Buying and Selling FAQs in Idaho

Don't be perplexed by the red tape involved in buying and selling your next vehicle. Here are the answers to a few commonly asked questions regarding a vehicle sale in Idaho.

For additional information, contact the Idaho Transportation Department online or by phone at (208) 584-4343.

I'm getting ready to buy my first car. Is there anything I should know before I head to the dealership?

Do you want to buy a new or used vehicle? What's your bank account look like? Are you in the market for a convertible or a practical sedan? These are all questions you should ask yourself―and know the answers to―before you visit a dealership.

Our special Guide to Buying a New Car outlines and thoroughly explains each of these and more.

Should I take out a loan to buy a vehicle?

That's up to you. Most Americans do take loans to pay for their vehicles; however, drivers who pay out-of-pocket can sometimes save a bundle on their car insurance premiums.

You may want to look into some auto loan quotes first to see what's out there for you.

Is it wise to sell my car to my neighbor?

As long as you're honest about the condition of your vehicle, and as long as your neighbor fully understands both the positives and negatives of taking on ownership, there shouldn't be any problems with selling to your neighbor.

Check out our Guide to Selling Your Car before you sell to anyone to make sure you're moving forward in a way that is honest, legal, and likely to get you the most money for the sale.

Once I buy a vehicle, how long do I have to register it?

You must register your vehicle within 30 days of your purchase. If you fail to register within the time period, a $20 late-filing fee will be assessed.

What forms will I need in order to register my new vehicle under my name?

For complete step-by-step instructions, check out our car registration section.

To register your vehicle, you'll need:

  • The Idaho title signed over to you.
    • New vehicles need the Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin, which must show the vehicle has been released by the manufacturer and assigned to you.
  • An odometer disclosure for vehicles model year 2011 and newer and less than 16,000 lbs gross vehicle weight (GVW).
  • A bill of sale if the price you paid for the vehicle is not on the title.
  • A power of attorney, if you register by mail. This authorizes the County Assessor to sign the title for you.

What are the fees for registering my new vehicle?

Registration fees vary by county. You should call your local Idaho County Assessor's office for specific information regarding fees.

If I find the car I want to buy outside the United States, will it be difficult to bring into the country?

The first issue to resolve is whether or not the vehicle was manufactured in compliance with federal standards set forth in the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). This is typically displayed by a label attached to the vehicle by the original manufacturer.

Vehicles manufactured to conform to FMVSS regulations with the corresponding label attached do not need to obtain prior approval from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) before importation.

For a vehicle other than a motorcycle or a trailer, the label would be attached on the driver side to the hinge pillar, the door latch post, or the door edge that meets the door latch post.

Motorcycles typically have the label signifying compliance attached to a permanent part of the bike around where the steering post meets the handlebars.

A trailer should have the label attached to the front half of the vehicle on its left side.

If you cannot find the label showing that the vehicle conforms to FMVSS regulations, contact the manufacturer.

The NHTSA does an excellent job of explaining the rules of importation.

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