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Can Buying Out-of-State Used Cars Save You Money?
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Can Buying Out-of-State Used Cars Save You Money?

Most people call this a trick. An innovative strategy to find cheap used cars and also save money on taxes. Think about it! If you can buy a used car from another state where the sales tax is lower than South Carolina and if you can find a private seller who happens to own the model you want in that other state, you can negotiate and save a good chunk of money as compared to buying that same car in your resident state. Sounds like a good deal?

Well, let’s not jump to quick conclusions. Saving taxes is just one part of the story (and it is not entirely true). The other part where the bureaucracy of the DMV comes in does not paint a pretty picture. In the end, buying used cars in Greenville will make a lot of sense.

The 3 demons of buying out-of-state cars

First, you will have to check whether the used car that you are buying qualifies for the emission requirements that are set in South Carolina. Most manufactures today make cars as per the CARB guidelines that are applicable in all 50 states but some older models might not carry those standards. You cannot randomly buy a car from the latter group and drive it into South Carolina. You will have to get the vehicle tested, match it to SC guidelines, and then move to step 2. This is a hassle in itself.

Second, you will have to apply for temporary registration with the DMV to be able to drive your purchased car back to South Carolina. And such a registration comes with an expiry date. Upon approval, you must arrive in South Carolina and get the vehicle registered with the local DMV within the mentioned time frame. Or, your car will be rendered unregistered and you will end up on the wrong side of the law. Additionally, to apply for temporary registration, you will have to get the brake lights, seat belts, and a host of other parts checked. This might cost you both time and money.

Lastly, say you checked the above two boxes and just drove back with your dream model among all used Chevrolet cars. The Suburban SUV you got is looking fine in your garage and the time has come to get it registered. This is where you have to pay taxes, in South Carolina, not in the state where you bought the car. And this is when you realize that all your hard work was for nothing as the trick you thought worked is actually a deception.

Buy from your own state

And save yourself the hassle. If you want to save on taxes, visit the top buy here pay here in Greenville, SC, pick a quality car at a low price, and pay reduced taxes as the percentage is calculated on the amount you pay to buy the car. Plus, the dealership will take care of the DMV paperwork. You will remain free of the hassles. The reasons to buy used cars in South Carolina outweigh out-of-state vehicles any day.


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