Buying a Used Car Out of State
You can find great cheap used cars for sale throughout the country. Sometimes, you may have to cross state lines to get your perfect pre-owned vehicle. Fortunately, buying a used car out of state is a simple process for most drivers, especially when you choose to shop with our dealerships at Val-U-Line®.
If you're thinking about crossing state lines so you can find and drive home in your ideal used car, here are a few helpful tips for buying a used car out of state.
When to Buy a Car Out of State
One of the biggest reasons to shop out of state for a used car is availability. If you've made up your mind on a specific make and model from a certain year, there may only be a few dealerships that have exactly what you want-and some may be over your state lines. If you're looking for a rare model, your options may be even more slim.
You can also potentially save money when buying a car out of state, especially if you live close to the border. It all depends on local supply and demand and special incentives. As you expand your used car search, you're more likely to find a greater variation of price points, so you can choose a vehicle that meets your financial needs.
When to Avoid Buying a Used Car Out of State
It's important to be prepared when buying a pre-owned car out of state. Sometimes, that means knowing when to avoid it. Buying a used car out of state adds a few more steps to the process, but they're easy to work through when shopping with a reputable dealer. If you want a quick turnaround, shopping in state could be a better option.
You'll also want to consider just how far you are willing to travel. A vehicle three states over might be right in your price range but be sure to add the travel time and all the expenses associated into the overall cost. That way, you can make sure that you're still sticking to your budget, even when shopping out of state.
Steps to Buying a Car Out of State
Do Your Research & Check the In-Stock Inventory
Before you make the trip to a dealership in a different state, it's always a good idea to do a bit of research to discover which type of used vehicle is best for you. Whether you need more space or a more efficient performance, taking the time to consider your needs will make it easier to narrow down your options.
Once you have an idea of what you want, check the out-of-state dealership's inventory to see if it's available. If it is, give them a call to see if they can hold it for you and head to their showroom for a test drive.
Consider Your State's Safety Inspection Regulations
Some states will require a safety inspection before you can get your title and registration for your used car. Since the vehicle you purchase will be titled and registered under your home state, make sure you check their safety inspection requirements.
If a check is necessary, talk to the out-of-state dealership to see what types of inspections they perform. Typically, most dealers will take care of the safety inspection before they put the vehicle up for sale.
To further ensure your peace of mind, you can also ask for a CARFAX® Vehicle History Report™ to learn more about any previous accident, service, and recall information reported for the used car you're considering.
Check the Emissions Stickers
Just like safety inspections, different states have different regulations on emissions. For example, some follow stringent emissions standards for new and pre-owned vehicles. If where you live abides by these guidelines, you'll want to make sure the used car you're buying out of state has a valid emissions sticker.
If it doesn't have an emissions sticker or it doesn't pass regulations for your home state, you'll need to have an emissions and smog test performed before you can get the title and registration.
Get Your Title, Registration, and Insurance
When you buy a used car out of state, the dealership will help you take care of all the title and registration paperwork that you need. While this process will help you get your car home, it is temporary. So, you'll need to go to your home state's DMV and get it titled and registered as soon as you can.
It's also important that you call your auto insurance agent before you buy your used car to make sure it's covered. Almost all states require that a vehicle is insured before you can drive home.
Pay the Sales Tax
Even though you'll be buying your used car in another state, you'll still be responsible for paying the sales tax associated with where you live. When the finance team begins to crunch the numbers, they'll calculate taxes based on their state's. If the taxes in your state are higher, you'll need to pay the difference.
Typically, some dealerships will be able to handle this part of the process. However, documentation may be required when you're getting your title and registration. With that said, you should have the paperwork stating how much you paid in sales tax for your used car and when you bought it when you go to the DMV.
An Extra Step If Your State Follows CARB
If you live in a state that follows the standards of the California Air Resources Board (CARB), you'll want to make sure that the used car you're buying meets the strict criteria. Luckily, there are currently around 15 CARB states, so if you live in one of them, there's a good chance you can find a used car in a nearby state following the same standards.
When working with a reputable dealer, they'll be able to tell you whether the vehicle you have your eye on is up to CARB standards. If it's not, they can usually have a technician install the necessary equipment to get it up to snuff.
Buy a Used Car Out of State!
With the right information, purchasing a vehicle in a different state can be a quick and simple overall experience. So, if you're thinking about buying a used car out of state, check out the tips above and head over to any one of Val-U-Line®'s used car dealerships.
Our nationwide dealers can give you an extensive selection of vehicles and the services and assistance needed for an easier out-of-state car-buying experience.