Utah Cars for Sale

Utah is unofficially also known as the “Beehive State.” An estimated 2,817,222 residents claim a state measuring approximately 84,899 square miles. Tourists flock to Utah for its copious small mountain ranges, its rich cultural history, and its well known hospitality. Arches National Park and Monument Valley in particular are very busy travel destinations for visitors.

The state is subject to a semi-arid or desert climate, which translates into very dry weather. Higher elevations are subject to extremely cold temperatures in winter; the entire state usually experiences high summer temperatures – except for the high elevations. The outdoorsy Utahan is likely to pick a vehicle based on handling agility and fuel economy.


Getting a Feel for the Locale
The state of Utah shares borders with Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico and Wyoming. Its largest cities are Layton, Ogden, Orem, Provo, Sandy, Salt Lake City, St. George, Taylorsville, West Jordan and West Valley City. The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) estimates that Utah is home to 141 new-automobile dealerships, which generate annual revenues to the tune of $4.5 billion.

Motorists rely primarily on four interstate highways – I-15, -70, -80, and -84 – and a number of U.S. Routes for easy travel.


Utah Car Guide to Taxes
This online car buying guide would be incomplete without first pointing out that Utah drivers are required to pay taxes on the vehicles they purchase. The Utah Division of Motor Vehicles explains that you are required to pay sales and use tax, based on the automobile’s purchase price. This is true, even if the car was bought in another state – unless you can prove that you paid the sales tax on the vehicle in the state of original purchase.

Since the taxation rate varies by city, use the look-up tool to determine your combined sales and use tax rate. Rates vary between 5.95 percent in Monroe and 7.55 percent in Springdale. Please note that these tax rates apply to for sale by owner transactions in addition to dealer transactions.


Minimum Car Insurance Requirements for Utah
car insurance minimums for Utah
Motorists must carry liability insurance when driving in the Beehive State. Applicable state law specifies the Utah 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 $65,000 policy to recompense parties for all injuries/deaths resulting from an accident
  • Buy a $15,000 property damage policy that reimburses others for destruction of their property caused by an accident
  • Obtain $3,000 in personal injury protection (PIP)

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.

Punishments include a conviction on a class B misdemeanor and a minimum fine of $400. It is possible to find your driving privileges and car registration suspended. To reinstate both, be prepared to pay hefty fines and fees.


Utah Car Title and Vehicle Registration FAQ
Cars for sale in Utah come with several documentation requirements that both sellers and buyers must meet. Remember that you only have a few weeks – from the day of purchase – to register your new car and get a proper Utah title and/or registration in your name. If you moved from out of state, you have 60 days – counted from the date of entry and officially becoming a resident – to register the vehicle.

Many dealers will assist with these requirements. When you purchase from a private party as a for sale by owner transaction you are on your own.

  • 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.
  • Pay the registration fee. The DMV highlights that there are several fees that contribute to the total amount. There is the $2.50 driver education fee, the $1 uninsured motorist identification fee, and the uniform age-based fee. The latter assesses a cost based on the age of the vehicle. Cars newer than three model years are assessed a $150 fee, while those older than 12 years only cost $10 to register.
  • Fill out form TC-656 (the Application for Utah Title) and submit it to the clerk. Remember to also pay the $6 title fee.


What about Tags?
When you buy a new car in Utah, you usually only have a temporary paper tag. Private parties selling used cars in the state 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; personalized plates come with a $10 fee, while specialty plates require payment of $25 or more.


What about Emissions?
Utah law does not uniformly mandate emissions testing of cars and trucks. At this time, only residents of Davis, Salt Lake, Utah and Weber counties must undergo biennial emissions inspections. This requirement is further curtailed by exempting cars that are newer than six model years or older than the 1967 manufacturer year.


Where Are the Utah Car Auctions?
Brasher’s Salt Lake Auto Auction
Location: 780 South 5600 West; Salt Lake City, UT 84104
Phone: (800) 426-4817
Auctions Run: Every Tuesday at 9 a.m.

Southern Utah Auto Auction
Location: 150 E. 1160 S.; Saint George, Utah 84770
Phone: (435) 688-2244
Auctions Run: Every Wednesday at 10 a.m.

Utah Public Auto Auction
Location: 1046 AE Moore Drive, Moody, AL 35004
Phone: (205) 640-4040
Auctions Run: Wednesdays 12:15 CST

Please check each Utah car auction site for additional details.