Car Buying and Selling Regulations in Pennsylvania

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Selling or buying a vehicle in Pennsylvania requires some processes. If you are a buyer, you need to do your homework well in order to get the best deal. You also need to register and title the car that you have purchased in your name. The PennDOT is the department that is responsible for vehicle registration and titling. Collect all the paperwork needed for vehicle registration and titling and make sure all the signatures are in order.

Selling a Car in Pennsylvania

The steps of selling your vehicle in Pennsylvania are:

  • Print and sign your name on the back of the title in the presence of a notary.
  • Record the vehicle's odometer reading on the back of the title or a separate document.
  • Remove your license plates from the vehicle.

Buying a Car in Pennsylvania

  • Before you agree with deal, inquire for the insurance cover for the vehicle you are buying.
  • Make sure the seller completes the grey sections on the back of title.
  • Print and sign your name on the title. You can do this in the presence of a notary.
  • Also make sure the seller records the vehicle's odometer reading on the back of the title or on a separate document.
  • If the vehicle's emission and inspection certificate has expired, arrange to take your vehicle for inspection within 10 days from purchase date.

You will then need to visit the nearest Pennsylvania DOT Vehicle Services Center to register and title the vehicle in your name. You can apply for new license plates or transfer your existing ones to your new vehicle.

Buying and Selling Without Paperwork

In Pennsylvania, just like many states in the United States, you need a title and other paperwork in order to register and title your newly purchased vehicle in your name. So make sure you have title from the seller. The registration papers are not required when registering or titling the car. It is okay if the seller doesn’t have one but don’t get tricked into buying a vehicle without a title. The vehicle may be stolen or salvaged, and you may find it hard to title it into your name. If the title is missing for whatever reason, ask the seller to apply for a duplicate copy before completing the purchase. Once you have the duplicate title signed over to your name, you can then proceed with the purchase.

Buyer Beware

The excitement of purchasing a vehicle comes in hand with the fear of becoming a victim of defective vehicles. Fortunately, the state of Pennsylvania has a lemon law that protects buyers from defective vehicles. If you have purchased a lemon, the law mandates the manufacturer or dealer from whom you bought that vehicle to give you a replacement vehicle or a refund. This does not mean that you are completely immune from becoming a victim of bad deals. Before you decide to visit your dealer, arm yourself with enough information on what you want in terms of vehicle price, safety and reliability. The more information you know, the better your chances of getting the best deal.

Car Buying Tips

  • Bear in mind that highly priced vehicles do not translate to safety or reliability of the vehicle.
  • Order the vehicle history report of the car you are purchasing. This report contains detailed information about the vehicle accident history, damage and repair history, odometer readings and VIN.
  • If you are purchasing in installments, be sure that you can afford the monthly installments.
  • Before purchasing a vehicle, have it inspected by a qualified mechanic.
  • If you are purchasing a used car from a dealer, request the name and address of the previous owner.
  • Make sure the VIN on the vehicle you are purchasing matches the one on the title.
  • Insist on agreement contact made in writing.
  • The best deals for new cars usually occur between the months of July through October. This is the period when dealers are desperately trying to create new space for new models. You can also get a good deal during late December, when salesmen are desperately trying to reach their target of the year.
  • Never sign a blank financial form.
  • Make sure all contracts are in written.