Buying a used car out of state can be beneficial in many cases, but there are some pitfalls to watch out for, too. SUVs remain the most popular type of vehicle to buy used in much of the country, though current shortages are making selection thin in some areas.

Buying a Car From Another State

Yes, it's possible to buy a car from out of state, but should you? With vehicles getting harder to find due to the ongoing chip shortage, looking for a make or model that's less popular in a nearby state could yield a better selection.

In some cases, it may save you money to purchase a car in a different state than the one you live in. Many states in the same region have similar vehicle pricing, so you may have to widen your search to really find a good deal in another state.

Mind the Rules When Buying Out-of-State

Should I Buy a Used Car Out of State?Car buying and financing regulations also vary between states. Some states charge vehicle tax, others don't. Additionally, some states will handle all the taxes for you and forward the appropriate taxes to your home state, others won't.

Your used car has to comply with the regulations in your home state, not the state you're purchasing in. This is important for factors such as sales tax, and emissions standards.

If you think purchasing a cheap used car in Oregon will save you money because there is no vehicle sales tax, but you're not a resident of the state, think again. Oregon is one of only five states that don't have a vehicle sales tax, the others are Alaska, Montana, Delaware, and New Hampshire.

Vehicle sales tax is paid by the state you live in, or by the state where the car is being registered. So, if you buy a car in Oregon, but live in California, you're going to have to pay the sales tax where you're registering the car (typically between 7.25% and 10.75% depending on your county).

ACE TIP: The vehicle you purchase must meet the emissions standards for the state it's registered in. (California notoriously has the strictest emission standards in the country, though tougher standards are becoming more widespread.)

Most and Least Expensive States to Buy a Used Car

A recent study from iSeeCars looked at 8 million used auto buying experiences between February and July 2021, to find the most popular vehicles and the average cost of buying a used car across America. The average price of a used car sits at around $24,710 according to their data.

The five states with the lowest average cost of a used car are:

  • Indiana – $21,961 (11.1% below the national average cost)
  • Ohio – $22,244
  • Connecticut – $22,528
  • Virginia – $22,618
  • Kentucky – $22,995

If you're looking to purchase a used car but your credit isn't in tiptop shape, you can expect to pay on the higher end of average and should know that lower credit scores yield higher interest rates. You don't have to despair if you're in a tough credit situation, though, because auto financing may still be possible with our guidance.

We Want To Help

At Auto Credit Express, we know how hard it can be to find the financing you're looking for when you have bad credit. We've gathered a coast-to-coast network of special finance dealerships that are signed up with subprime lenders. These lenders work with borrowers in many situations and look beyond your credit score to get you qualified for an auto loan.

If you're ready to stop searching and start finding, fill out our fast, free, no-obligation car loan request form, and we'll get to work matching you to a dealer in your area.