If a family member has recently died and you inherited that person's car, there will be state-specific paperwork that you have to fill out, but that's not all you'll have to do. In addition to contacting the relative's insurance company (as well as your own) and completing the transfer of the vehicle registration, you'll have to take practical steps as well regarding the condition of the car. Even if you were in close contact with the relative for years before he or she died, you might not be aware of just how the car is doing.
Check All Storage Areas
Look all around the interior of the car and trunk to find storage spaces. This includes under the seats, near the center console, and even in areas right next to storage spaces in case there are additional latches that have broken. Remove what you find to reduce the chances of the car having any strange rattles as you drive it around.
Have a Dealership Service Center or Repair Shop Inspect It
Bring the car to your favorite repair shop or to a dealership service center and have the mechanics there check everything. Have them treat it like a used car that you're trying to buy. That inspection will uncover problems that need to be repaired plus other issues that you'll have to get taken care of soon. Sometimes things can happen under the hood and not give off symptoms, so you and the relative might not have been aware of them before the relative's death.
Review Older Repair Paperwork
If you can find the relative's repair receipts and orders, review them and write down the types and dates of repair over the life of the car. That will help you figure out when to next do work like changing brakes.
Get the Car Detailed
Once the inspections are done, have the car professionally detailed. This not only makes the car look beautiful, but it gives it and you a fresh start. The car becomes yours, with your fingerprints and your driving habits. You aren't trying to erase your relative's memories, of course; you just want to have a literally clean start as you begin to use the car. Detailing will also get at hidden messes like crumbs that might be under the seat or stains that make the car look very old.
Once the car has been inspected, the registration transferred, and the exterior and interior detailed, you'll find that you can keep the car in pretty good shape. Have it detailed every few months for the best effect. Contact a company, like A&G Auto Spa & Mobile Detailing, for more help.
About three months ago, my boss asked me if I would be willing to drive for a company luncheon. I didn't think much of it, so I pulled my car around and everyone loaded in. Unfortunately, after people started to file in, I realized that my car wasn't the immaculate rental car they were used to. The back was filled with wrappers and the front had more than one fast food beverage. After that experience, I decided to get my car detailed so that it would be clean and tidy for people down the road. It has changed my outlook on carpooling.