Paperwork When Buying a Car in Pennsylvania
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- Before you clinch the deal, arrange to have car insurance.
- Make sure the seller completes Section A on the back of title.
- Print and sign your name on the title in the presence of a notary.
- Record the vehicle's odometer reading.
- Visit a PennDOT Vehicle Services Center to transfer the title to your name and register the vehicle. You may apply for new license plates or make arrangements to transfer plates from another vehicle.
- If the vehicle's emission and inspection decals are not valid, you will have 10 days to pass the inspections.
Make sure you get the title from the seller when you buy a car. The registration papers are not quite as necessary, although it makes the process much easier.
If you're the buyer, please use caution when someone tries selling you a vehicle without the title. This is usually a red flag that could signal the car is stolen or salvaged. It would be wise to look for another vehicle.
Part of the convenience of purchasing a car through a dealership is that they will process and file all the needed paperwork.
A bill of sale is not required for registration and titling purposes. However, it's good practice to keep a bill of sale for your own records. If needed, you can download a copy of this form from our Bill of Sale page.
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