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  • State Regulations in Nebraska

    Registering a car?

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    It's likely that you'll go through the process of buying and selling vehicles several times throughout your life. Whether you're purchasing your first car or trading in your current vehicle for a newer model, you must follow the steps outlined by the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles.

    How to Buy a Vehicle

    If you are buying a new vehicle from a dealer, your legal rights are protected under Nebraska's Lemon Law. This law allows you to either formally sue the car manufacturer or use an informal arbitration process to resolve any disputes that may arise. However, the vehicle must have a serious defect and be less than 1 year old at the time your notice is sent to the manufacturer in order to receive protection under the Lemon Law.

    Nebraska residents who are planning to purchase used vehicles must be aware of the risk of salvage fraud. This crime occurs when an unethical dealer purchases a previously salvaged vehicle, makes a minimal amount of repairs, and sells it to an unsuspecting driver without informing him of the potential problems associated with the purchase. For this reason, it is recommended that you have an experienced mechanic inspect any vehicle that you are interested in buying.

    After your purchase, you'll have 30 days to register your vehicle. If you buy your car or truck from a dealership, the paperwork will be completed on your behalf. If not, you'll need to make a trip to the county treasurer's office to pay your fees, complete the title transfer, and show your proof of insurance.

    For more information on the registration and titling process, please see Registration & Titling, Car Registration, and Title Transfers on this site.

    How to Sell a Vehicle

    When you sell your vehicle, you should provide the buyer with a notarized bill of sale. This document provides the buyer with a receipt for the transaction and gives you proof that you are no longer the legal owner of the vehicle. You can also download a Bill of Sale form from the Nebraska DMV website.

    If you are selling a vehicle that is less than 10 years old, you must also provide the buyer with a signed statement certifying the odometer reading at the time of his purchase. For your convenience, you can download an Odometer Disclosure Statement from the Nebraska DMV website. If you are unable to determine the odometer reading for the vehicle, you must request that the title list the reading as either "Not Actual" or "Exceeds Mechanical Limits."

    In Nebraska, license plates are associated with the owner of the vehicle and not the vehicle itself. Therefore, you should remove your license plates and save them for use on your replacement vehicle.

    If you have questions about the procedure for selling your vehicle, please call the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles at (402) 471-3918.

    Buying or Selling Without Paperwork

    Although the seller doesn't need to provide the registration certificate to the buyer, ideally, you shouldn't buy or sell a vehicle without a title.

    However, if you happen to buy a car without a title and can't provide a Manufacturer's Statement of Origin (MSO), you might be able to apply for a bonded certificate of title.

    Before you submit the completed Application for Bonded Certificate of Title for a Motor Vehicle and other paperwork and fees to the DMV (including a surety bond for 1.5 times the vehicle's value), you'll need to submit a completed Application for Copy of Vehicle Record and a $1 fee.

    You might also need to complete and submit an Assigned ID Number Application if the vehicle doesn't have a vehicle identification number (VIN) plate. A Sheriff's Inspection Form and the $20 fee must accompany the application.

    Once you take care of the above, the Nebraska DMV provides a detailed outline for applying for a bonded title, and you can contact the Driver and Vehicle Records Division at (402) 471-3918.