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How To Buy a Car in Rhode Island

Rhode Island has its own unique laws to protect consumers when buying a used car. This guide will help make it simple.

Step 1 - Research the Car’s History

A vehicle history report such as AutoCheck can reveal important details about the car’s past.

  • Title liens.
  • Accidents.
  • Reported stolen.
  • Maintenance records.

Step 2 - Test Drive the Car

Skip the endless back-and-forth calls and texts when planning a test drive.

You can arrange a test drive right on the platform. Just choose a time and meet the seller at the assigned location.

Step 3 - Get an Inspection

A clean car might have hidden mechanical problems.

Use PrivateAuto’s inspection scheduler to book an inspection with a local ASE certified mechanic.

Step 4 - Get the Paperwork

Certificate of Title

Rhode Island law requires a title for 2001 vehicles or newer. Complete the transfer of title section on the certificate.

  • Your name and address.
  • Selling price.
  • Date of sale.
  • Odometer reading.
  • Seller’s signature.
  • Your signature.

Bill of Sale

Rhode Island requires a bill of sale. You’ll need it for titling and registration.

It should include the following:

  • Car’s year, make, and model.
  • The vehicle identification number (VIN).
  • Color
  • Selling price.

When you buy from a PrivateAuto seller, you get an electronic bill of sale form and state-specific documents. You can fill them out and sign right in the app.

Step 5 - Complete the Sale

You’ll need to order a new title and register the car.

You can transfer the license plates from a car you recently owned or order new ones.


PrivateAuto makes it easy to shop for a used car in Rhode Island.

  • Test drive and inspection scheduling tools.
  • Verifies seller ID so you can avoid scams.
  • Keeps your info private.
  • Ready-to-sign state-specific documents.

Plus, you get tips for buying and selling a car in your state.