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Help my boy take home a Camaro!
March 19, 2008 7:57 AM   Subscribe

So, my son bought a car off Ebay. He's in Colorado, the car is in Maryland. He will be flying to Maryland to pick up the car on Spring Break and driving back-but there's one little problem...

...Colorado won't give him temp tags because the car is in Maryland and Maryland won't give him temp tags because he is not a Maryland
resident. So....how can he get the car legal to drive back to USAFA with it? He is presently calling the insurance people to see what they suggest but meanwhile I thought the hive mind might have some ideas. (The car is a refurbished Camaro, and this is kinda his graduation present to himself-so if I'm not chewing him out for buying off of ebay, let's not go there here either. )
posted by konolia to Law & Government (43 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Rent a trailer and put the car on the trailer?
posted by jerseygirl at 8:06 AM on March 19, 2008


Jerseygirl, he won't have another car with him. And his spring break time is limited...but it would have been a good idea. He also doesn't want to pay thousands of dollars for car transport. He already bought his plane tickets-he kinda was looking on this as a nice little spring break adventure.
posted by konolia at 8:11 AM on March 19, 2008


I was thinking renting a car/truck and trailer in MD and going one way back to CO.
posted by jerseygirl at 8:13 AM on March 19, 2008


meh, give him your tags, or the tags from a car you won't need for a few days, then just drive on back - carefully, and at legal speeds
posted by Salvatorparadise at 8:14 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


If he decides to just drive from Maryland to Colorado in a car without plates, encourage him to put all of his just-bought-the-car and I'm-an-insured-driver paperwork in a little binder, and put that binder on the passenger seat. Also, and more importantly, do the whole drive in full dress uniform. This will greatly reduce the chances that he'll get in any serious trouble.
posted by box at 8:16 AM on March 19, 2008


Ask the seller to get temporary tags for it, if the seller is a Maryland resident. Pay him/her to do this, as it's bound to be cheaper than renting a trailer (or getting busted for switching tags).

Also, try another location of the DMV in Colorado. He might find a different civil servant willing to issue the Colorado tags. These things can be surprisingly person-dependent.
posted by Capri at 8:18 AM on March 19, 2008


I did this years ago when I was an Ohio resident and bought a car in Massachusetts. Massachusetts doesn't do temporary tags, so I had to pretend I was a permanent resident (my parents live there, so it wasn't hard), buy Massachusetts insurance and get a permanent Massachusetts license plate.

There must be a better way to do it, though.
posted by Dec One at 8:20 AM on March 19, 2008


did he buy from a dealer or a individual? I am in neither colorado or maryland, but here the dealer issues a temp tag when you buy (or borrow) a car. If he is buying from an individual, shouldn't the car already have some sort of tag on it? or was it tagged as a show car or undriveable or something? If you buy a car in oklahoma that hasn't been tagged in years, they are going to collect on those tagless years before you get your new tag. He might want to check the status of that. Tags here are specific to the car, not the owner. If you buy a car where the tag is still good for 6 months, you pay the excise tax upon purchase and then renew the tag when it is due.
posted by domino at 8:25 AM on March 19, 2008


For the record I live in North Carolina, and HE is considered a legal resident of Colorado (at least that is what he tells me.)

meh, give him your tags, or the tags from a car you won't need for a few days, then just drive on back - carefully, and at legal speeds

DO NOT DO THIS unless you like being pulled over and treated like a car thief by the officer who ran your tag numbers when she was behind you in traffic. Ask me how I know this...
posted by konolia at 8:26 AM on March 19, 2008


I'd investigate neighbouring states (of both Colorado and Maryland) to see if they offer temporary registration. I bought a Washington state "trip permit," which is basically three days of vehicle registration, not too long ago. All it required was $25 cash and a 10 minute visit to a Washington Department of Licensing counter in a grocery store.
posted by Nelsormensch at 8:27 AM on March 19, 2008


He is buying from an individual.

He is wondering if the present possessor of the car might let him keep the original tags on and have my son mail them back (the present owner is retired military and perhaps would do it as favor? ) My son would have the car insured in his own name but he was told the other guy should keep insurance on the car till he gets the tags back....arg.

