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Paperwork When Buying a Car in South Dakota

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When you buy a car in South Dakota, you'll need to receive the certain documents to transfer ownership into your name.

Use this guide to learn more about the paperwork requirements of the South Dakota Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to title and register your car following a purchase.

Paperwork for SD Car Buyers

How you transfer ownership of your new car depends on how you purchased it. You'll receive different paperwork based on whether you bought it from:

  • A South Dakota dealership.
    OR
  • A private seller.

Dealership Purchases

For cars purchased from a dealership, the dealer will typically provide the DMV with the required documents to transfer ownership.

However, if your circumstances require you to title the vehicle yourself, make sure you acquire the following paperwork after the sale:

  • The Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin (MCO), if the vehicle is brand new and has never before been titled.
  • The current title, if the vehicle is used and was already titled in South Dakota or elsewhere.
  • A dealer's invoice, as proof of the sale.

Private Vehicle Transactions

When you buy a car in South Dakota from a private seller, you'll need to obtain certain paperwork from them to be able to title and register the vehicle with the SD DMV.

Here's what you'll need:

SD Vehicle Registration Paperwork

Once you've received the paperwork listed above from either the dealer or the private seller, take it to your South Dakota Division of Motor Vehicles local office, PLUS the following:

For full details on how to register your newly-purchased car with the South Dakota DMV, check out our Car Registration guide.

Registering Out-of-State Vehicles

In addition to the documents above, you may also need to have additional paperwork when registering a vehicle previously titled in another state. This could include, but is not limited to:

  • Proof of ownership, such as:
    • A Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin.
    • A dealer's invoice.
    • The out-of-state title.
  • Proof of paid sales tax.
    • If you've already paid sales tax on your vehicle in another state, submit a Sales Tax Exemption (Form MV-609).
  • The current out-of-state registration.

Our guide to registering a car in South Dakota has more information.

Vehicle History Reports

Though not required, a Vehicle History Report is an important document for used car buyers. Based on a vehicle's unique Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), the report provides information about past accidents and damage to the vehicle, as well as odometer readings and details about events like floods or theft.

Your seller may be honest and up-front about the car you're buying, but a Vehicle History Report allows you the peace of mind to confirm what the seller tells you and that the seller is aware of the car's entire history.

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