Edmunds Answers



  • tony78 02/15/10 11:51 pm PST


    So you bought a car and drove it around, unregistered, uninsured, not smogged or inspected and unreported.

    Now you want to turn over a new leaf and do the right thing.

    Good choice.

    When you purchased the vehicle, the previous owner would of had to report to The Bureau of Automobile Registration that the car was sold.

    So you are legally on the hook for past due registration, proof of insurance, smogg and / or inspection and taxes, if applicable.

    Theres no getting around any of that.

    Before you will be able to register anothere car, everything associated with your present car will have to be satisfied.

    Then when everything is done, then you can dispose of the car in the manner that you see fit.

  • Stever@Edmunds 02/16/10 11:29 am PST

    It probably varies from state to state. You may just need to sign title over to sell the car. Only way to find out is to call your DMV or whoever handles title and registration in your state.

    You may be able to part it out and avoid any title issues that way.

  • MrShift@Edmunds 02/16/10 11:36 am PST

    In most states you'd do a "Transfer of Title" and a Bill of Sale, so that the car goes from the owner previous to you, to the next owner, and your name never appears on a title or registration; however, this is in *some* states, and I have no idea how your state works. Most "sales taxes" on cars is really a use tax, so if you claim it was never on the road, I don't think you'd have to pay a sales tax.

    But you, or the new owner, would be liable for all past due registration fees, with penalties, so that could add up to a hundred/two hundred bucks. Again, in some states, you can put the car on a "non-op" status so that during non-use, you don't accrue registration fees either.

    Now then, if you have outstanding tickets on this car, that complicates everything enormously, as it PROVES you were using the car---this is a "paper trail" and could trip you up and perhaps inflict a sales tax.

    My advice for people going to DMV is always the same---plead ignorance, show them minimal paperwork, and ask them for their expert advice. Listen, don't talk. DMV will often give you hints on how to work the system.

    What you wish to admit to or not admit to is your business.


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