FWIW my son is a sensible driver and sensible person in general which makes the fact he bought off ebay kinda unusual to begin with...
posted by konolia at 8:29 AM on March 19, 2008


It might be less hassle to just have the car shipped. Ebay will provide estimates.
posted by electroboy at 8:33 AM on March 19, 2008


Why doesn't the seller register the car and get tags himself? Normally when you buy a vehicle from someone, the registration stays with that person for a while, right? Or does the car have no plates at all?
posted by delmoi at 8:49 AM on March 19, 2008


He already priced that and said no.
posted by konolia at 8:49 AM on March 19, 2008


(that was to electroboy...)
posted by konolia at 8:49 AM on March 19, 2008


Delmoi, I assume the car has plates, so your point is well taken.
posted by konolia at 8:50 AM on March 19, 2008


I bought off eBay and had a great experience. I paid to have the car shipped from FL to NYC and still ended up paying less than half of blue book value.
posted by ROTFL at 8:50 AM on March 19, 2008


Most states have something similar to California's one-trip permit which covers events such as this. Start reading at section 4003

Perhaps Maryland offers a similar permit?
posted by buggzzee23 at 9:00 AM on March 19, 2008


Never mind, I see Nelsormensch beat me to the one-trip permit.
posted by buggzzee23 at 9:02 AM on March 19, 2008


He is wondering if the present possessor of the car might let him keep the original tags on and have my son mail them back


That is what I would do.
posted by bkeene12 at 9:10 AM on March 19, 2008


I think if your son paid for the car, he could request the title be mailed to him, then go get the plates in Colorado (they don't need to see the car, do they)? Then go out with the plates in hand.

I had to do something like this recently. Live in Maine, bought a car in MA. Had to go down, get the title, come back, get plates in Maine and go back and pick the car up. Why I didn't have him mail me the title, I can't remember.
posted by sully75 at 9:12 AM on March 19, 2008


sully75, he wouldn't get it in the mail in time. I can't remember exactly when his spring break starts, but it's within a week, I think.

Oh, and he did check, and Maryland has no provision for a travel permit. Danngit.
posted by konolia at 9:27 AM on March 19, 2008


sully75 has it, in the absence of shipping it. Have it overnighted.
posted by electroboy at 9:36 AM on March 19, 2008


If he has proof of insurance with him and a clean driving record, as long as he has a good bill of sale from the owner, the odds of him getting ticketed for this are incredibly slim. I was in a similar position recently and drove a car from Phoenix, AZ to Durham, NC with no license plates at all and never even got pulled over. If he's not speeding and he can give a reasonable explanation to a cop who pulls him over, I really doubt that it would be a problem. Yes, I know some cops can be unreasonable, but this isn't the sort of thing that presses their buttons. BUT, as said above, he needs proof of insurance and any other paperwork showing this is a legitimate (and recently occurring) transaction right there with him at all times.

(My father and brother are (ex-)cops, FWIW.)
posted by Pater Aletheias at 9:41 AM on March 19, 2008


By the way, even if he gets a temp tag, it won't necessarily help unless the display of the tag conforms to the laws of every state he drives through. See this.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 9:47 AM on March 19, 2008


Sully75: I think if your son paid for the car, he could request the title be mailed to him, then go get the plates in Colorado (they don't need to see the car, do they)? Then go out with the plates in hand.

Konilia: I can't remember exactly when his spring break starts, but it's within a week, I think.

If there is no time, then he's just out of luck in terms of the timing. Sully's method is the only correct way to do this, other than shipping it some way. Plan B should be: get the title, register and insure the car, get the plates, and then advertise on Craiglist for someone who's willing to drive it from Maryland to Colorodo. I think we've had some previous posts on ways to arrange that kind of thing.

Pater Aletheias: If he's not speeding and he can give a reasonable explanation to a cop who pulls him over, I really doubt that it would be a problem.

I'm sorry, but that is just a dumb idea. Especially with no license plate at all. As konilia has already stated. He should only drive the car back if it has been insured and registered in his own name.
posted by beagle at 9:49 AM on March 19, 2008


I don't know if this helps, but it appears that the car might meet the requirements for temporary registration in MD. I also don't know how much it costs. But he could do it online! A cursory search of that site doesn't show me much, but someone else may have more luck.
posted by frecklefaerie at 9:51 AM on March 19, 2008


I vote that he ask to keep the plates and mail them back to the owner. When I bought a used car the owner wanted to keep the (vanity) plates so we agreed that I would get new ones once I got home and I just mailed them back within the week.
posted by Bella Sebastian at 9:52 AM on March 19, 2008


Looking at the Maryland DMV page, it looks like the way your kid does it if the seller is a nice person is by keeping the seller's plates for the drive back, then sends them overnight to the seller, who has kept his insurance running through that week. It would be polite for your kid to pay the seller something for the week of insurance and for being a nice person about it, of course. Failing that, I would just drive it home, keeping under the speed limit, and with all the documentation (including bill of sale, letter from my insurance agent, etc) right at hand in case I was pulled over.

Shipping a car can be pretty cheap, especially compared to airfare plus gas plus hotels plus food. Add in having to worry about being pulled over for no plates, or having to ask a favor from the seller who may or may not be a great person to work with, and I think that there is a really good argument here for getting on the phone to shipping companies. The cost will not be in the thousands -- this site claims that it will cost less than $900 from Baltimore to Denver on an open trailer; you would want to talk to a number of actual shipping companies to see if cheaper rates can be found.

