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Hawaii Buying a Vehicle

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Obtaining a Title and Registration For a Vehicle Bought from a Car Dealership

If you buy a vehicle from a dealership in Hawaii, the dealer usually takes care of processing the purchase. This includes sending in the information needed to transfer the title into your name after the vehicle is paid off, covering registration fees and making sure all other payments are made. Keep in mind that buying a vehicle in Hawaii may be more expensive than if you purchase it on the mainland and then have it sent to Hawaii. If you buy a vehicle from outside of the state, you will need to complete an Application for Registration and take it to your local county office. You will also need:
  • An out-of-state title signed over to you
  • An out-of-state certificate of registration
  • A Hawaii safety inspection certificate
  • Proof of use tax in the previous state
  • Form G-27, Motor Vehicle Use Tax Certification
  • Receipts for the date when your vehicle arrived in the state

Obtaining a Title and Registration For a Vehicle Bought from a Private Party

If you buy a vehicle from a private party, there is much more involved in the purchase. To purchase a vehicle from another person in Hawaii, you need to:
  • Get a bill of sale to prove the purchase
  • Register the vehicle at the same time as taking a valid title, safety inspection and current registration to the local county office
  • Pay any fees, such as back taxes or registration fees
  • Pay the transfer fee.
The seller needs to send in a Notice of Transfer Form.

Filling Out The Title

On the title, you need to fill out your name on the “new owner” section. You should also have the seller fill in their name and date on the seller lines. For joint owners, both need to sign the title to sign it over to you. You should fill in the odometer reading if the seller has not. You should also get the current certificate of registration from the owner. Then, either you or they should be sure to complete the safety inspection and keep that paperwork with the rest.

Registering the Purchased Vehicle

You have to register a vehicle before driving in Hawaii. You need to register it in the county where you live. Register your vehicle within 30 days of buying it. There is a $5 vehicle transfer fee (or $20 in Maui), but these fees may vary. Speak with your local DMV to get the updated cost of the vehicle transfer. There are also registration renewal fees, but your local county office will need to calculate those for you at the time of registration.

Submitting Payment

A title transfer fee isn’t very expensive in most areas in Hawaii. In Hawaii County, the transfer fee is just $5 when completed within 30 days. In Maui, the fee is $20 within 30 days or $50 after 30 days. In Honolulu and Kauai, you need to call to get the current fee structure.

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Last Verified:
Aug 16, 2022