What Paperwork Do You Need to File When Purchasing a Used Car?

used cars

Looking for a new vehicle can be a long, arduous process. Filing paperwork for it won’t be quite as time-consuming, but it will still take some time. Keep in mind that the paperwork may vary from state to state, but it usually pretty similar. Here are some necessary things that you will need to attend to when purchasing a used car, whether through a dealership like this one or going through a private party.

used cars


You will always need to register your vehicle with the Department of Motor Vehicles. Some states require buyers to register the car within 5 days, while others give them up to 10. You should always carry the bill of sale with you in case you are pulled over, because you don’t want the police to think that you are driving someone else’s vehicle!

Title Transfers

The previous owner will need to transfer the title to you after you finalize the purchase. The DMV has a strict timeline that you need to follow after the purchase has been finalized. California requires owners to transfer the title within 10 days. Some states have different timeframes, so you will need to check with the DMV office before or immediately after the sale.

You should always make sure that the buyer has the title on hand before finalizing the purchase. You should never make payment until you are sure that they have the title in their possession, because you will not be able to finish the purchase. The seller will need to file for a duplicate title if it has been lost or destroyed.

Bill of Sale

Almost every state also requires a bill of sale before you can register the vehicle. You can download the forms from the DMV website. Make sure that the seller signs them as soon as the purchase is finalized.

Proof of Financial Responsibility

Missouri and many other states require people to purchase auto insurance before they can register a vehicle. Some states don’t have this requirement, but it is still illegal to actually drive the car without insurance. Some states allow you to use some other form of financial responsibility, such as making a deposit with the Department of Motor Vehicles that will be sufficient to cover most damages that you cause in an accident.

Smog and Maintenance Checks

Some states require owners to have cars inspected for safety before they can be registered. You will need to show paperwork to the DMV that shows there aren’t any serious safety issues at the time of registration. Some states also require proof of a smog test. You will need to check your state DMV website or driving manual for more information.

Joanna S. Tyler

Joanna S. Tyler has designed Peacepark.us to allow guest bloggers to post their unique, interesting and informative content for peace park readers. He does blogging himself and contributes to several blogs including peacepark.us

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