How to Buy a Car in Hawaii

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While there are no bridges connecting any of the Hawaiian islands, you can drive around on each island individually. If you are moving to the island and need a vehicle, you do not have to bring a car with you from the mainland. Instead you can purchase a new or used car in Hawaii. When you buy a new car, you'll notice that the price is higher than on the mainland, which is due to the cost of getting it there. Oahu is the island where you'll find most of the car dealerships, particularly in Honolulu.

  • Visit a local car dealership to look at available vehicles. The Automotive.com website (see Resources) has a list of dealerships in Hawaii. Some dealerships include Servco Lexus Maui, Servco Auto Windward Toyota/Chevrolet/Suzuki and Hawaii Mitsubishi. When buying a new car in Hawaii, an excise tax between 4.166 and 4.712 percent is added to the cost of the vehicle. The exact amount varies by location.

  • Browse the local newspaper to look for individuals selling cars in Hawaii. A military base is located on Oahu, which creates a large used car market when people leave the island.

  • Look through online car listings, such as on the Auto Trader, Craigslist and eBay Motors (see Resources). If you find a car online that is located on the mainland, it will cost extra to have it shipped to the island. For that reason, it is typically cheaper to look for cars already on the island.

  • Secure financing, if you do not have the cash, by applying for a car loan with a local bank or with the car dealership. Fill out your loan application in person or on their website. Your income information is needed to complete the application.

  • Sign your purchasing contract or bill of sale to complete your purchase. If buying from an individual, you must get the signed car title from the seller as well.

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