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· Registered
1 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have found a car that I would like to buy, but it is about 2,000 miles away. I've been looking for shipping quotes, but I'm not sure how to go about setting up payment, title transfer, ect without leaving myself vulnerable. The car is for sale by an individual, not on ebay or any site like that. Can anyone help?


· Premium Member
2008 Highlander Base
38,639 Posts
Some steps for you to consider:

Arrange for an independent inspection before making the trip. Find an unbiased third-party auto mechanic in the area with no connection to your seller. Some nationwide companies, such as Carchex, contract with local mechanics to provide pre-purchase inspections for a fee. Use online Yellow Pages and other resources to directly deal with a mechanic in the area. Have the overall cosmetic and mechanical condition of the vehicle inspected to make sure it is a good buy. No used vehicle is perfect, but it is better to know about any defects beforehand; you can use them as a negotiation tool and to help you weed out problem vehicles.

Negotiate and agree upon a final price and terms before making the trip. Do as much of this over the phone or via fax. To protect yourself I'd look into drawing up a bill of sale that is signed by both you and the seller, and notarized as well. Depending on price I'd pay via USPS Money Order, so the weight of the U.S. government is behind you in case of any fraud. There may be a limit to have much you can pay via money order, so you'll have to look into that.

Contact your local motor vehicle office to determine the best way to handle your tax, title and license. Although you will be purchasing the car out of state, it still must be registered in your jurisdiction. Find out if any special documentation is needed to register a vehicle from out of state. If you are financing the vehicle, you need to make sure the seller or bank has the information for registering a vehicle in your state. Verify the correct sales tax is being paid. If not, you could be penalized, not the seller.

Make arrangements to pick up or take delivery of the vehicle. Personally I'd make the trip across country to take a test drive of the vehicle, even if you have ordered an independent mechanical inspection. Make sure you are satisfied with it before signing paperwork and taking delivery. If you are trading your vehicle, you can probably make the trip alone. If not, someone will have to come with you to drive one of the cars back. Having a vehicle shipped to you is possible, but it's not usually recommended to buy a used vehicle completely sight unseen.

Hope that helps.

· Moderator
11,758 Posts
Too add, there are some online companies that will test drive the vehicle for you and provide details of what they found out, either via a printout and/or e-mail. They can also offer you advice on if the car is a good purchase or not. If you can't be physically there, if the car checks out and you want it, make sure that if you use a shipping service, that all paperwork pertaining to the car (title, etc) is either in the car or is in the possession of the driver. If you also have a choice of vehicle try to get a covered flatbed towing vehicle. Some shippers have many cars on their trucks for delivery sort of what dealerships use to get their used cars from out of state. Also, check to see if FedEx and/or UPS offer vehicle shipping. Good luck

· Toyota Fanboy
4,499 Posts
I wouldnt buy a vehicle unless I could see it in person and drive it (or at least have someone I trust do that for me). Its just too risky.
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