To compare, that is a 1700 mile drive; at 20 mpg and $3.50/gallon gas, that's $300 in gas alone, plus the flight, plus at least two nights in hotels, plus a bunch of meals, plus wear and tear on the car. I'd be surprised if driving it back saved more than $100 to $200, unless you have a free ticket or free places to stay along the way. The IRS reimbursement rates of about $0.50/mile are a pretty fair estimate of what it costs to drive, when you take all the extra costs into account -- making shipping the car the cheaper option by a fair margin.
posted by Forktine at 9:55 AM on March 19, 2008


Plan B should be: get the title, register and insure the car, get the plates,

From the Colorado DMV page, that is not a possibility -- many states won't register/title an out of state vehicle without having it there in person (to check the VIN at least, sometimes a safety/emissions inspection as well). The car will have to be physically in CO before they will issue plates, according to the website.
posted by Forktine at 9:58 AM on March 19, 2008


Looking further, as Forktine points out, you do have a conundrum:

Here's an unofficial Colorado DMV page that confirms the car needs to be physically in Colorado before it can be registered (because it needs to be tested for emissions in Colorado.)

If, as you said, Maryland has provisions for temp tags for an out-of-state buyer (and it appears you're correct), then you're stuck between a rock and hard place.

The options remaining (all previously suggested) are:
-- Shipping
-- Getting the seller to keep plates and insurance and allow the trip
-- Failing that, I would have him visit the Colorado DMV in person, ask to speak with the office manager in person, describe his particular problem, and see what they can do for him. They only would need to temporarily waive the emissions certification. Given that their own FAQ suggests getting temp tags from the originating state, if that's not possible in the originating state, then they have to be willing to bend a little. Worth a shot.
posted by beagle at 10:06 AM on March 19, 2008


Shipping across the country is pretty pricey, usually over $1000.
posted by octothorpe at 10:17 AM on March 19, 2008


You won't be able to get an MD temp tag unless you register it here and pay 5% sales tax plus reg fees.
posted by electroboy at 10:26 AM on March 19, 2008


Here is the link to MD DMV page about temp tags. Looks like it will cost $20.00.

MD DMV LINK
posted by tman99 at 10:58 AM on March 19, 2008


Failing that, I would just drive it home, keeping under the speed limit, and with all the documentation (including bill of sale, letter from my insurance agent, etc) right at hand in case I was pulled over.

I am not recommending this course of action, but if he chooses to, he should add "WEAR THE UNIFORM" to this list, or at least make sure the uniform is visibly hanging in the back seat.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:22 AM on March 19, 2008


he wouldn't get it in the mail in time

You must be joking. If he can afford a car, he can afford to Fed Ex the documents.
posted by Dasein at 12:02 PM on March 19, 2008


True, but the part about him being at USAFA means his spare time is generally nonexistent, plus you'd have to depend on the other person getting off his bohunkus to do whatever on that end.
posted by konolia at 12:24 PM on March 19, 2008


This site quotes $660 to move the car from Baltimore to Denver. There are a lot of shippers, some might be cheaper.

Flights are $99 - $372, depending on how you book them. It's a 1700-mile drive, which will use $225 worth of gas (at 25 mpg). So, do-it-yourself costs $324-597, plus aggravation, time, a motel stop or two, and 1700 additional miles of wear and tear on the car, which is not nil.

If it were me, I'd ship it.
posted by beagle at 1:56 PM on March 19, 2008


Except he lives in Colorado Springs, NOT Denver. He does not always have his weekends free, etc etc.

(Yeah, I'd ship it too, but I'm not him, and he takes after his father with the manly stubborness.)
posted by konolia at 2:04 PM on March 19, 2008


Except he lives in Colorado Springs, NOT Denver. He does not always have his weekends free, etc etc.

Same difference, try that shipper. It quotes $660 from anywhere in Maryland to Colorado Springs. The driving driving mileage/cost will be about the same; the flight might be a bit more, so the economics of shipping are equivalent to the Denver quotes. He doesn't need a weekend for it, they'll deliver it to his door. If he's still stubborn about wanting to drive it, I think we've done our best here. Let us know how it turns out.
posted by beagle at 2:24 PM on March 19, 2008


I'd ask the MD DMV what is needed to get a "Temporary Registration". It appears you can get one for 30 days to get it inspected.
Here's the form: Linky

I bought a car from NJ while out of state and it was easy. Ask the MD DMV if they can do something like this. Linky
posted by rholly at 6:56 PM on March 19, 2008


Well, son just called and the owner will let him keep the original tags on and mail them back when he gets back to the Blue Zoo. So, he gets to have his road trip after all...

Thanks for all the advice, folks. I love this place.
posted by konolia at 7:20 PM on March 19, 2008


In case anyone cares, my son got the car, drove it cross country and is now safe with it back in Colorado. For the record, it's an 87 Camaro IROC, rebuilt, and he is ecstatic with it.
posted by konolia at 8:16 AM on March 26, 2008


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