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  • State Regulations in Montana

    Registering a car?

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    Good faith does not apply to car buying. To protect yourself and expedite the title-transfer process, Montana's Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) suggests that you take the following steps:

    • Make sure you secure the title and registration receipt from the seller. If you are purchasing a new car, the dealership will submit all of this information to your county treasurer's office. Although not mandatory, having a copy of your Bill of Sale (Form MV24) is suggested.
    • The vehicle's title must be signed by all registered owners and all signatures must be notarized.
    • Include an odometer reading, either on the title itself or on a separate document.
    • Make sure there are no active liens on the vehicle and that all have been released.
    • Include a copy of the vehicle's last registration receipt. This is very important in protecting yourself from any out-of-the-blue back taxes or fees.
    • Double check that the vehicle identification number (VIN) on the title matches the number etched into the vehicle. If the numbers do not match, you will need to immediately drop anchor on the purchase until the legal owner is verified. This is one of those seemingly minor procedures that should not be overlooked. The possible long-term hassle that such a discrepancy can cause makes it not worth skipping.
    • You must apply for your new car's title and registration at your country treasurer's office.

    The act of buying a car is overshadowed by the fear of getting fleeced. Fortunately, Montana has instituted a Lemon Law to help protect you from cheapjack car-chiselers. But, this does not mean you are completely immune from getting swindled. Before even approaching a seller you should research the car or model you are considering. Ignorance is not bliss in a car-buying situation. The more you know the better your chances of not getting burdened with a clunker.

    Buying or Selling a Vehicle Without a Registration

    If you buy a vehicle without a registration, in order to register it in your name you will need to provide:

    Drop all of this off in person at your local county treasurer's office.

    Buying or Selling a Vehicle Without a Title

    If you're selling a car to which you've lost the title, you should Application for Replacement Certificate of Title (Form MV7) before initiating a sale.

    If you've bought a vehicle and the seller did not provide you with the title, then to obtain a title in your name you must submit:

    Mail all of this to:

    • Title and Registration Bureau
    • Motor Vehicle Division
    • Montana Department of Justice
    • 1003 Buckskin Drive
    • Deer Lodge, MT 59722

    Car Buying Tips

    • Keep in mind that an expensive vehicle does not automatically translate into a good vehicle. They are just as prone to maintenance breakdowns as lower-priced models.
    • The best deals for new cars occur July through October when dealerships are trying to create space for new models, and during late December when salesmen are desperately trying to reach year-end quotas.
    • If you are purchasing a used car, have an independent mechanic inspect the vehicle. Mechanical flaws in today's electronic-filled engines are difficult to detect with untrained eyes.
    • Never sign a blank financial form.
    • Get all promises in writing.
    • Don't give your license under the guise of "for insurance purposes" to a dealership while taking a test drive. While you're wheeling around the block the dealership could be using your license to make an unauthorized credit report.