Selling a car and the California DMV
Selling a car in California and the California DMV can seem overwhelming, so many bases to cover. If you choose an online service like ours to sell your car, the paperwork is part of the deal, we handle the DMV for you.
If you choose to sell using another avenue, you are on your own.
First things first, do you need a smog certificate?
When you sell a car, you must change the title to a new owner. When you do this through the DMV they will require proof of smog certification in the state of California unless your vehicle is:
- A hybrid
- Older than 1975
- Diesel powered
- Powered by natural gas and its Gross Vehicle Weight rating exceeds 14,001 pounds
- Being transferred between family members
It is the sellers responsibility to have the vehicle smog certified, and the certification is good for 90 days after issue.
Lets face it, there is paperwork involved in anything important and the DMV is no different. One of the most important parts of selling a car is releasing your self of liability, which you can do here.
Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability - This release absolves the seller of liability for the following after the transfer date:
Click here for a printable version of the form which can be mailed in.
What you’ll need to fill it out:
- A Description of the vehicle
- License plate number
- Vehicle identification number
- Vehicle make
- Year model
- New owners name and address
- Vehicle odometer reading as of transfer date
- Sellers or lessee’s name and address
Final sale steps
The legal transfer of the vehicle requires the signature of the selling owner, releasing ownership. It is important to note that the seller is responsible for completing the above Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability within 5 days of the date of the transfer.
Should you need to get a history of your driving record or a history of a vehicle in your name you may pay the required five dollars and fill out this form.
Legal owner and lienholder are the same thing. When a vehicle loan is paid off a change of legal ownership must occur.
To change ownership the Certificate of Title must be submitted to the DMV. They offer three options:
1) A REG 166 form on which the existing legal owner has signed in the appropriate spaces releasing ownership, or a notarized lien satisfied.
2) A REG 227 Application for Duplicate Title again signed by the legal owner and notarized.
3) A document from a financial institute stating and notarizing the following:
You do realize that in the time it took to read this article you could have already sold us your car, right?
Just use our online form, get paid and eliminate your need for this article altogether.