Buying a Car in Arkansas

Before you buy a new or used car in the state of Arkansas, there are a number of things you should be aware of. Learn about some of them here.

1. Title Information

Arkansas requires you to apply for title and registration of a car within 30 days of the purchase, title transfer or the release of a loan (if you financed the car). If you bought the car from a dealer, they will handle the title paperwork.

If you buy a car from a private seller, things get more complicated. You will need the following:

  • The title, signed by the previous owner(s) and yourself
  • A Bill of Sale covering the full purchase price
  • The manufacturer’s certificate of origin (which means you should keep this if you buy a new car and ever intend to sell it to someone)
  • Proof that the car was assessed for property taxes during the last applicable year
  • Proof that the property tax was paid by the previous owner
  • An odometer statement if the car is under 10 years old

Failure to have any of these items could make your title transfer attempt fail. Fortunately, the DFA Vehicle Tag/Registration Page can help you get all of the above.

2. Insurance Information

Arkansas’ insurance laws require you have at least minimum liability insurance on any vehicle you buy within the state. The lowest acceptable amount is $25,000 for injury to one person ($50,000 for two or more) and $25,000 for property damage. This insurance must be obtained before you can buy any car, so check around with insurance companies and find the best deal before you purchase the car. For full details, check out the Arkansas Insurance Department’s Auto Brochure.

Arkansas also utilizes an Insurance Verification Program, which is an online database that is connected to every insurance company in the state, to help guarantee that all cars are covered. Dealers will check this database before selling a car to you, and the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration (DFV) will check this database each year before registering the car, so you should not attempt avoiding insurance.

3. Emission Information

Arkansas does not require emission tests for any vehicle, regardless of its age.

4. Lemon Law Information

Arkansas’ Lemon Law works for new cars only and covers a car for 24,000 miles or 24 months, whichever is later. You can declare a car a “lemon” if you have attempted to have an issue on the car that could cause death or serious bodily harm repaired at least three times.

You must submit a written request for the manufacturer to attempt a fourth and final repair. The manufacturer must reply within 10 days and attempt to fix the car within 10 days of receiving it. If the car is not fixed within 40 days total, the manufacturer must refund or replace the car. Note that in Arkansas, there is a formula that deducts some of the full value based on the purchase price of the car, so don’t expect to get the full value.

5. Special Information

Whenever you renew a license for a vehicle in Arkansas, you are required to assess the car’s value and pay a property tax. Failure to do so can lead to the renewal being denied and get you into serious legal trouble. Check out the Arkansas Assessment Coordination Department and County Government Portal Web pages for all the details.