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A Comprehensive Guide To The Home Vehicle Delivery Process

Car Pal founder and CEO S. Lindsay Graham at table on porch with home vehicle delivery paperwork on table and small white Maltese dog on her lap.
S. Lindsay Graham signs home vehicle delivery and lease paperwork on her porch in Mebane, NC.

This step-by-step outline has been written specifically for our clients who like to know what to expect when they purchase a vehicle from out of state.

At Car Pal, our job is to help our clients purchase or lease vehicles, arrange to ship vehicles from out of town or out of state (if the net savings is far greater than purchasing locally) and organize home vehicle delivery on their behalf.

To most consumers, the long-distance car buying and home vehicle delivery process is a mystery and it’s difficult to get this information from a dealership because you will be dealing with many different people there, such as the internet manager, the salesperson and the finance person.

As consumer advocates and car buying agents, we decided to make this step-by-step guide public so that anyone (even non-Car Pal clients) can benefit from our inside knowledge of the long distance purchase and home vehicle delivery process.

Home Vehicle Delivery—Step-By-Step

  • When you’re ready to move forward with a purchase of a vehicle, your Car Pal will coordinate a call between you and the finance manager
  • The finance manager will try to sell you STUFF and we suggest not buying any of it, but you have to sign that you were offered and declined
  • Great news, your Car Pal will be on the call with you to facilitate your saying “NO” to that which you don’t want and will negotiate on your behalf if there is something you DO. This might include such things as GAP insurance or sometimes extended warranties that might be worth buying if your Car Pal can negotiate a good price (except in Florida where the prices are controlled by the state legislation)
  • Next, the dealer will overnight the paperwork for you to sign on the yellow highlighted or indicated spots. For local home delivery, they will bring the paperwork with them.
  • You will sign in all the places indicated.
  • Call your Car Pal if you have any questions at all or in the unlikely event that there is an error. DO NOT cross anything out. Most of the paperwork is boilerplate so you may not have any questions, but again, your Car Pal is here for you to help you understand what you’re signing.
  • Take photos (or scans) of each page of the signed paperwork for your records, because sometimes it takes a week or so to get your copies while they process your paperwork at the dealership.
  • After you snap photos (or scan) the signed documents, put ALL the paperwork you’ve just signed into their pre-paid overnight envelope and take a photo of the tracking label.
  • Send a picture of the tracking label by text or email to your Car Pal so we can track it for you.
  • After the dealership personnel process your paperwork, they will email back your copies as attachments – sometimes your Car Pal has to chase after them to remind them to do that though. This is why you made copies before sending the paperwork to the dealer.
  • After the dealership has received your overnight envelope with your signed paperwork enclosed, they will release the vehicle.
  • After the dealer releases the vehicle, Car Pal will then send the shipper!
  • The shipper will coordinate with you to deliver your vehicle to your home or office.
  • As always, Car Pal is always on call for any questions or snafus. There are rarely any snafus because we use only the best shipper, but we’re here!
  • Car Pal will send you a link to our article “Steps for Receiving an Out of State Car Purchase” so you know what to do when the vehicle arrives.
  • After you have received your vehicle, the shipper will send you an invoice by email. Car Pal will send you a link to our Car Pal “pay balance due” page on our website by email.
  • In almost all cases, (except MA) the dealership will have affixed a temporary registration tag to your vehicle.
  • The temp tag will be replaced by YOUR tag when dealership office says they have finished the transfer tag paperwork on your behalf.
  • In all states except MA, the DMV will send you your permanent tag in the mail.
  • Sometimes our clients reach out to us let us know the tag hasn’t yet arrived. 9 times out of 10 if the temp tag date is nearly up, the tag comes quite shortly after you’ve reached out to your Car Pal. We’re here for you for those questions and any others that come up after your first few days/weeks (and even years!) of ownership.

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