Buying and selling a vehicle in Illinois is an easy task. However, there are many details involved that might give you headache if you are new to vehicles. If you are buying or selling your car through a dealership, the dealer will handle all the paperwork required to transfer the title or register the vehicle. If you are dealing with a private dealer, you will be responsible for handling paperwork by yourself.

Transferring Ownership

Sellers must:

  • Provide the buyer with original title signed over to the buyer at the time of sale or vehicle delivery.
  • The seller also need to remove the license plates from the vehicle after the sale.

Buyers must:

  • Register the vehicle within 20 days from the purchase date at the Secretary of State office.
  • Title the vehicle in their name within 20 days from the purchase date.

Used Car Buyers Beware

If you are a buyer in Illinois, you should be vigilant not to purchase a vehicle with a salvage title. There are many unscrupulous dealers who ‘clean’ salvage titles for vehicles that had been damaged by floodwaters or accidents and then sell them to ignorant buyers. You may be a victim of such vehicles. To avoid those vehicles, examine the used car you plan to purchase carefully. You can hire a qualified mechanic to inspect the vehicle for you. However, the best way is to order the vehicle

Rebuilt Cars

If the title certificate of the vehicle is labeled “rebuilt”, this doesn’t mean that the car was repaired. It means that the vehicle has been purchased back out of salvage status by a licensed rebuilder. Cars that fall under this category had been damaged and declared a total loss by car insurance companies. These types of cars are normally sold to scarp companies or licensed rebuilders. In some cases, you can get a good deal if you buy a rebuilt vehicle. However, the seller must inform you about its status.

Vehicle History Reports

It is advised to order a Vehicle History Report of the used vehicle you are planning to purchase. A vehicle history report contains detailed information about the vehicle’s damage history, accident history, repair history, the VIN, odometer reading and other useful information. This information can help you make an informed decision about the used vehicle before you purchase it.

Buying Tips

If you have any question, problem or dispute about car selling or buying, you can channel them to the Illinois Secretary of State Police. You can also purchase the Illinois Vehicle Buying and Selling pamphlet. This is a guide that contains important tips for buyers and a list of Secretary of State Police district offices.

Buying or Selling Without a Title

A vehicle title is needed before completing a sale. If the title is missing, ask the seller to apply for a duplicate copy and sign it over to you. To do so, they will need:

  • To fill out Form VSD 190 (Application for Vehicle Transaction). This form is available at your local Secretary of State office.
  • Check the box for duplicate title.
  • Write in your signature, the vehicle’s VIN and the correct odometer reading.

Submit the above package to: Secretary of State’s Office Vehicle Records Processing Division 501 S. 2nd St, Room 424 Springfield, Illinois 62756 Note: Out-of-state residents in Illinois cannot apply for a duplicate title.

Buying or Selling Without Registration

Before you sell your vehicle in Illinois, you should verify with the Secretary of State office that you have cleared all fees and fines regarding your vehicle registration. If your vehicle’s registration is expired, you will need to renew its registration before selling it to the new owner. After transferring ownership to the new buyer, you will not be responsible for parking tickets and citations. For more information, you can call the Secretary of State office at (800) 252-8980.

Lemon Law

Illinois State has a Lemon Law that protects buyers from defective vehicles they may purchase. So if you have purchased a lemon, the law mandates the dealer or manufacturer to give you a replacement vehicle or your refund.