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Illinois Used Cars - Buying a Used Car in Illinois

title vehicle process office

Buying a used car in Illinois is a big step and a big investment. If you are buying a used car in Illinois for the first time because it is your first car or because you are new to the state, it is to your benefit to understand the process and the regulations that are involved. Every state has their unique processes and laws that can be a disadvantage to you if you do not know or follow them.

You have several options for buying a used car in Illinois. You can buy a used car from a new car dealership that also sells used cars, a used car dealership, an auction, or a private seller. The process will be a little different depending on where you get the used car. If you are buying from a dealership, they will have extra paperwork if the form of verifications, disclosures, and documents of consent. If you are financing the vehicle, there will be additional financing paperwork that must be signed. If you are buying a used car in Illinois from a private seller, the documentation that must be completed is minimal, but you are responsible for completing it correctly. In many cases, if you are buying the car at a dealership, the dealer is responsible for completing the sale correctly.

Once you have paid for a used car in Illinois, you must go through the process of transfer of ownership. The simplified version of transferring ownership for a used car in Illinois is done through a title transfer. Before you buy the car, you want to make sure that title is free and clear with no existing lien holders. Do not buy a car with a title that reports a lien. Also, never buy a vehicle without a title. This is illegal in Illinois and it may leave you without any ownership rights. The seller must sign, date, and report the mileage on the title before it is given to you. Always verify the mileage is correct. You will then sign and date the title in front of the seller.

After the transaction information has been completed on the title, you may depart with the vehicle and title. You should immediately proceed to a Secretary of State office to complete the transfer of title by filling out form VSD-190. You will be given this form at the office. You must also complete form RUT-50 for tax purposes. You will be asked to pay the appropriate use tax and a $65 title fee to complete the process.

When you have transferred the title, you have still not completed the process of buying a used car in Illinois. While you are at the Secretary of State (SOS) office, you must also register the vehicle. You may transfer an existing license plate to your vehicle or you may apply for a new plate. You will be required to pay the registration fees at this time. After affixing your plate and sticker or a temporary plate, you are legal to drive. Your new title will be mailed to you.

Instead of applying for your title transfer and registration at an SOS office, you also have the option of completing your transaction for a used car in Illinois by mail. You can request the necessary forms, or if you have the necessary forms, you can complete them and mail them back at this address:

Office of the Secretary of State – Illinois
Vehicle Records Processing
501 South 2nd Street, Rm 424
Springfield, IL 62756-6666

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