Paperwork When Buying a Car in Hawaii

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Buying a car in Hawaii means taking care of some paperwork so that you can have the vehicle titled and registered in your name. No matter where in Hawaii you live, you'll need certain documents from the vehicle seller, such as the title and a bill of sale, to complete these applications.

If you buy your car from a dealership, they will likely handle the paperwork on your behalf. However, if you buy from a private seller, you'll be responsible for getting the vehicle titled and registered with your county's motor vehicle division or DMV.

Read below for more information about paperwork required for car buyers in Hawaii.

Paperwork for Hawaii Car Buyers

There are a few things you must be sure to complete when buying a car in Hawaii:

  • Before you hand over any money, make sure that a registration stopper (usually from unpaid parking tickets) is not on the vehicle.
  • You and the seller should complete and sign a bill of sale.
  • You and the seller should also complete the appropriate sections on the back side of the title,including:
    • The odometer reading.
    • All sellers' names and signatures, along with the date.
    • Lienholder information, if applicable.
  • Make sure the seller gives you the vehicle registration card and safety inspection certificate.
  • Visit a local registration office within 30 days to title and register the car.
  • Fees vary by location, vehicle type, and several other factors. To determine your fees, contact your county registration agency:
    • If you live in the City or County of Honolulu, you can use the Honolulu Motor Vehicle Fee Inquiry online.
    • If you live in Maui County, you can contact your local branch of the Division of Motor Vehicles and Licensing (DMV).
    • If you live in Hawaii County, contact the local office of the Vehicle Registration and Licensing Division.
    • If you live in Kauai County, you can call Motor Vehicle Registration (MVR), a division of the Department of Finance, at (808) 241-4256.

If you are buying a car through a dealership, they will assist you with completing and filing all of the required paperwork.

Buying or Selling Without a Title

For information on how to sell or buy a vehicle without a title, contact your local motor vehicle registration office. The seller may need to apply for a duplicate title in order to sell the car to you.

Be wary of cars without titles, since the title is proof that the seller owns the car and can legally sell it.

Bill of Sale

A Bill of Sale is an important document to own. If you can't track this form down, you can easily download and use our Bill of Sale Form.

Vehicle History Reports

A Vehicle History Report is an important tool for used car buyers. Using a car's vehicle identification number (VIN), a report gives you information such as:

  • The vehicle's approximate odometer reading.
  • Accident involving the vehicle.
  • The car's damage history.
  • Other potential damaging events, such as past flooding or theft of the vehicle.

A vehicle history report has accurate information that can help protect you against issues like odometer fraud, misleading sellers, and vehicles with extensive internal damage.

While the report isn't required paperwork for buying a car in Hawaii, it is a helpful document, whether you're buying a used car from a dealership or a private seller.

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