Out of state registration with FCA dealers

I’ve had the joy of dealing with FCA dealers the past couple of weeks negotiating a deal on a Gladiator.

We’ve mostly agreed on a price but our latest problem is the registration. I am a Pennsylvania resident with a PA drivers license. I am currently in California riding out COVID. The dealer insists that I have to register it in CA first, then I can transfer it. They didn’t seem to care that the car would be on a truck to PA by mid May.

They won’t do the PA registration. They claim they’re not setup for it. Whatever, I’ll do it my own. I had to tell the sales guy that I just needed an MSO from them and I’ll get power of attorney for US Bank. He said that he would ask the DMV clerk and get back to me. I offered them to give me a ‘One Trip Permit’ (CVC 4003) but they haven’t gotten back to me on that.

Not really a specific question, I’m just looking for any advice.


California is a pain in the ass with out of state registrations. You may be able to get around some of it by having the vehicle shipped. If you were picking it up in person, you’d be s.o.l.


You can get a one-day temp registration to take the car out of California, and you can also get a 30-day temp registration that is valid outside of the state (dealer can give you both).

What you cannot avoid if you take delivery in CA is CA sales tax on the first payment.

This is how it was explained to me by two different dealers in San Diego.

I don’t know about the sales tax on the first payment if it’s rolled into the lease vs. paid upfront. I didn’t ask that question.

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I’m going to try to get that temp tag. It looks like anyone can get those One Trip Permits at any DMV for $19. Is there any benefit for me to get one on my own before taking delivery? Maybe it will push the dealer over.

I’m fine with paying the sales tax on first month since that’s only about $25. I’m just trying to avoid $500 registration vs $64 registration.

I’m also trying to figure out how much is CA laws and how much is FCA dealer being an FCA dealer.

I ended up not leasing anything in California, but I got very close (at least close enough to get to that level of minutiae), but I posted everything I remember.

Good luck.


Does anyone know the refund policy for registration fees in California?

Say I take delivery April 28th then the car gets to PA and I register it May 28th. Can I request a refund for the 11 months of registration?

California? Refund something?


California not only won’t refund you, they’ll probably lose your paperwork saying you took it out of state and take you to collections for not paying year 2’s registration.

But before then it hits the streets of CA?

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As a former Californian, I can say that sounds about right.

Going to call the DMV ‘help’ line to try to figure this out. The website does say they do refund it. However, it would not surprise me that the refund the registration and not the various fees (that end up being five times as much as the actual registration).

It’s going from the dealer to a driveway where it will sit for 1-3 weeks until the truck picks it up.

I know there is a risk of a ticket but I’m not worried about it. I could also get multiple and it’s still cheaper than registering in CA.

How is it getting to your driveway? Are the tires touching public asphalt or not?

I’ll either drive it from the dealer or it will be delivered so I can’t really say.

I know if I drive it on public roads I can get a ticket but $125 is still less than $500.

It would also be fraud to register it in California since I do not live there.

Well I don’t blame the dealer in this case. I wouldn’t risk whatever sanction the regulatory authorities can impose on a dealer based on basically a customer’s pinky promise (“I swear I won’t drive the car… ok, maybe just to my driveway, but that’s it. I swear I won’t drive it in California roads after that”).

Drive it off the lot or have it delivered to a CA address? Totally makes sense for the dealer to cover their behinds. Otherwise what’s his defense if he gets sanctioned? “The customer promised he was going to move out of state in a month”?

My understanding is:

If you’re driving it off the lot of the dealer, expect to pay registration.

If the dealer loads it on a truck and it never leaves their lot under its own power, you should be able to avoid registration.


That’s a fair point but I do have a Pennsylvania drivers license. I’ve also been looking into a ‘One-Day Trip Permit’ on the DMV website. Here is what it says:

A REG 402T displayed on the windshield or other prominent place on the vehicle may be used in lieu of California registration to move any vehicle required to be registered, except a crane:

Unladen, for one continuous trip from a place within California to another place either within or outside California, or from a place outside California to a place within California.

It appears this is designed for people from OR, NV, AZ to buy a car in California and drive it home. If the dealer issues me this it appears they could cover themselves. Since it’s now my responsibility to drive it back immediately.

CA does not prorate registration.

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I looked at the ‘Simple Refund’ part of the DMV website. This part gave me hope:

Request a refund of vehicle/vessel license fees for a vehicle/vessel that left California before the registration expired and was registered in another state.

Waiting for a call back now. I’ll update.

Since you have no use for the car in CA, seems the simplest solution is to just wait til you’re on the east coast then buy it.

That’s what they told me too. They need to ship it.

But that doesn’t explain how people buy from OR, NV and AZ.

Or, how a friend did the reverse and flew up to Oregon, picked up a car and registered it in California.