Steps To Buying A Car In Hawaii

Steps To Buying A Car In Hawaii

Vehicle purchases are among the largest transactions in Hawaii, which means they might result in a significant sales tax payment. This article discusses the most essential components of the Hawaii sales tax concerning automobile purchases. The taxation of leases and rentals applies to rented or leased cars.

Hawaii collects 4.712% state sales tax on all automobile purchases in Honolulu County (Oahu Island). It should be mentioned that the “highest visible pass-on rate” is 4.166%. This is the legal rate at which firms can raise their prices to cover government taxes. Aside from taxes, automobile purchases in Hawaii may be subject to other expenses such as registration, title, and plate fees.

  • Many dealerships will accept your old vehicle in exchange for a credit against the purchase price of a new one. For example, you may trade in your old vehicle and obtain a $5,000 credit on the purchase price of a new vehicle worth $10,000, reducing your out-of-pocket expense to $5,000.
  • In Hawaii, the sales tax is applied to the whole purchase price of the car, regardless of trade-ins. As a result, even if your trade-in is worth $5,000, the taxable price of your new car will remain at $10,000.
  • To stimulate sales, many dealers give financial incentives or manufacturer rebates on the sticker price of a car. For example, if a $1,000 cash refund is provided on a $10,000 automobile, the buyer’s out-of-pocket expenditure is $9,000.
  • Hawaii taxes car purchases before discounts or incentives are applied to the price, thus the customer will pay taxes on the vehicle as if it cost the full $10,000.

It doesn’t take long to complete a Hawaii automobile registration, but patience is required. To register your automobile or truck in Hawaii, you must complete and submit the appropriate documents based on the vehicle type and location. Fees will vary based on your registration requirements.

Getting your car registered is required, whether you bought it new or used, from a private seller or a dealer. Driving without registration is a severe infraction that can result in fines and penalties, such as a suspended or revoked license!

When relocating across counties, you will also need to register.

Your primary responsibilities include:

  • Identification proof
  • Application for Registration/Title
  • Ownership documentation
  • Proof of automobile insurance
  • Paying taxes and fees

… in addition to any necessary vehicle testing and disclosures.

You will register your car at a motor vehicle registration office operated by the Hawaii Department of Transportation. Most of the time, you must complete it within 30 days of acquiring ownership or migrating to the state.

Buying a Car in Hawaii and Registration Process

Before registering your car in Hawaii, you must do or have the following:

  • Vehicle examination
  • Auto insurance

Whether you’re relocating to the state, visiting and requiring a temporary title, or selling through a dealership or private sale, you’ll need to use one of the registration options listed below.

Buying a Car in Hawaii from a Private Seller

The registration process varies per county but generally follows the same pattern.

For further information on your county’s requirements, we recommend contacting your county’s DMV. Otherwise, follow the steps below to get a broad idea of what you’ll be doing.

To register the title or registration of your car in Hawaii, you will (as an example):

  • Locate and visit an HI motor vehicle office.
  • Please submit a signed car title.
    • The paperwork will be signed by both parties (or the lienholder).
  • Please submit the vehicle’s most recent registration documentation.
  • Fill out a Motor Vehicle Registration Application
  • Please send in your inspection certificate.
  • Pay the registration transfer charge of $5.

You may also be required to pay any unpaid taxes on the car for the years it was not registered. If the transfer is not completed within 30 days of changing ownership, a $50 late charge may apply.

Buying a Car in Hawaii from a Dealership

Your registration paperwork will be submitted on your behalf by dealerships. Your registration expenses will very certainly be included in the transaction as well. Essentially, if you go through an approved dealer, you won’t have to bother with registration.

Buying a Car in Hawaii and Intercounty Registration

Because registrations are done on a county-by-county basis, you must submit your vehicle details if you wish to relocate the car.

In general, the following are required:

  • Go to a DMV office.
  • Fill out a Motor Vehicle Registration Application
  • Please include the car title and registration document.
  • You must pay your registration costs.

Buying a Car in Hawaii and Driver Registration

Those relocating to Hawaii must register their automobile within 30 days of arrival. The safety check is mandatory. Registration is completed at a local motor vehicle office.

Do you want to bring your car to Hawaii? You will be able to:

  • Fill out the Application for Motor Vehicle Registration.
  • Submit the Vehicle Registration Certificate
  • Submit an Out-of-State Title together with a shipment receipt or bill of lading.
  • If you don’t have one of these, file the Vehicle Arrival Certificate.
  • Display evidence of a car inspection.
  • Display evidence of your vehicle’s weight.
  • Fill out the Motor Vehicle Use Tax Certification form.
  • You must pay your registration costs.

Alternatively, if you are bringing a visitor with you in your vehicle but do not intend to remain for a lengthy period, you may apply for a temporary permit (or settle down). Temporary registration must be completed within 30 days of arrival. Before you may apply, your car must be inspected.

Do you require temporary registration? You will be able to:

  • Please submit your registration.
  • Display your inspection report.
  • Apply for an Out-of-State Vehicle Permit
  • Send us a copy of your shipment receipt or bill of lading.
  • You must pay a $5 permit charge.

This temporary registration is valid for one year or until your out-of-state license plates expire.

Buying a Car in Hawaii and Vehicle Registration Fees

Registration fees vary by county and take into account the vehicle’s weight and usage.

