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     If you plan to own or drive a car in New Jersey, you'll want to pay close attention to some requirements of the DMV.  Right off the bat, you'll want to be sure to register and insure your vehicle properly.  You'll also want to display your license plates correctly, have your vehicle inspected as needed, and maintain your own license to drive.  The NJ DMV site has lots of info to help you comply with their regulations.

     Even so, you'll want to pay special attention to a couple of practical points they may not stress, but that will be important to you.  First, in buying a used car, be sure to look and see if the vehicle has a current inspection sticker.  You may remember that not that long ago a buyer had to have a car inspected shortly after registration.  That is no longer the case.  Buyers now have the option of having their car inspected within 14 days of registration, or accepting the remaining time left on a current inspection sticker.

     Since any sticker is good for at least two years, and a new car sticker is good for four years, stickers on used cars quite often have a significant amount of time left prior to their expiration.

     The other important points I'd like to stress have to do with selling a car.  The first relates to license plates.  If you transfer plates to another vehicle, there is no problem.  If you don't transfer the plates, you must surrender them to the DMV and obtain a receipt.  This receipt must be maintained in a safe place--apparently forever!  Basically, you'll be expected to have proof of their surrender at ANY time in the future.

     In the same vein, if your plates are stolen, you are obligated to report it to the police, and to keep a copy of the report in your records indefinitely.

     The final point I'll stress on behalf of the DMV is the need to handle the title properly.  Make sure to record the correct mileage and the new owner's name on the title at the time you sell the car.  It might be a good idea to maintain a photocopy of that, as well as the buyer's driver's license. If you don't, and there is any unforeseen difficulty or illegal activity with the car, you may hard pressed to prove you are not responsible.  

     Another safe approach to a private sale is to hand over the title when your buyer pays you, but to hold on to the keys until they return and show you a new title in their name!

     Find more info on our selling your car page.



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