1. Your driver's license.
When filling out the paperwork, you'll need your license on hand for identification. There's also a chance, however, that the dealership may have your license on file if you've taken a vehicle for a test-drive in the past.
2. Your Social Security number.
If you don't have it memorized, be sure to bring your social security card with you. Even if you aren't financing the vehicle buying it outright the dealer will still need your social security number for tax purposes. Nearly all financial transactions valued at over $10,000 are required to be reported to the IRS.
3. Proof of car insurance.
You can't buy a car without this key piece of paper. There are laws in all 50 states requiring drivers to have some kind of insurance because it protects everyone on the road.
4. Your wallet.
Whether through financing, cash, cashier's check or credit card, you'll need to pay for the vehicle somehow. Many payment options exist these days, and depending on the worth of your car, it's smart to plan the best way to pay for your vehicle. When leasing, you'll typically need to make some type of down payment on the vehicle.
5. Proof of employment, residence and salary.
Depending on your credit rating, you may need to bring these things with you.
6. A few hours to fill out all of the paperwork.
It can be a time-consuming process, especially if you're applying for financing.
For trading in your old car you'll need:
7. A trade-in appraisal.
Normally the appraisal will be performed at the dealership where you're trading your old vehicle. In most cases, the appraisal will be good for up to three days.
8. Your old car's title:
Once you trade it in, you'll have to turn this over since you're releasing ownership of the vehicle.