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Buying or Selling a Used Vehicle? Be Prepared and Be Safe

Article audio is made possible by CAST11 Prescott Podcast Network. A Talking Glass Media production.

Prescott – Are you in the market for a new-to-you car? Thinking of selling your vehicle in a private-party sale?

Whether you’re a prospective buyer or a seller – or both – the Arizona Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Division wants consumers to know steps they can take to protect themselves when selling or purchasing a used vehicle.

First, go to and activate your AZ MVD Now account. Everything needed to complete a typical private-party sale of a vehicle can be completed at, even the transfer of a vehicle title via the convenient eTitle Transfer. Every person with an Arizona-issued driver license or vehicle registered in Arizona already has an account and more than 1.5 million accounts have been activated since launched last spring.

If you’re a buyer, you’ll want to ensure that there are no surprises in the vehicle’s history. An unscrupulous seller might tamper with the odometer, sell a stolen vehicle, attempt to cover up water or collision damage that wasn’t properly repaired, or not disclose a lien. ADOT offers a number of tools customers can use to gather information about a vehicle they’re interested in purchasing.

While buyers do most of their leg-work prior to purchase, the work for sellers in a private-party transaction comes after a price has been agreed upon. After receiving payment, a seller should sign-in to their account at and complete a “sold notice.” There is no cost to complete a sold notice and it can protect the seller if the car sold is involved in a crash or crime, is ticketed, or becomes abandoned, which carries a fine.

Transferring the title comes next and some titles can be transferred at via eTitle Transfer, saving a trip to an MVD office. A seller should be aware that if their vehicle was titled and owned in another state prior to moving to Arizona, it’s probable that the Arizona MVD will not have a copy of the vehicle title because it didn’t issue the title. In this case, the seller can sign the back of the title and have the signature notarized.

Before giving the car to the buyer, remove the license plate. The seller might be eligible to receive credit for registration fees previously paid on the vehicle, too.

Buying and selling a vehicle is a big purchase. If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Take your time and consult this car-buying checklist to protect yourself.

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