Buying and Selling FAQs in Texas

One of my relatives in another state wants to sell me a car. If I buy it, how do I get a Texas tag for it?

Once you buy it and bring it back to Texas, you'll need to get the vehicle inspected, and then you'll need to register and title it. Depending on where you live, you may be required to get two inspections―a safety inspection and possibly an emissions inspection.

I saw a cool car in an auto magazine, but it's in another country. How do I buy one and bring it to Texas?

First, explore the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website for all the information you need about importing a vehicle. Then, check with your county tax office for information specific to your town.

I'm ready to buy my first car, but don't know how to get started. Can you help?

Our Buying and Selling Guide can help. You'll want to do lots of research on the different makes and models available to fit your budget, so check out websites like,,, and Kelley Blue Book to explore all of your options.

You'll also want to check out our pages on registering and titling vehicles, and maybe even our license plate page if you want a special tag for your new set of wheels.

You're going to need to budget for a lot more than just the asking price. When you buy a new car, you'll typically be responsible for:

  • Buying a car insurance policy.
  • Paying registration fees.
  • Paying a title transfer fee.
  • Paying for a vehicle inspection and/or emissions test.
  • Paying a license plate fee.

Additionally, if the car you want is used, you should consider buying a vehicle history report/VIN check. These reports can reveal major damages that the vehicle's owner has neglected to share with you and save you from unexpected repair costs after you buy the car. For more information, please visit our Vehicle History Reports page.

How much will the registration fees cost me for a new car?

The fees for passenger cars are determined by the make and year of your vehicle; fees for pickups are determined by weight. The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) provides a information by vehicle type to help you make calculations.

I'm selling my car. Do I keep the tags?

Keep the plates and transfer them to another vehicle under your name. The other vehicle must be of the same type. You can't, for example, transfer a motorcycle plate to a car.

License plates that need to be replaced due to fading reflectivity or unreadability cannot be transferred. For more information, please contact the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

I want to buy a hybrid car, but they're expensive. Is there any way to qualify for a tax credit?

The tax credit offer for Hybrids ended December 31, 2010 but you can still get a credit for an electric vehicle (EV). In addition to tax credits, think about all the money you'll save at (or not at) the gas pump!

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