Here is a helpful guide from the PrivateAuto staff for buying a used car in Iowa.

Gather Documents

Certificate of Title

Complete the following on the back of the title:

  • Your name and address.
  • Your signature.
  • Signature of all sellers. If there’s more than one owner, all must sign.
  • Odometer disclosure if the car is less than 10 years old.

Odometer Statement

If the car is less than 10 years old, complete the odometer disclosure on the back of the title.

If there’s no room on the title, complete the Federal Odometer Disclosure Statement.

Bill of Sale

Iowa doesn’t require a bill of sale. But it’s a good idea to have a record of the transaction.

When you buy a car through PrivateAuto, the seller will have a bill of sale you can sign directly from the app.

Research the Title

Search the National Insurance Crimes Bureau website to verify the car hasn’t been reported stolen or declared a total loss in an insurance claim.

Mechanical Inspection

You should make sure you’re buying a roadworthy car. An inspection can uncover hidden mechanical problems.

Work with an ASE Certified mechanic. It means the mechanic is skilled with most cars and light trucks.

Vehicle History Report

PrivateAuto now partners with AutoCheck to provide you with a vehicle history report.

When you buy through PrivateAuto, some sellers may provide the AutoCheck report.

Registering the Car In Your Name

Iowa requires the seller to remove the license plates before finalizing the sale.

You will need to request a new title and register the car with the Iowa DMV.


When you buy a car in Iowa, PrivateAuto puts dealer-like services in the palm of your hand.

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