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I am considering buying a used car that is currently registered as inoperable in CA since it has been off road. Is it legal for me to drive it to NY (registered as inoperable) until I can register it? I will have the title signed over to me and insurance.

To drive that far you need a 30 day permit from someone, otherwise you may end up with a whole slew of tickets. Inoperable is generally defined as “not allowed to drive on any highway until retitled removing inoperable designation”

Don’t buy it unless you can afford to ship it or unless you can get it registered and insured before the trip. While you might be able to make it across the country without getting a ticket, I don’t think it is a good idea to do it uninsured, and you will probably need it to be registered in order to insure it for use on public roads.

Most states will sell you a 30-day permit for a few bucks to deal with situations like this…

many many thanks for the info!

CA is somewhat unique in that they classify cars as “inoperable”. The NY DMV may not transfer such a title over to NYS and then you couldn’t register the car. You may need to get the CA title changed from “inoperable” to an active status before presenting the CA title to NY DMV.

Perhaps some phone calls to the DMV’s in NY and CA are where you need to do more research to get the correct information.

I bet the title is unblemished. It’s the registration that’s the problem. This is a way CA collects registration fees for non-operating vehicles. No emissions test or insurance required, but you can park it legally.

Go to the California DMV website. Under forms, there is an inoperable vehicle form you can read and better understand what inoperable means in CA. That is different than an off road certification. To me, it is a waiver of registration fees, etc associated with operating the vehicle on roads, etc, because the vehicle was parked on property and not driven/used off that property for some time period. Of course, that brings together a set of risk when you are purchasing it, too. So, you are dealing with at least two risks: #1: can’t drive the car anywhere to be inspected because this type of certification doesn’t allow public highway use. #2: Risk that car was driven infrequently and there are potential mechanical/safety issues associated with that.

After considering this, I think the seller needs to rescind his in operable affadavit, pay applicable registration fees, and then you purchase it with clean title and real California plates on it. Then you can drive it, insured, to NY. The plates can be returned to the seller (if 30 day tag is not an option) by mail, so he can retrieve some of the fees/taxes incurred to register the car for a year.

Given those risks and issues, I would walk away. If you want to pursue this, then I also think it would be prudent to figure in shipping costs into the final cost, and go from there. Unless this is a class A, really nice classic car, the risk for me is too great to complete this transaction and drive the vehicle to NY even if I could get a 30 day tag.

It appears the title is OK, but I saw no provision in CA for a temporary 20 or 30 day registration without meeting CA emissions requirements, etc. Don’t know if NY can issue you a 30 day temp registration without having completed the sale first.