Tips for Purchasing a Used Vehicle

What you need to know when purchasing a used vehicle.

Our goal at the DMV is to have 100% of the vehicles in the State of New Hampshire safe for the road. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. DMV works in cooperation with Division of State, Police Troop G, to ensure vehicle safety matters are taken very seriously.

When purchasing a used vehicle from an authorized dealer, keep these tips in mind:

  • An authorized dealer will either provide a 20-day temporary plate (which indicates the vehicle has passed a vehicle inspection) or will provide an "unsafe vehicle form" which will list the reasons why the vehicle will not pass a vehicle inspection. Please be advised that if an "unsafe vehicle form" is provided to the customer, a DMV 20-day temporary plate cannot be issued.
  • You may ask for a Carfax report. This report will give you background information on your vehicle.
  • You may ask your dealership if there is a warranty included, and if so, ask what items are covered by the warranty.
  • You may take the vehicle to an outside mechanic you are comfortable with, or ask an outside mechanic go with you to look at the vehicle before you purchase it. This will help ensure the vehicle you are purchasing is safe for the road. This is also a helpful tip when purchasing a vehicle in a private sale.
  • Be cautious if a vehicle is being sold "As-Is" with no warranty. If you encounter a problem immediately after purchase, technically the dealership or private seller is not responsible. We encourage you to talk to a mechanic before purchasing a vehicle.


Should you wish to submit a formal complaint concerning a New Hampshire dealership or Inspection Station, please include the following information when submitting your official signed letter of complaint:

  • Your name.
  • Your contact information.
  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
  • Vehicle Make, model and year.
  • Name and address of New Hampshire Dealership or Inspection Station involved.
  • Specific information including timeline and circumstances of events.
  • Copies of sales documents.
  • Copies of Inspection reports.

Please send all documentation to:

NH Dept. of Safety
DMV - Dealer and Inspection Complaints
23 Hazen Drive
Concord, NH 03301

Please note:

  • We can only enforce the laws and rules that govern us in the State of New Hampshire.
  • We cannot assist you in financial restitution.
  • The process may be very time-consuming based on the information presented.
  • We cannot force an authorized New Hampshire Dealer or Inspection Station to perform a repair on a vehicle.