Purchasing a car as a gift

Purchasing a Car as a Gift

Purchasing a Car as a Gift

David Stone
Updated June 10, 2021 by David Stone

Table of Contents

    Purchasing a car as a gift

    Buying someone a car as a gift is one of the most generous and most exciting things that we can do for a loved one or friend. If you have a kid or a family member who needs a car and has not been able to afford to buy one, you are probably pretty excited at the thought of getting them the car of their dreams for a present. Carmakers show us how exciting this can be each year at Christmas when they make commercials about this kind of gift-giving and all of the excitement that surrounds it.

    This kind of gift-giving can be a lot of fun for everyone involved, but there are some logistics to think about when you are making a big purchase like this for another person who you want to be surprised by the gift. It is less complicated when the car is for a family member, but there are still some things that you need to think about before you take the plunge and buy that dream car for your best friend or your wife or husband.

    From logistics involved in a surprise purchase to considerations about how to get the car to your location, there are factors that must be planned carefully before you buy a car to give as a gift to another person.

    If you are ready to learn more about what you should consider before purchasing a car for someone else, read on!

    Purchasing a Car as a Gift

    There are many things to consider when you are contemplating a large purchase for yourself, but there are some added considerations that you need to think about when you are buying a large gift for someone else. We will talk about these considerations in more detail so that you can make sure that you have thought through the buying process with care and attention to detail.

    1.       Know What They Want Before Buying Someone a Car as a Present

    This is the biggest stumbling block of all gift-giving. You might think that someone in your life wants an item and then find out that they hate it and didn’t want to have that item. This can be a big surprise to you as the person buying what you believe to be a thoughtful gift!

    If you are not quite sure what make or model of car that your loved one or friend is looking for, you can ask careful questions about cars when you are with them or you might be able to have another friend or family member fill you in on their wants and needs. You will not be able to give back a car that they do not like, so you want this purchase to be right for their needs.

    2.       You Cannot Return it

    buying a car as a gift

    Dovetailing with the item above, you will need to remember that you cannot just return a car that someone does not like. A car purchase is for good until you sell it to someone else or pay it off. This means that you need to be okay with keeping the car if your friend or loved one does not want it after all.

    If you have financed the vehicle in your name alone, this will be easy enough for you, but you might be frustrated that you now have two cars and you only needed one! Make sure that you are able to afford and maintain this additional car if your friend or your family member does not want the car after all when you give them the gift.

    It is sometimes wise to think about buying a used car or buying with cash if you are not totally sure that the car will be accepted. This makes it easier for you to find a home for the car or to afford to keep it if you need to. It can be hard to predict people’s reactions to this kind of gift and sometimes people will refuse to accept such a large gift out of a sense of honor.

    3.       Make Sure That You Can Afford The Car That You Want To Buy as a Gift

    While giving large gifts can be exciting, you will have to remember that you might not normally finance such a large purchase on your own. You will not be able to have the other person’s name on the title of the car either and they will not be involved in the car purchase process so you will have to finance this item alone.

    For many people, this is actually a financial burden, and there is no recourse that you can leverage to make a friend or someone that you have a falling out with to pay for the car that you got them that is only in your name. Be careful not to hurt your credit if you cannot afford to finance a second car just for a friend or loved one. You can always buy in cash if you are worried about this part of the purchase.

    4.       Figure Out Shipping for Your Surprise Auto Purchase

    buying a car as a present

    If the car that you have purchased is not close by, or if you do not have a friend or family member who can help you drive it home for the surprise, you may need to have the car brought to your address. You always want to be careful about the car transport company that you hire for this job as it is important that a car that you have delivered for a surprise arrives on time and in perfect condition.

    You may want to opt for a car shipping company that can haul the car in an enclosed trailer so that the surprise is not ruined. This will add extra expense but might be worth it to be sure that the car will be concealed as well as clean and ready for gifting when it shows up.

    A quality auto transport company will be able to provide you with a detailed quote that shows all of the costs associated with their work, information about their insurance, and their stated transit time and arrival date. You should always make sure that they can provide this information. If they cannot, you will need to look for a new auto transport company to work with for this job.

    5.       Make Sure the Car Dealership Knows That Your Purchase is a Surprise

    If you have a really savvy family member who might catch on about this exciting gift, you might need to have the dealership call you on a temporary phone number through Google voice or a secondary phone like your office phone. Dealers often enjoy this aspect of car sales just as much as buyers, so they will probably be happy to play along. You might even be able to get your loved one in for a test drive if the dealer is willing to help you keep the secret.

    Some dealerships will also provide a large bow and some other fun gifting items if you tell them in advance that you are going to give the car as a present. You may have to pay for the bow, but there is really no trade for the commercial-style gifting options that a huge red bow offers you on the day that you give the car to your loved one or friend.

    6.       Order Your Vehicle Gift Well in Advance

    If you are buying a custom car, make sure that you give yourself enough time to get the car if you are giving it for a holiday or a birthday surprise. It can take months to get a custom-ordered car and it is not uncommon for there to be delays of weeks after the stated delivery date. Even shopping online for used cars can be associated with delays related to shipping and transport or slowdowns with financing and other details of the purchase.

    You may be able to store the car at the dealer for a fee if it arrives early, or you can make plans with a friend or family member to hide the car at their house or garage for a while if it should arrive a few weeks in advance of the date that it is going to be given.

    Buying a Car as a Gift Can be Fun and Exciting

    Purchasing a car as a present

    If you consider all of the details related to this large purchase, you can have a lot of fun gifting your friend or family member with a car. There is something really special about giving someone their first car or making it possible for them to have their dream car to drive every day. If you consider all of the logistics carefully, there does not have to be any reason for unwanted surprises or difficulties with this kind of purchase.

    Buying a car as a gift is all about research, planning, and making sure that you are not exceeding your financial comfort zone. If you are not making a decision that will cause you stress or worry, you are going to love giving a car as a gift!



    Get a quote.

    Transport Vehicle FROM
    Transport Vehicle TO
    Vehicle Year
    Vehicle Make
    Vehicle Make
    Vehicle Model
    Vehicle Model
    Vehicle Type
    Full Name
    Phone Number
    Email Address
    Available Date
    Additional Information
    Contact & Date

    Thank you!

    Thanks for submitting the form. You will be receive an email shortly.





    Absolutely fantastic. Guys were far better than I could have hoped for. THE NEXT DAY... NOT A SCRATCH OR DING.... STRAIGHT TO MY DOOR.
    google robert k. View review
    Called Eric La Gra from Mercury Transport he was able to get my truck shipped immediately got me a transporter who did a fantastic job.
    google Eric D. View review
    Joel at Mercury Auto Transport did an excellent job arranging to transport my vehicle quickly and at a competitive price.
    google Fred L. View review
    See more reviews
    Get more reviews with ReputationStacker




    First, we post your vehicle through our network, including all National Dispatch Boards for Auto Transport. This is where all licensed auto transport carriers can see your vehicle is available for shipping.


    We present offers from FMCSA Licensed and Insured Carriers. When you accept an offer, we send your service agreement that guarantees the price, door-to-door service and 100% bumper to bumper insurance. There are never any hidden fees or charges, guaranteed.


    Not until you approve your carrier and final logistics is your deposit due. Your deposit is included in your quote and goes toward the total price. The remaining balance is due at time of delivery. Nothing gets done without your approval.


    Your driver will contact you prior to your pickup and delivery dates to schedule a time for loading and unloading. Once your vehicle reaches its destination, you do a final inspection of your vehicle and pay the driver the remaining balance. You and the driver both sign the Bill of Lading and each keep a copy.