There are many unscrupulous dealers in Montana, who are always ready to take your hard-earned money. To protect yourself from these dealers, Montana’s Motor Vehicle Division suggests that you take the following steps:

  • Make sure you have the title and registration receipt from the seller. If you are purchasing a new car, the dealer will handle the paperwork needed for vehicle registration and titling on your behalf. A copy of your Bill of Sale (Form MV24) is not mandatory, but it is advised that you obtain it.
  • The vehicle's title must be signed by all registered owners.
  • All the signatures on the back of the title should be notarized.
  • Make sure the seller has included the odometer reading on the back of the title or on a separate document.
  • Make sure all active liens of the vehicle have been released.
  • You also need to submit a copy of the vehicle's last registration receipt when registering your car.
  • Double check the VIN on the car to ensure it matches the one on the title. Don’t purchase if the VIN on the car and the one on the title are not matching.
  • After collecting all the paperwork, fees and taxes, you can then proceed to title and register your car at the country treasurer's office.

Buyer’s protection

The excitement of purchasing a vehicle comes in hand with the fear of becoming a victim of defective vehicles. Fortunately, the state of Montana has a lemon law that protects buyers from defective vehicles. If you have purchased a lemon, the law mandates the manufacturer or dealer from whom you bought that vehicle, to give you a replacement vehicle or a refund. This does not mean that you are completely immune from becoming a victim of bad deals. Before you decide to visit your dealer, arm yourself with enough information on what you want in terms of vehicle price, safety and reliability. The more information you know, the better your chances of getting the best deal.

Buying or Selling a Vehicle without a Registration

In order to register a car without registration papers, you will need to provide the following:

  • Form MV10 (An Application for Break/Bond Title). The surety bond part only applies to dealers.
  • A completed Form MV20 (Vehicle Identification Number Inspection Certificate).
  • Any proof of vehicle ownership such as a canceled check, bill of sale or copy of your registration certificate.
  • Payment of all applicable fees.

You will need to take all the above forms and applicable fees to your local county treasurer’s office.

Buying or Selling a Vehicle without a Title

A vehicle title is needed before completing a sale. If the title is missing, apply for a duplicate copy and sign it over to the buyer. To do so, you will need to submit Form MV7 (Application for Replacement Certificate of Title). If you have bought a vehicle but the seller has failed to provide you with the title, you can apply for a bonded title for that vehicle. To do so, you will need to submit:

  • Form MV10 (Application of Break/Bond Title). The surety bond part only applies to dealers.
  • Form MV20 (Vehicle Number Inspection Certificate).
  • Any proof of vehicle ownership such as a canceled check, bill of sale or copy of your registration certificate.

Mail the entire package to the address below: Title and Registration Bureau Motor Vehicle Division Montana Department of Justice 1003 Buckskin Drive Deer Lodge, MT 59722

Car Buying Tips

  • Bear in mind that highly priced vehicles do not translate to safety or reliability of the vehicle.
  • Order the vehicle history report of the car you are purchasing. This report contains detailed information about the vehicle accident history, damage and repair history, odometer readings and VIN.
  • If you are purchasing in installments, be sure that you can afford the monthly installments.
  • Before purchasing a vehicle, have it inspected by a qualified mechanic.
  • If you are purchasing a used car from a dealer, request the name and address of the previous owner.
  • Make sure the VIN on the vehicle you are purchasing matches the one on the title.
  • Insist on agreement contact made in writing.
  • The best deals for new cars usually occur between the months of July through October. This is the period when dealers are desperately trying to create new space for new models. You can also get a good deal during late December, when salesmen are desperately trying to reach their target of the year.
  • Never sign a blank financial form.
  • Make sure all contracts are in written.