The Department of Motor Vehicles requires that all vehicles driven on public roads to be properly titled and registered. If the vehicle is transferred to another owner (due to sale, gift, or inheritance), the registration and title information must also be updated.
If you're selling a vehicle, you will be required to present the following documents:
- California Certificate of Title
- Smog Verification
- Notice of Release of Liability
California Certificate of Title
A California Certificate of Title must be signed by the current possessor of the vehicle and passed on to the buyer. The title must also include odometer readings in the space provided. If you have an older title that does not have an odometer certification box, you must use the Vehicle/Boat transfer form (REG 262). If you do not have the title for the vehicle, you will be required to fill out an Application for Duplicate Title (REG 227) to complete the transfer.
Smog inspection may also be required upon sale. The seller is required to provide the buyer with the correct smog verification certificate. If you already submitted the smog inspection certificate to the DMV within 90 days prior to the sale, you do not need an additional smog check.
Notice of Release of Liability
The seller of the vehicle is also required to submit the Notice of Release of Liability to the DMV within five days of vehicle transfer. This submission will update DMV records and protect you from liability for parking or traffic violations that may take place after the date of sale. The Notice of Release of Liability can be mailed to the address provided on the form. The buyer of the vehicle must also report the transfer to the DMV within ten days of the date of sale.
The total fee is calculated when you submit transfer documents to the DMV and may include the transfer fee, duplicate title fee, use tax fee, registration renewal, and other fees.
Note: This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm all details directly with the CA DMV. You can visit the CA DMV website or call 1-800-777-0133 for general drivers license and registration information.
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