How to Trade Cars

When considering how to trade cars, it's important to look up the laws in your state.  In some states, even with no money transfer involved, it can still cost you some money.

  1. Find a good trade.  People trade cars for different reasons.  Maybe you need a larger vehicle because of a new addition to the family, or maybe the diesel bill for your truck is just getting too astronomical.  If you're lucky, someone out there with a vehicle you want, will want your car too.  Make sure that the car is of equal value to yours, unless you plan a trade plus cash exchange.  Both parties will want to test drive each other's cars.  Ask important questions, like if it's been maintained well or ever been in an accident.  Also check the title and make sure it's clear.  Find out if any money is still owed on the vehicle.
  2.  Sign off on the titles.  After agreeing on trading cars, both parties will have to sign off on the titles and fill out the buyer's section of the title of the car they are getting.  It's also a good idea to have a written out agreement, signed by both parties, and each should retain a copy of this agreement.
  3. Check your state laws regarding registering, taxes and other fees.  Now you must check what laws will apply to yourself.  Depending on the state you will probably have to pay a tax when you register the vehicle, even though the car is technically a gift if no money changes hands.  You may or may not have to pay other fees, such as a smog certificate.  There is also a title transfer fee, and depending on the situation, you may need to purchase a new license plate.  If money does change hands, then you will need to pay taxes on that as well. 

Once all the fees are paid off, you've got yourself a new toy!

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