to eight tests that need to run, and certain conditions need to be met before a given test will run. This is why the truck needs to be driven for 70 or so miles. If all the self tests pass, a current inspection can be issued.

    Here in New York the DMV will issue a 10 day inspection to complete the self testing of the computer. Also, in NY a car can be sold with an expired inspection, since the tags stay with the person, and not the vehicle itself. Having the vehicle inspected is the new owners responsibility. Not sure how Texas handles this.
  3. Thanks, that makes sense! Looks like there is something similar here. Guess the best idea would be to take it for a ride down to Galveston and go back to get the current inspection issued, then!
  4. +1

    I moved to Dallas from Canada and was amazed at how hard it was to do anything without a car. When I told people I didn't have a license, they reacted like I'd told them I was undergoing chemo or something. The Blockbuster where I rented movies didn't even have a footpath, just a lawn and a car entrance.

    Since you're in Houston, you should go see the Menil collection. It's amazing.

  5. Great idea - spend an afternoon out on the Strand or check out some of the historic Galveston sites (1900 storm survivor homes, etc.). Not sure how long you've been in Houston, but I'm sure you've probably realized by now a building made before 1980 is an absolute rarity - Galveston has a lot of really old buildings and cool architecture (old for this region, anyway :p ).

    How are you enjoying Houston, by the way? :)
  6. You can't get anywhere without a car in Texas - in Houston, public transportation is only viable if you happen to live and work in downtown, which only really helps a small number of people.

    And a huge +1 to the Menil collection. Very awesome place indeed.
  7. Thanks, that definitely sounds like a plan!'s been a busy few weeks getting settled, and without a car I haven't been able to fully enjoy what the city has to offer. But I'm definitely starting to warm to Houston (and not just because it's so warm here compared to what I left behind!:) Love the box lunches and the insane amount of meat you're able to squeeze into one sandwich...haha. Can't wait to check out more of the museums and the cultural options here. I've also been to New Orleans for a weekend, and that was just awesome...

    I'll definitely check out the Menil collection, although used to European collections of ancient treasures (the British were unbeatable thieves) I fear I'm hard to impress!
  8. Btw, it's common to expect the inspection to be in order before buying a vehicle, right?
  9. KaseOfBass

    KaseOfBass Put some stank on it... Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2007
    Austin, Texas
    Not necessarily. Vehicle registration has to be current to get it inspected. Vehicle does not have to be inspected to get it registered. I would say that, on average, most buyers take care of both of those items (registration is a given since you change it to your name, pay taxes on the sales price, etc.).
  10. It is common that the inspection and registration be current, you will also want to be sure you have insurance and the the Air conditioner is in working order, no way do you want to drive in Texas with out AC. .
  11. rockstarbassist

    rockstarbassist Inactive

    Apr 30, 2002
    The Woodlands, TX
    Endorsing Artist: HCAF
    This>>> everything (including insurance, title, registration, inspection, etc.. LOL) in Texas.
  12. ()smoke()


    Feb 25, 2006
    if you get ticketed for expired inspection sticker, you might have 10 days to submit proof of inspection with a small fine to avoid the full ticket, so that would help...just putting this out there since you seem to plan to drive it without the inspection sticker to get the 70 miles...texas dps, at least ime, will absolutely ticket you for expired sticker
  13. KaseOfBass

    KaseOfBass Put some stank on it... Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2007
    Austin, Texas
    I guess out here is different. I've never seen a seller take care of these items unless bought directly from a dealership.
  14. rockstarbassist

    rockstarbassist Inactive

    Apr 30, 2002
    The Woodlands, TX
    Endorsing Artist: HCAF
    +111 here.
  15. DigMe


    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    You may just come to despise the Houston "warmth" come August. :)

    I do NOT miss the humidity of the Texas gulf coastal plain.

  16. So much for all that warm Houston least for the next few nights. :D
  17. Hmm. Ok. Guess since I know the seller and he has no intention of ripping me off it's not a big deal..guess I'm just a bit worried that I buy it, take it to the inspection and then suddenly they make me do some major repairs..but that's always a danger when buying a used car anyway.

    Haha, yeah I saw the Houston Chronicle warned of "Arctic weather" this week...well, coming from an Arctic country I can assure you that this is still tropical!:)

    I'll be out of here by mid-july, but rumor has it June can be pretty hot as well, right...lookin forward to it! :)
  18. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2001
    Spencerport, New York
    Would the seller let you take it to a mechanic to have it looked over before you buy it? At least if there's something major wrong you'll know before you buy it.
  19. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    While I lived in TX, a friend's son bought a car that didn't have a current inspection. As it turns out, the emission controls on the car had been tampered with, so he had to bring the whole thing up to factory spec.

    The car sat in the garage for a couple years, then got hauled off to the junkyard. Another teenage dream bites the dust.

    Another amusing story: A friend of mine got into my car with an ice cream cone during the summer, not knowing that my car didn't have a working AC. :eek: