State Regulations in Alaska
With so many types of transportation available, it's easy to get hung up in the looks and performance of a car. But keep in mind, safety and reliability are what's going to count when the temperature drops below zero and the north winds pick up this winter. There are so many safe and reliable vehicles for sale, and, sadly, too many unsafe, unreliable ones, too. In weather like Alaska's, it is more than just important that a car or truck be reliable. It is critical.
Learn what to look for when buying a vehicle so that the money you invest will reward you with excellent, reliable transportation. Buy from a reputable dealer if at all possible. If you buy from a private party, have the vehicle checked out by a certified mechanic before you invest your hard-earned dollars. Look at the vehicle not as a sweet deal or a luxury ride, but as the vehicle that needs to get you from Point A to Point B and all points in between when the days grow short and the nights grow long.
In the transfer of a motor vehicle's ownership, you must complete two transactions with the DMV. You must change the ownership, also known as the title and the new owner must register the vehicle with the Alaska DMV.
The title transfer of a vehicle is done in order to create legal proof of your ownership of the vehicle. Titling is only done once, at the time of the purchase but you may add another owner to the title (such as with a marriage) or remove a name from the title. You may also request a new title be issued after a loan is paid off and a lien has been released. You have 30 days from the date of purchase to change the title on a vehicle in Alaska.
Registering a vehicle is the act of making it legal with the DMV, including the payment of any applicable fees and taxes. Once a vehicle is registered, you will receive your license plates in the mail. You may order personalized or specialized license plates, if you wish.
You may also be asked for proof of your I/M Testing Certification when you register a newly purchased vehicle. The updated certification is the seller's responsibility. If you live in an area that requires an I/M Certification, be sure that your seller has included it with your bill of sale.
Registration fees vary and are based on the size of the vehicle and the weight class. Here's a link to the DMV fee schedule for more information on registration fees.
Registration taxes are based on the price of the vehicle and on the buyer's place of residence. Check with the DMV for more information.
The first time you register a vehicle at the DMV, you are required to do so in person. When you go, be sure to bring your paperwork with you. You will need:
- A Bill of Sale or other documents showing the purchase price of the vehicle, signed by both buyer and seller
- An odometer disclosure statement
- Proof of insurance
After the title transfer and registration process has been completed, the DMV will mail you your license plates and the current tabs for the registration period. When the registration renewal is coming up, you will receive a notice from the DMV.
No sale can be completed without a title. If the title is lost and your name is on record with the DMV as the owner, you are responsible (regardless of whether you're the buyer or seller) for obtaining a duplicate title. If the title was issued in another state, you must arrange to get a duplicate title from that state's DMV. But until then, you won't be able to complete a sale.
No worries if the seller cannot produce a current registration. If you're the buyer, you will need to explain this on the Application for Title and Registration.