Paperwork When Buying a Car in Idaho
Paperwork Required to Buy a Car in Idaho
When you buy a car in Idaho, you’ll need to get some paperwork from the seller as well as complete some of your own.
The seller will give you the vehicle title and bill of sale, and you’ll need to get your car registered with the Idaho Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). If you buy the car from a dealer, they’ll likely handle all of the paperwork for you.
Keep reading for more information about the paperwork you need when buying a car in Idaho.
When purchasing a used car in Idaho, the seller must give you documents needed for your records and to submit to the ID DMV when registering your car.
The vehicle title is the most important document you’ll need. The title should include:
- The vehicle identification number (VIN).
- The seller’s signature.
- Your name, address, and signature.
- The date of the sale.
- An odometer disclosure, if the car is less than 10 years old.
- The purchase price, if a space is provided to include it.
- You’ll need a bill of sale if there is nowhere on the title to write the purchase price.
If the seller does not have the car’s title, they should apply for a duplicate title BEFORE selling the car.
You should NOT buy a car that doesn’t have a title certificate.
To transfer the certificate of title so that you are the official owner of the car, you’ll simply go in person to your Idaho county assessor's office with the completed title.
You must title your car within 30 days of your purchase.
While at the Idaho DMV, the car will undergo a VIN inspection to ensure that it is the vehicle listed on the title. VIN inspections can also be completed at police or sheriff’s departments.
Once your car passes its VIN inspection, you’ll need to pay:
- $14 title transfer fee.
- 6% sales tax.
- If you paid tax to an out-of-state dealer, be sure to bring documentation.
See our page, Title Transfers in Idaho, for more information about transferring a car title.
You can usually register your car at the same time you complete the title transfer in person at your county assessor's office with:
- The vehicle title with all required information filled in.
- Bill of sale (if needed).
- Registration fees: $35 to $60, based on the age of the car and your county of residence.
- Ada County residents must also pay a highway fee, which varies from $24 to $40.
After all of this is submitted, you will then be issued a brand new license plate for your used vehicle.
For more information about vehicle registration, see our page Register a Car in Idaho.
To avoid fraud and obtain the most accurate and up-to-date information on any vehicle you plan on purchasing, consider getting a vehicle history report.
A vehicle history report provides data about the car based on the vehicle’s VIN, including:
- A recent odometer reading.
- Damage to the vehicle.
- Theft, flood, or other events the car has been involved in.
By obtaining a vehicle history report, you can protect yourself against fraudulent sellers.
Idaho’s lemon law covers manufacturer defects for vehicles that:
- Have fewer than 24,000 miles.
- Are younger than 2 years old.
- Are under the manufacturer’s warranty.
If your vehicle meets these requirements, you should report problems to the manufacturer. If they don’t comply, you can request arbitration.
For more information, see our Lemon Law in Idaho page.