South Dakota

South Dakota Cars for Sale

South Dakota is the Midwestern state that has the distinction of containing the Black Hills and Mount Rushmore; it is affectionately known as the “Mount Rushmore State.” An estimated 824,082 South Dakotans share a state the size of 77,116 square miles. Tourists flock to the area not only for its monuments, but also for its picturesque grasslands and the Great Plains. Not surprisingly, working farmers and outdoorsy locals favor four-wheel drive trucks and automobiles. South Dakota enjoys a continental climate that clearly delineates the seasons.


Getting a Feel for the Locale
The state of South Dakota shares borders with Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming. Its largest cities are Aberdeen, Brookings, Huron, Mitchell, Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Pierre, Vermillion, Watertown and Yankton. The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) estimates that South Dakota is home to 100 new-automobile dealerships, which generate annual revenues to the tune of $2 billion.

Motorists rely primarily on four interstate highways – I-29, -90, -190 and -229 – and a number of U.S. routes for easy travel.


South Dakota Car Guide to Taxes
This online car buying guide would be incomplete without first pointing out that South Dakota drivers are required to pay taxes on the vehicles they purchase. The Motor Vehicle Division of the state’s Department of Revenue highlights that you are liable for a 3 percent motor vehicle excise tax when registering a new car.

Be aware that all sales are subject to tax. This includes dealer sales and for sale by owner sales. Please note that you may also be subject to wheel taxes, depending on your country of residence. Wheel taxes by county range from 2 percent to 4 percent.


Minimum Car Insurance Requirements for South Dakota
SD minimum insurance coverage
Motorists must carry liability insurance when driving in the Mount Rushmore State. Applicable state law specifies the South Dakota minimum requirements for any driver:

  • Carry a $25,000 bodily injury/death liability insurance policy to cover one person involved in the accident
  • Purchase a $50,000 policy to recompense parties for all injuries/deaths resulting from an accident
  • Buy a $25,000 property damage policy that reimburses others for destruction of their property caused by an accident

It is always a good idea to purchase additional insurance products or increase the minimum limits to avoid or minimize personal liability in case of a civil lawsuit. If you are still paying off the car, make sure that any insurance payouts will be sufficient to satisfy the outstanding amount of the lien.

If you are found driving without a valid insurance policy in force, you may face a $100 fine and perhaps a 30-day stay in the county jail. Do it again, and you may find your driver’s license suspended for a prolonged period of time. Once you apply to reinstate your driving privileges, there will be further fines and fees that are sure to make law-breaking a rather costly experience.

There is a work-around for the insurance requirement: Place $50,000 on deposit with the state’s treasurer. The understanding will be that the funds are to be used to pay the damages resulting from any motor vehicle accident in which you are involved. Of course, this money does not protect you against civil liabilities arising from suits by other motorists.


South Dakota Car Title and Vehicle Registration FAQ
Cars for sale in South Dakota come with several documentation requirements that both sellers and buyers must meet. Remember that you only have 30 days – from the day of purchase – to register your new car and get a proper South Dakota title and/or registration in your name. If you moved from out of state, you only have 90 days – counted from the date of entry and officially becoming a resident – to register the vehicle.

  • Check your purchase title’s wording. If your purchase title features one or more names, all of which are joined together with “and,” everyone named must appear in person at the motor vehicle office. If the names are joined with “or,” it is enough for one named owner to appear.
  • Bring the vehicle with you. The law may require that a state official conducts a physical VIN check during a title application. This is frequently caused by prior title irregularities or unclear changes in ownership.
  • If you are financing your car, bring along the loan paperwork that shows the lender’s name, address as well as your account number. It is always a good idea to have the original documents on hand, so that the clerks can verify the information.
  • If you purchased the motor vehicle from a private party, bring the original title. It must be accompanied by a bill of sale that names all the parties to the transaction and states the purchase price, particularly if this information is not properly entered on the back of the title.
  • Show proof of insurance. Registering a car with the state is impossible without affirming that you have bought insurance.
  • Fill out the application for motor vehicle title and registration.
  • Pay the registration fee. The South Dakota fee schedule shows that the cost of registration depends on the age of the vehicle as well as its weight. For example, a new car weighing 4,000 pounds costs $4.25 per month – or $51 per year – to register. If the same car is older than 10 years, the fee goes down to $2.97 per month or $35.70 a year.
  • Pay the $5 title fee. If you go past the 30-day grace period, you incur a $1 per week penalty; the total fine is capped at $50.


What about Tags?
When you buy a new car in South Dakota, you usually only have a temporary paper tag. Private parties selling used cars as for sale by owner are required to remove the license plates. The basic 12-month tag fee for a passenger car is included in the registration fee.

The state offers a number of personalized or specialty license plates. Additional fees for these plates vary by type; for example, vanity plates incur an annual $25 fee, while special license plates – after filing form E 1834V5 – may set you back an additional $10 to $25.


What about Emissions?
South Dakota law does not mandate emissions testing of cars and trucks.


Where Are the South Dakota Car Auctions?

5-States Auto LLC.
Location: 1515 E. Philadelphia Suite #2; Rapid City, SD 57703
Phone: (605) 341-1101
Auctions Run: Every Thursday at 9:30 a.m.

Black Hills Auto Auction, Inc.
Location: 14918 E. Highway 44; Rapid City, SD 57703
Phone: (888) 893-7653
Auctions Run: Every Friday at 10 a.m.

Dakota Adjusters, Inc.
Location: 1425 E. 54th St. N; Sioux Falls, SD
Phone: (605) 338-7331
Auctions Run: Ongoing online

Please check each South Dakota car auction site for additional details.