Transferring a vehicle title can be a complex procedure, and it has to be done correctly, because an improperly conducted title transfer can have a lot of negative implications to everyone involved in the process. If you are buying, selling, gifting or inheriting a vehicle, a title transfer is an obligation in order to give legal ownership of the vehicle over to the person who is buying it or getting it as a gift.
That is why you need to get well informed on how to do a proper title transfer. Here you can find out everything there is to know about what documents are required, what fees need to be paid, what are the responsibilities of the buyer and the seller. If you have any issues regarding a title transfer and you are not sure what to do, we offer step by step info for every situation. On this site you can also get access to every form that needs to be completed. We are here to help you conduct a smooth and proper title transfer.
What is a title transfer?
A title transfer is a procedure that is mandatory when you buy or sell a car, give a car as a gift or a donation or inherit one. That way the ownership of the vehicle gets transferred over to the buyer or the person who gets it as a gift.
What documents do I need to make a title transfer in California?
You need a California Certificate of Title or Application (pink slip), an odometer disclosure and a smog certificate.
Do I have to inform the DMV after I sell my old car?
If you sell your car, you have to complete the Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability form, in order to let the DMV know that you are no longer the owner of the vehicle.
Are there any fees that need to be paid when making a title transfer?
Yes, a $15 fee has to be paid to the DMV by the buyer.
Does the smog inspection apply to all vehicles?
A smog inspection is only mandatory for vehicles that are older than 4 years. If you transfer ownership of an electric, a diesel powered or a hybrid vehicle, the smog inspection is also not required. More on smog and emission tests here: http://www.dmv.com/ca/california/emissions-testing
How long does a title transfer take?
The DMV issues a new title within 60 days after all the required documentation is submitted.
How do I transfer a title that has a lien on it?
The lien holder should agree to the transfer before you can sell the car. If you pay off the loan, the lien holder has to sign the Certificate of Title, thus releasing ownership.