What Do You Get From a Car Dealership After Buying a Car?

Get your paperwork in order before you leave the dealership to speed up registration.
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Buying a car is an exciting step for couples, but the sheer amount of paperwork involved in purchasing and financing a car is often overwhelming. In addition to your financing paperwork, the car dealership must provide you with specific documents after you purchase the vehicle. You need this paperwork to properly register and tag your vehicle in your state of residence.


The dealership provides you with the title to the vehicle if you purchase the vehicle outright. The title proves you own the vehicle and you must take it with you to the state agency responsible for registering vehicles; that agency will sign the document over to you, and you, too, must sign it. The title must include your signatures and the odometer reading for the vehicle when you purchased it. The dealership prepares this document for you and signs it over to you.

Young couples financing their vehicle may not get the title when they leave the dealership. This practice depends on your state of residence. Some states require dealers to automatically send the title to the state agency; other states allow you to surrender the title when you register your vehicle. You get the title back when you provide the lien release for your vehicle.

Bill of Sale

Think of the bill of sale as the receipt for the vehicle. It shows the purchase price, the seller's name, the buyer's name and any terms related to the sale. You must provide this document when you register your vehicle. The state agency calculates your sales tax (if applicable) using this document.

Other Forms

Depending on your state of residence, you may need additional documentation from the dealership. Some states require an odometer and damage disclosure statement to register your vehicle. Some car financing companies allow you to finance the sales tax on the vehicle into the total cost of the loan. You'll need documentation from the dealership financing agent that you paid the sales tax. Present this document when you register your vehicle to prove you paid taxes on the sale.

Temporary Tags

Most dealerships provide temporary 30-day tags to new vehicles. This grace period allows you to get your paperwork in order before registering your vehicle with your state of residence. In addition to the physical tag, the dealership provides a temporary 30-day registration paper to keep with your insurance documents and prove ownership in case you are pulled over by the police.

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