Paperwork Required: Buying a Car in Arizona [2020]

Last Updated on June 9, 2020 by Jason Mason

When purchasing a used vehicle, you will need to obtain certain documents from a seller. The documents that you need include a notarized vehicle title and a bill of sale. You will also need to obtain emission compliance and a vehicle inspection form. Once you have these paperwork, you can go ahead to register your vehicle at the Arizona Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Division.

Paperwork needed by Arizona Car Buyers

When you purchase a car from a dealer, your paperwork will be handled by the car dealer. If you purchase it from a private seller, you will be responsible for paperwork processing. In this case, you will be required to obtain certain documents from the seller. You will use these documents when applying for a title and registering your car. These documents include:

  • A bill of sale.
  • The vehicle title, which includes the purchase price, filled transfer sections and notarized signatures from buyer and seller.

If the seller does not have a title, you should not buy their car. You will advise them to apply for a replacement title before negotiating with them. So, it is not advisable to purchase a vehicle without a title.

Bills of Sale and Sold Notices

Even though the Arizona DMV does not require you to provide the bill of sale, this document is important as it contains both your signature and that of the seller. This ensures that there is no confusion with regard to the legitimacy of sale transaction.

If you have sold your vehicle through a private transaction, you will need to submit a Sold Notice to the Arizona MVD. This can be done online. This will prevent any blame or liability should the buyer fail to register the car he purchased from you within the stated deadline.

Arizona Vehicle Registration

To register or title your car in Arizona, you will need to visit your local Arizona Department of Motor Vehicle office. You must do so within the first 15 days of vehicle purchase. Remember to take with you:

  • The bill of sale.
  • Form 96-0236 (Title and Registration Application Form).
  • The completed vehicle title.
  • Lien release documents, if applicable.
  • Payment for the fees and taxes ($4 title fee, $8 registration fee, $1.50 Air-quality research fee and Vehicle license tax).
  • A level I inspection in the absence of vehicle registration.

Registering Out-of-State Vehicles in Arizona

If you intend to register a vehicle with an out-of-state registration and title, you will need:

  • A level I inspection.
  • An emission compliance form (this form is needed if you are a resident of Tucson or Phoenix).
  • An emission compliance form (this form is required if you are registering your car in Phoenix or Tucson).
  • The out-of-state license plates.
  • The title and/or registration.

Insurance Requirement In Arizona

Arizona car insurance law requires you to show financial responsibility for injuries and property damages that may be incurred as a result of an accident. You can fulfill this in two ways:

  • Showing proof of liability insurance OR
  • Certificate of deposit of $40,000 assigned to the State Treasurer’s office in Arizona.

You must show this proof if you are a resident of Arizona. Arizona residency is established through the following ways:

  • Working in Arizona
  • Staying in Arizona for at least 7 months in a calendar year
  • Registering to vote in Arizona
  • Paying in-state tuition for yourself or your children
  • Owning a business that transports goods or people within Arizona
  • Operating a business in Arizona with in-state vehicles.

You must have a car insurance, or proof of Financial Responsibility In Arizona, before you can start driving your car on the road. You must prove that you are capable of paying for injuries and property damages in case of an accident. If you are caught driving without proof, you will face the following penalties:

  • A minimum fine of $250
  • Driver’s license or car registration suspension for 3 months.
  • Subsequent car insurance law violations will result in more serious penalties.

Tips to keep in mind when buying an used vehicle

Most used vehicles in this state have various mechanical problems which you should be keen on. Some of the issues you will encounter include:

  • Odometer fraud. Some sellers normally tamper with odometer reading to convince a buyer that the car has fewer miles.
  • Vehicles with unnoticeable problems such as flooding.

To help avoid these issues, you should take the following precautions:

  • Have a trusted mechanic inspect your car.
  • Ensure that the seller’s name matches the name on the registration and title.
  • Obtain a vehicle history report.

A vehicle history report is needed before you purchase a car. This report includes information about vehicle damage history, accident history, VIN and mileage covered. This report can help you avoid fraudulent practices from sellers.