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Buying a Used Car in Colorado: What to Know

in Car Buying Tips
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Sitting on the edge of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado is the square state that checks all the boxes. From alpine mountains to wetlands to shrublands, and everything in between, you probably need a car that can do it all to get between all the cities, small towns, and the four beautiful National Parks.

But whatever you need from your car, buying a used car is a great way to save money, and reduce waste. And while you might imagine the process is intimidating, you have nothing to worry about when buying a used car in Colorado.

Buying a Used Car From a Dealership

Buying a used car in Colorado from a dealership can be an easy breezy experience. Your responsibilities before arriving at the dealership are the same as they are in any other state. You need to do your research to figure out the right model of car for you, and which model year you want.

The Free CoPilot will help you browse all listings of your model being sold locally or across the country. CoPilot also lets you know if the price is above or below market value considering its model year, make, features, mileage, etc. Once you have found the right car that fits your lifestyle and comes from a reliable brand, you should do your research to find the best financing plan around.

Consider how big of a loan you could get, how big of one you need, as well as the payment and interest plan. The financing offered by a local lender or your bank might not be as tantalizing as the rates advertised by these dealerships, but those commercials often have fine print that would make an already big expense even bigger.

Now, since you have already secured your financing, not only do you avoid the risk of predatory lending practices from “buy here pay here” dealerships, you actually come in with the strength of a solid budget (your borrowing limit) making it harder for the dealership to try to upsell you or overcharge you.

You know how much you will pay and you can more easily walk away if negotiations go poorly rather than finishing up negotiations and then finding out the real expenses will be greater than expected.


The CoPilot app is the smartest way to buy a car. Tell us what you’re looking for and we’ll send you a curated list of the best used car listings in your area - no more scrolling through hundreds of listings looking for hidden gems. 

So once you have financing secured and know which car you want, it’s time to go check it out, and check it out thoroughly. You want to start by scanning over the outside and any interior components you can see.

You don’t need a professionally trained eye to notice bits of rust that might not have even been there the last time the car was inspected and certainly wouldn’t have shown up in digital photos. If the car looks fine, a test drive is in order to make sure the car feels and sounds alright as it’s running.

If it’s possible, you should try to drive it in different road conditions: residential streets, cruising on the highway, hills, etc.; anything you expect to be driving through regularly. Finally, it is recommended that you have a mechanic come out to inspect the car. An unbiased expert might notice a problem that others had overlooked, or recognize that the tiny noise you hear today could turn into a big problem down the road when it is no longer the responsibility of the dealership.


When it comes to hauling a lot of people and cargo, the minivan is hard to beat. We’ve factored in reliability, affordability, and functionality to create this curated list of the 8 best used minivans on the market today.

Once you’ve got those steps out of the way, most of the work now rests with the seller. The dealership is responsible for handling the transfer of title from the previous owner to you, and getting the car registered under your name with the state DMV. Once you’ve bought the car, your only responsibilities are to get it proof of liability insurance and proof of a passed emissions inspection if you live in any of the following counties:

  • Boulder
  • Broomfield
  • Denver
  • Douglas
  • Jefferson
  • Portions of Adams
  • Portions of Arapahoe
  • Portion of Larimer
  • Portions of Weld

Once you’ve done those two things, you’re good to go. 


We looked into price, reliability, features, and more to create this list of the best used SUVs under $10k on the market today. Take a look - some of the best used SUVs have gone mostly overlooked or forgotten. 

Buying a Used Car From a Private Seller

Buying a used car in Colorado is about as simple if you’re buying from a private seller as buying from a dealership. You still need to do your research beforehand, you still need to get your financing worked out beforehand, and you still need to see the car in person with a trusted mechanic and get a real feel for the machinery.

The difference is, once you have agreed to buy the car, it is up to you and the seller to get the paperwork done right. You will need the Colorado certificate of title with the signature of you and the seller, sn odometer reading, and a bill of sale with both parties’ names, the purchase price, VIN, and make/model/year of the car in question.

Once you have those forms properly filled out, you can get the car insured so you can take it to the DMV and get it registered. There they will need the certificate of title, the bill of sale so they know how much tax must be paid on the purchase, payment of those applicable taxes and fees, proof of insurance, and proof of your identity such as a social security number or driver’s license. And if you are in one of the counties listed above, you will also need the emissions inspection certificate.

Now if you’ve managed to follow all that, you are the proud owner of a car now! The process is pretty straightforward, especially compared to some other states, and should be nothing to worry about. The important thing is putting in the work before buying the car to make sure you are getting a quality vehicle at a price that is fair and works for you. 

Get a Curated List of the Best Used Cars in Colorado

The CoPilot car shopping app is the easiest way to buy a car. Tell us what you’re looking for and we’ll search the inventories of every dealership in your area to make you a personalized list of the best car listings in your area.

Only looking for newer models? CoPilot Compare is the search engine for nearly-new cars. Only see cars five years or newer with low mileage — CoPilot Compare is the best way to find off-lease, early trade-in, and CPO cars.

The best part? CoPilot is built using the same technology that dealerships use to buy and sell their inventories, so we have more info on each vehicle than competitors. CoPilot doesn’t work with dealerships, so there are no sponsored posts or other shady practices — just the most info on the best cars. Check out our About Us page to see how CoPilot works.