Strange scenario here: I live in Idaho, and would like to be in Colorado for a few weeks. Cars are cheaper in Colorado than Idaho (assume this is true).

I'd like to fly to Colorado, buy a car, use it there for a few weeks, and drive it back to Idaho. I don't have any immediate intent to sell the car on returning to Idaho.

Everything I can find about buying a car out of state assumes you're buying the car and immediately going back to your home state. This isn't what I want to do. I want to use the car in Colorado for a while first.

I'm happy to pay registration/tax/title/etc. fees in Idaho, but if I have to make a roundtrip just to visit the DMV once, that'd be kinda silly and I might as well buy the car before leaving.

I keep coming up short on finding out how to pull this off. I'd much appreciate any pointers ya'll have!

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    I mean, there's the obvious and not particularly pleasant one, register it in when you buy it in Colorado then re-register when you "move" it to Idaho. I think what you'd want to do is be able to say I'm an Idaho resident, can I register this car with Idaho stuff while physically you and the car are in Colorado...and that sounds like a question for the Idaho DMV?
    – Alan
    Feb 3 at 2:29
  • @Alan I'd be fine with that, but I'm pretty sure you can't really register a car without being a resident of the same state. Or at least that's what I gather from there being a fairly short list of states where it is legal, e.g. on clearsurance.com/blog/…. Seems to me that this case is entirely unsupported by the system...
    – Undo
    Feb 3 at 3:41

1 Answer 1


Colorado law applies to Colorado citizens and requires licensing a car bought from a dealer within 60 days Colorado DMV. Idaho law applies to Idaho residents and requires registering it in 30 days. Idaho DMV.

So it looks like only the Idaho one would apply, and even if Colorado's would too, they would give you even more time. So fly to Colorado, buy a car from a dealer, have fun for a few weeks, then drive home and get it registered before 30 days is up and you should be all good.

  • Thank you, those are the links I needed. Seems like I shouldn't have an issue if I get stopped on the drive back, just show a recent bill of sale & title instead of a registration?
    – Undo
    Feb 3 at 5:43
  • Yep, and when you buy from a dealer they generate a temporary tag for you. @und
    – Alan
    Feb 3 at 8:32

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