Buy A Car Out Of State

How Do I Buy a Car Out of State?

It's a little bit liberating to know that you're not confined to buying a car in the state you live in - especially if you live close to a state's border. But that doesn't mean that buying a car in a neighboring state is the same as if you bought it at home. In fact, depending on which state you're headed to, there are many different rules for buying a car out of state.

Discover what you should watch out for when going out of state to buy a new car.

Buying a Car Out of State

Buying (or financing) a car from out of state is the easy part. Just head on over to your dealership of choice, sit down with a sales representative and someone from their finance department and you'll be well on your way to signing on the dotted line.

The real issues (and we use that word very lightly) with buying a car from out of state come with your home state's requirements for taxes, inspections, and other automobile regulations.

Let's take a look at some of those "issues" now.

Safety and Emissions Inspection

A large number of states now require all registered vehicles to pass a smog check and emissions inspection (including Pennsylvania). However, if you buy a car from a state that doesn't require these inspections, you'll need to have the car checked before you can get it registered in your home state.

It's also important to keep in mind that just because you're purchasing a car from a state that also requires smog and emissions checks, doesn't necessarily mean that those inspections are valid or accepted in your home state, so be sure to double check.

Just like how some states require an emissions inspection, others also may require a safety inspection before the vehicle can be registered. This could be a one-time inspection performed before the car is registered, or it might be an annual inspection, depending which state you live in.

How to Register a Car in PA

More often than not, the dealership will handle any title and registration paperwork, but these documents are typically temporary. When you get back to your home state, you'll need to complete the title and registration process with your local DMV or similar institution.

Paying Car Taxes

Before you put money down on that cream puff in Delaware, it's important to understand how sales tax works when buying a car out of state. Even though the car may be sold in a state that doesn't have sales tax or has a lower sales tax than your home state, you'll always be required to pay the sales tax for where you'll be registering the car.

It's important to keep in mind that when the dealership's finance department is drafting up your contract, they'll likely use the tax rates from their state. This is crucial to know since you'll be expected to make up the difference when you go to register the vehicle in another state.

Auto Insurance

You'll need to provide proof of insurance before you can legally drive your new car anywhere. When buying out of state, it's a good idea to talk to your insurance company ahead of time since certain policies may require a waiting period before they're able to process the request. There's nothing worse than buying a brand new car and then not being able to drive it off the lot.

Have more questions about how to buy a car out of state? Contact us at Fred Beans Auto Loans. We'll be happy to help you understand the rules and regulations or set you up with an affordable car loan. Call or visit us today! 


  1. Fred Beans Auto Loans

    835 North Easton Road
    Suite 100
    Doylestown, PA 18902

    • Phone: 833-784-1027
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