Buying a car in TX when I live in NC - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-20-2016, 10:17 PM Thread Starter
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Buying a car in TX when I live in NC

Okay, obviously my search terminology is wrong because I just don't find anything useful. I'm looking at maybe buying a car in Texas. I would fly out there, buy it and drive it back to NC.

But what needs to be done in regards to registration? Plates? I can get a faxed insurance card from my insurance company, no problem. But am I going to need to bring a temp tag with me from NC? Or do I go to the Texas DMV and get a temp tag?

Help a guy out here.
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-20-2016, 10:24 PM
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I believe all you need to do is insure the vehicle. You can register it with the DMV when you get back to SC. Plates should be a non-issue since it is already registered and has plates in/from TX. Just make sure you get a signed sales receipt from the owner in case of an issue.

I also recommend investing in a Escort 9500ix before your road trip as I'm certain you'll want to stretch the legs of that new purchase!

Last edited by 1994 E420; 08-20-2016 at 10:47 PM.
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-21-2016, 06:58 AM
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I have had all of my out of state car purchases transported to me with the exception of one. I bought a Mercedes in South Carolina years ago, flew down, and drove it back to Michigan. I went to the South Carolina DMV and purchased in-transit plates. I would check the Texas DMV. You do not want to get stopped with no plates between Texas and your home.

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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-21-2016, 08:56 AM
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Texas allows you to print a 30 day permit if you have valid insurance that will allow you to legally drive the car while in transit. That said, I don't think anyone will give a crap if you drive an unregistered car across x number of states provided that you're insured and don't drive like a lunatic.

You'll need to get a title and bill of sale from the seller and probably check NC requirements for titling a car purchased from out of state. I suspect that you'll have to get a valid inspection once you get there.

Best of luck.
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-21-2016, 10:19 AM
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I think I hold the forum (if not more) long-distance purchase record.
Average pickup distance on last 10 cars is somewhere in 2600 miles.
Lot of states require the seller holds the plates, so I drove tens of thousands miles with no plates. Got pulled over only once, when showing bill of sale was sufficient.
Later to avoid the hassle, I would tape copy of BOS on the rear window.
One time I went to local DMV for temporary tags and the 3 hr spend in waiting line did not make my day. Still advisable if the seller can't present clear title.
It is not buyer problem to make sure the procedure is observed. Worse come to worse, if I don't have clear title in CA, the state will give me 2 months tag for the time they investigate.
Have fun driving home. I often kill the time by learning cluster displays without reading the manual. That can take couple of hr.
Also beware that state "trip permits" are valid only in issuing state. Meaning legally you should get one for each state you drive.
Lot of insurance have automatic new car coverage, giving you 10 or more days to report.
So having few days I call them for quote and sometimes I start the coverage, sometimes I take policy number from my other vehicle to present if needed.
One trick on doing it later is that when you drive 2000 miles home and report the vehicle later, you start with higher mileage, what lowers your average for next year.


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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-21-2016, 11:28 AM
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Are you buying from an individual or from a dealer? Most likely from an indvidual if it's the one in Houston.

If you bought from a dealer, you'd get 60 day temp tags and you'd be good to go. A bit different buying from an individual, especially if they decide to keep the plates. Depending on how comfortable you feel driving without plates, of course. Or, as suggested already, you could get a 30 day temp tag from the local county tax office in Texas. Only thing you need is proof of insurance for that particular vehicle and $25 cash.

If he doesn't care about the plates (or you can convince him to leave them on and return them to him once you get home), you are good to go, just make sure you have the title, bill of sale and insurance in case you get stopped along the way.

I've usually done the temp tag method when I've picked up something from another state. A couple of times I've just brought some old plates with me and slapped them on. Never had an issue with any method. Other than once in Louisiana on the way from Florida to Texas.

Most important thing is to have your paperwork in order.

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Last edited by TexFinn; 08-21-2016 at 12:03 PM.
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-21-2016, 11:43 AM Thread Starter
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Definitely a private sale. And I appreciate all the information. I am also going to look at transport for the car. Looks like it is easy to get quotes, but Lord knows who is reliable and who is not.

All this is moot if I am unable to buy the car.
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-21-2016, 02:36 PM
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I used transport only once and this is going to be last time.
I was buying beater MB for my son, so did not have high expectation, but I barely made the 15 miles from the terminal to my house.
When you fly with cash in hand, even if the seller hid some issues, you can negotiate reimbursement.
I did get dealers temporary plates in Texas, but not sure if you can get the same personally from the office. Some states don't have temporary registrations and to re-register the car in TX to your name, you might have to pay sale tax on the spot.
Bottom line, even the law might require trip tags, chances that State Patrol will make an issue after seeing legal BOS is minimal.

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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-21-2016, 02:44 PM
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Worst case, use a paper plate and affix it to your car...kinda like when you buy a car from dealer, they put a paper plate on your car?

Most cops ignore that.

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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-21-2016, 02:52 PM
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Putting fake plate is what can get you into real troubles

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