Some of your regular expenses are as follows:

  • State and local taxes
  • Weight taxes levied by the state and counties
  • Fees for transfers and emblems

In addition to state and municipal sales taxes, Hawaii automobile purchasers may be subject to a variety of other taxes and levies. These fees are distinct from sales taxes and will almost certainly be collected by the Hawaii Department of Motor Vehicles rather than the Hawaii Department of Taxation.

  • $5 for the title fee
  • The registration fee is $5.
  • Fee for Plate Transfer: $5

The average DMV fees in Hawaii for a new automobile purchase are $1081, which includes the above-mentioned title, registration, and plate fees.

Dealerships may also charge a documentation fee, sometimes known as a “doc fee,” to cover the costs of completing and filing the sales contract, sales tax forms, and so on. These fees are in addition to the taxes and DMV fees mentioned above.

In Hawaii, the average doc fee is $250, and the amount of doc fees that a dealer can collect is not limited by state law. Because the dealerships rather than the government imposes these costs, they might differ from one dealership to the next or even from one car to the next.

Give your local DMV a call and ask about your vehicle’s specifics.

Hawaii: (808) 961-8351
Honolulu: 768-4325
Maui: (808) 270-7363
Kaua’i: (808) 241-4256

Buying a Car in Hawaii and Vehicle Inspections

Vehicles must undergo a safety examination before they may be registered.

You will be able to:

  • Visit a car inspection facility.
  • Display evidence of registration
  • Display proof of insurance

You will receive an inspection certificate if you pass (sent to the DMV). This inspection will be performed every year that you own your car.

Buying a Car in Hawaii and Car Insurance Policies

The following are the minimum Hawaii auto insurance coverage requirements for driving a car legally in the state:

  • Liability coverage for bodily injury is $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident.
  • $10,000 for basic personal injury protection
  • Liability coverage for property damage is $10,000.
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorists face a $20,000 fine per person and a $40,000 fine per accident.

Coverage for uninsured or underinsured motorists might be denied in writing.

Hawaii is a “no-fault” state, which means your car insurance provider will pay for your injuries and the injuries of your passengers up to the personal injury protection (“PIP”) level. And unless there are substantial injuries, you cannot sue or be sued. Because “no-fault” only applies to injuries and not automobiles or property, the motorist at fault in a collision is liable for vehicle and property damage.

Popular Cars in Hawaii

Honda Civic

The new Honda Civic is a popular vehicle in Hawaii. This is because it is reasonably priced and offers drivers a dependable car. It also handles well and gets excellent mileage, which contributes to its economic advantages. Excellent safety safeguards are also in place to put drivers at ease. The standard engine isn’t quite stunning, but the optional turbocharged engine elevates this Honda’s street cred. The interior of the Civic is packed with technology, all wrapped up in beautiful and classy packaging. Both rows of seats are comfortable and spacious, and the trunk is huge for the segment.

Honda CR-V

The 2023 Honda CR-V is an excellent little SUV. Aside from the beautiful and airy interior, passengers will love the comfortable and roomy seats, the feature-rich and user-friendly entertainment system, and the huge cargo area. This Honda also has good ride and handling, as well as good fuel efficiency and power from the basic turbo-four engine. The newly built CR-V aspires to provide even more of its trademark utility, with larger dimensions and increased passenger capacity. Its interior is inspired by the Civic small vehicle, and it has cutting-edge technology, including an infotainment system with an optional 9.0-inch touchscreen that supports wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Toyota Corolla

The new Toyota Corolla 12th generation combines impressive fuel efficiency and a slew of standard safety features in a little car that looks far more exciting than it is to drive. The most powerful Corolla is equipped with a four-cylinder engine producing 169 horsepower, which is inadequate to push the vehicle ahead. The Corolla separates itself from other compacts by providing a diverse range of options. The Corolla is available as a sedan or hatchback, and it also has a super-efficient hybrid engine with front- or all-wheel drive. Adults can sit comfortably in the rear seats, making the Corolla an affordable new car for anybody looking for a trustworthy people mover. Although driving the Corolla may not blow your mind, its efficiency and grace will.

Jeep Wrangler

The new Jeep Wrangler has evolved into a civilian vehicle, with a couple of tires in the luxury segment in terms of both price and amenities. The Wrangler’s broad appeal is aided by a selection of fuel-sipping powertrains and two body designs. There’s also a plug-in hybrid option, but nothing says “America” like the top-of-the-line 470-hp V-8-powered Rubicon 392 model. Wranglers offer four-wheel drive and a variety of off-road capabilities, and most versions will take you almost wherever you want to go as long as you have the driving skills to match. On the road, the Wrangler reveals its shortcomings. Its ride may be harsh on bad roads, and its handling can be shaky on the highway—and it’s not the most practical errand-runner.

Tesla Model Y

While the Model 3 sedan on which it is based is more popular with purchasers, the 2023 Tesla Model Y is a far less appealing proposition. The electric crossover is clumsier on twisting roads and has a shorter driving range, but it is still a leader in its category. The Y’s interior, like the Model 3, is made of low-quality materials, and all of the SUV’s controls are controlled via a single touchscreen display affixed to the dashboard. Its pricing puts it in direct competition with premium electric SUVs. However, the Model Y can be ordered with a feature that rival utes do not have, giving it an advantage among family purchasers with young children: a third row of seats.

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