Car Buying and Selling Regulations in Utah

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Selling or buying a vehicle in Utah 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 Utah DMV 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.

Buying New From a Dealer

  • Before purchasing a vehicle, have it inspected by a qualified mechanic.
  • If you are purchasing in installments, be sure that you can afford the monthly installments.
  • Do your homework well before making a purchase. Use the Kelley Blue Book website to determine the best value for the vehicle you are purchasing.
  • Be sure you can afford the vehicle. If you intend to finance the vehicle through a loan, inquire from your bank or financing institution to see whether they are ready to finance you.
  • Dealers are very tricky people. Don’t succumb to their tricks. You have to be objective on what you want.
  • Insist on having written agreement.
  • Be sure you request a bill of sale.

Buying Used From a Dealer

  • 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.
  • Make sure you are aware of the value of the vehicle you are planning to purchase. There are several resources that you can use such as the National Auto Dealers Association (NADA) and the Kelley Blue Book website.
  • Get the necessary paperwork for vehicle registration and titling from the seller. You will need these documents to transfer the vehicle’s ownership to your name.
  • Before purchasing a vehicle, have it inspected by a qualified mechanic.
  • If you are purchasing in installments, be sure that you can afford the monthly installments.
  • Make sure the VIN on the vehicle you are purchasing matches the one on the title.
  • Insist on agreement contact made in writing.

What to Expect When Buying From a Dealer

  • Temporary Permits and Vehicle Titles.
  • Paying Off the Loan on Your Trade-In.
  • Vehicle Financing Disclosure Requirements.
  • Beware of Salvage Vehicles and Branded Titles.
  • Warranties and Third-Party Service Contracts.
  • Complaints about a Dealer.

Buying Used Cars from a Private Individual

Purchasing a used vehicle from an individual can be more risky than when purchasing from a licensed dealer.

Check Out the Seller

Utah DMV warns its residents who conduct business with unlicensed dealers. These dealers are commonly known as curbstoners as they advertise and sell vehicles posing as private sellers. They transact their business from the street curb. The state warns residents to avoid these dealers because their sales are not protected. Notorious curbstoners normally sell salvage vehicles, roll back odometer readings and also do other forms of consumer fraud. If you suspect that you are dealing with a curbstoner, contact the DOL immediately. Here are some signs that you are dealing with a curbstoner:

  • The vehicle is parked alongside the road.
  • The seller wants to meet you somewhere private.
  • The title certificate isn't in the seller's name.
  • The seller will only accept cash.

You can avoid unscrupulous sellers by asking few questions such as:

  • Are you the vehicle's owner?
  • How long have you owned it?
  • Does the vehicle have a Utah title?
  • Is the title in your name?

Check Out the Vehicle

Ask the buyer some questions that will help you have an insight about how the vehicle had been operated and maintained. Ask questions like:

  • How long has the current owner had it?
  • What kind of operation has the car been used for?
  • What was the mileage the last time it was sold?
  • Why are they selling?
  • Has the vehicle been involved in an accident and was it repaired?
  • Is the title valid and up-to-date?
  • Are there parts or functions that need repair?

Private-Party Paperwork

You will need the following to transfer the title to your name:

  • Title with the previous owner's release signature.
  • Completed Odometer Disclosure Statement. This form must be signed by both the seller and buyer.
  • Bill of sale.

If the title is missing, you may be required to submit Affidavit of Loss/Release of Interest signed in the presence of a county auditor or a notary public.

Buying Without a Title

It can’t be done. If it is missing, ask the seller to apply for a duplicate copy and assign it to you during the time of sale. To do so, the seller has to complete Form TC-123 (Application for Utah Duplicate Title) and submit it to the Utah DMV.

Selling Without a Registration

Selling without registration papers is not an issue. You don’t need these papers in order to register and title your newly purchased vehicle. All that you need is the above mentioned documents.