Registering a Pre-owned Car in Illinois, US

NOV 11 2015

Have you bought a used car, if not then read my experience on buying a pre-owned car first. I am sure you will get lot of tips that will help you while going through the process.

Once you paid the car seller then you can drive it to your home but you need to complete few formalities before you can legally own it. Here is the complete guide to register, pay tax, buy number plate, change title, get city sticker. You must be asking these questions to yourself.

  1. What are the documents I should collect from the car owner?
  2. Should I get the old license plate from the owner?
  3. When should I buy insurance for the car?
  4. Where should I go for registering my car?
  5. How much is the sales tax of my pre-owned car?
  6. How should I change the title? How much is the fees for changing a car title?
  7. How much is a new a license plate?
  8. Cost of county sticker?
  9. What else I need for parking on street?

1. What you need to collect from the previous owner?

  • You need to get the signed title, all the keys with your car.
  • Make a sales deed.
  • Manuals and warranties. Sometimes the owner needs to transfer the warranty to the new owner so ask him to do the same.
  • You might need password or keys to access various features of the vehicles like Bluetooth or GPS, so collect them.
  • Any service records that he has should be transferred for future reference.

2. Should you get the old license plate?

License plate belongs to the previous owner so more likely he won't give that to you. Even if he gives, it is not good to drive the car on his plates because if you break the rules then he might get the tickets. You can drive the car with no plates but keep a note on the rear windshield like "recently purchased the car". It is also not legal to drive a car with no license plates so you need to be careful.

3. Best time to buy the insurance for recently purchased car

If you plan to drive the car then immediately buy the insurance from a reputed and reliable company. There are few websites that compare and let you know the best price and the coverages. You can also ask your friends, colleagues, relatives for suggestions. It is mentioned on the DMV site that you need to have insurance by the time you go for registration but I found it otherwise. You can still get your vehicle registered before getting it insured but I prefer and advise to get it insured as soon as possible.

4. Where to register your car?

You can register it at your local SOS office or at the currency exchange. I prefer to do it at the SOS office as you will get the license plate immediately whereas the currency exchange will give you a temporary plate and ask you to come back for the original. People said it can take up to 3 months to get the original license plates. DMV will cost less as well.

5. Sales tax for your car

I paid $440 as the tax but I am sure they have a price chart for all the make and models that costs less than $15,000. It doesn't matter for how much you buy it but you will pay according to the government chart. The tax in Chicago downtown is more than the suburbs like cook county. This is what I was informed by the currency exchange guy.

6. You need to get a new title to on your name, how much it costs?

To get a new title you need to pay $95. You can pay through cash, check or money order. New title will come to your address in 2-3 weeks.

7. Cost of new License Plate

If you are not transferring your existing license plate number to the new car then you will have to buy a new one. Do you want a special license plate or a standard one? If you want a regular plate then it will cost you $101.

8. How much is the cook county sticker?

It costs $80 if you buy it online or from the SOS office. City stickers are also available at currency exchange but it will cost you around $88. They will also take around a week to get a sticker for you. They will give the receipt to put it on your windshield and ask you to collect the sticker after a week.

9. What you need more to park your vehicle?

It depends on place where you live. Some places need to put more stickers on your windshield to park your car on street. Some of the apartments/properties charge to park cars inside their boundary. Some allow for 1 car parking and for extra parking spots you need to pay.

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