What To Consider When Buying A Car Out Of State

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For the most part, buying a new car or truck doesn’t involve going out of state, as there are plenty of options close to home. But sometimes, out of state is the best option, especially if you live near the border or are looking for a specialist vehicle. When this is the case, it’s essential to realize that there are certain things you need to do to ensure you take ownership with no issues. Because the last thing you want happening is you get hit with a significant fine, or worse, not be able to take possession of your new car.

Sales Tax

All vehicle purchases require the payment of sales tax, but when you buy out of state, the tax is paid to the state you live in, not where it’s purchased. It’s easy to be caught out by this when looking at the overall cost of the vehicle, as the sales tax rate may be higher in your state. Of course, this could work in your favor if sales tax is lower in your state. These potential differences are why it’s essential to get it right when working out the costs at the initial stages of the buying process. 

Vehicle Transportation

Bringing a car in from a distant state could mean a lengthy road trip and high mileage before you even have it in your garage. The best way to avoid this is by using a car shipping company to bring it safely home for you. Many carriers offer enclosed transport which will keep the vehicle out of the elements and miss road debris that cars on open-sided transporters can’t avoid. If you’ve purchased a classic or luxury vehicle that requires additional care, look at reviews of Easy Auto Ship for the ideal option.


There are varying emissions standards across the different states, so you must check your home state’s requirements. California, in particular, has strict emissions criteria for vehicles registered in the state. You may see a great deal on a car at a dealership just over the border, but if it doesn’t meet the emissions standards, you won’t be able to register it. Some vehicles are manufactured to meet the emissions standards of all 50 states, so it is worth looking out for this label.


Once you get your new car back to your home state, it’ll need to be registered in the state. Usually, registration must occur within 30 days to avoid fines, but this can vary, so check with your state before purchasing. You’ll also need to find out if additional taxes and fees are required for registering an out-of-state car. If you’ve made your purchase through a dealer, they will probably be able to help you with the necessary paperwork. 

Depending on what sort of car you’re buying, purchasing out of state can be the ideal solution, but it’s often not. Consider sales tax, emissions standards, and transportation costs when deciding between local and out-of-state.

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