Selling a car with out-of-state title/registration/plates


#1

I just moved out-of-state to a large metropolitan city. I no longer have space to park two cars, so I am going to sell one on Craigslist. The one I am going to sell has a clean title and current registration, but from my original state. And it has out-of-state license plates. It’s a 20 year-old car that runs great, has no mechanical problems, and has been well-maintained. Worth about $1500-$1800.

Seems like a waste to get it registered in my new state, then sell it to someone else who would have to re-register it in his/her name. Would cost me several hundred dollars. I thought of selling the vehicle with all out-of-state documents provided, and let the buyer deal with it. Is this sometimes done? Or will buyers be too leery of an out-of-state vehicle to take a chance on buying it?


#2

Personally I would be leery of an out of state title.

Call your local courthouse or DMV and ask, you may be required to get a new title. Either way they can tell you what should be done to sell the car legally.


#3

What state are you now living in? Some states, like CA, have stricter emissions standards than others and a car registered there has to be manufactured with CA compliant systems. Also, your current state may require a safety/emissions inspection that your previous state didn’t.

Other than that, who cares? A title is a title, it conveys ownership of a car regardless of what state it was issued in. Release your interest in the car and send the buyer to the licensing agency to get plates and a new title. I’ve bought cars from 3 different states and haven’t had any trouble titling them here in Washington.


#4

Just call the DMV and ask them. I’m in Minnesota and bought a car in Wisconsin. I don’t remember having any problem at all. Just paid the tax and got Minnesota plates. You do realize though that you have only so many days to register the car in the new state though so don’t go beyond that.


#5

A valid title is a valid title, I don’t see a need to get a new title and register the car in your new state prior to selling it. If you are unsure of the process in your new state, visit your DMV office and take the title and current registration with you and ask them how to transact a sale.


#6

I sold a Colorado titled car in Massachusetts with no problems at all…The new owner just took the signed off title to The Registry and that was that…YOU keep your registration and plates, don’t let the buyer walk off with those…

When using craigslist, it’s cash only, principals only. No checks or “shipping agents”. If they want to “test drive” the car, sure, as long as they leave you the keys to the car they arrived in…


#7

“YOU keep your registration and plates, don’t let the buyer walk off with those.”

Check with your neighbors or DMV. Everywhere I’ve lived plates belong to the car, not the driver.

“If they want to “test drive” the car, sure, as long as they leave you the keys to the car they arrived in.”

I’ve never asked for the keys if they go for a test drive, probably because I’m sitting in the back seat with them.


#8

If you don’t keep your plates, the new owner can drive on them until they expire, exposing you to great risk in the event they have an accident or the car is used in a crime…Keep your plates. Force the new owner to buy their own plates and insurance…


#9

Actually you keep the plates and then turn them into the DMV (which MOST people don’t do).


#10

I’ll echo @UncleTurbo and @Caddyman both here. I’ve lived all over the U.S. as a member of the Air Force and never had a problem as long as the vehicle had a valid title. Always keep your plates even though some states have a requirement that the plates stay with the vehicle. Arizona has their act together when it comes to vehicle registration. They have privately owned registration offices all over the state and you can walk out the door with a new title, in your name, in minutes regardless of where the vehicle is titled.


#11

In Minnesota the plates go with the car. That’s why you go down to DMV and transfer the title with the guy. In Wisconsin the plates go with the owner. Check your state.


#12

In MD, the seller is responsible for turning in the plates. The title cannot be transferred until the DMV has the old plates. It makes good sense totals to the DMV about what obstacles there may be to selling a car from one state in another. The information might also be on line. I’d start by checking out the state DMV web site before calling.


#13

@asemaster

I don’t quite follow you about all cars registered in California needing to meet CA emissions standards

Years ago, I brought a 49-state car into California, titled, registered and smogged it. It wasn’t a big deal. It got smogged it as a 49-state car, NOT as a California car. It definitely did NOT have California emissions equipment.

People move into CA all the time, often bringing their 49-state cars with them. Unless things have changed, there is no requirement to convert them to CA standards


#14

@HondaGuy70

Here’s a thought

Get that car smogged in the state where it will be sold

Some buyers will be more likely to “pull the trigger” if they know that the smog is not a factor.

No offense to anyone, but imagine if you bought a used car from a private party, and then it didn’t pass smog, for whatever reason. That might be an ugly situation.


#15

If there is a safety inspection required, get that done and signed off too. If you sell a car yourself you want to control the process as much as possible. If the car is ready to register and only needs a buyer, you take away the fear that an as-is buyer will have that the car can’t be registered without additional repairs.


#16

@db4690,
My mistake. I thought I recalled something about having to jump through a few hoops if your car didn’t meet CA requirements, like a CA car had air injection but federal didn’t, or the aftermarket converter on your car wasn’t CA approved.

There may my cases of passing emissions in one state and not another. Here, I can take a 94 Chevy pickup, straight-pipe the catalysts, hang a chrome air cleaner on, install an aftermarket intake with no EGR and as long as the tailpipe emissions pass, I’m good to go. No component checks here. I know that won’t fly in CA.


#17

There were CA compliant cars sold in other states besides CA

In some states, the CA emissions cars must retain that equipment. In those states, when an emissions component fails, you must replace it with a CA compliant component . . . even if the car has never been, and never will be, registered in CA.

In other states, the CA emissions cars don’t have to retain that equipment. In other words, if you live in Idaho and own a CA emissions compliant car, when your oxygen sensor finally fails, you’re allowed to replace it with a federal sensor.

Yeah, it’s complicated, in large part due to the fact that each state has slightly different rules when it comes to vehicle emissions.


#18

"In some states, the CA emissions cars must retain that equipment. In those states, when an emissions component fails, you must replace it with a CA compliant component . . . even if the car has never been, and never will be, registered in CA.

In other states, the CA emissions cars don’t have to retain that equipment. In other words, if you live in Idaho and own a CA emissions compliant car, when your oxygen sensor finally fails, you’re allowed to replace it with a federal sensor."

I disagree. If a sensor, catalyst, whatever fails on a CA compliant car the component gets replaced with a CA compliant part. Period. There’s fixed and there’s broken. I won’t lower the quality or standards of my workmanship to save a guy a few bucks. When your car leaves it will be functioning as originally designed.

That’s not to say I haven’t bypassed a leaky heater core or things of that nature. But for engine performance and emissions work I do it right or not at all.

Much of the difference between CA cars and federal cars will be moot soon. Many states are adopting CA standards. Any new car sold in Washington after 2009 must be CA compliant.


#19

@ asemaster You are not entirely mistaken about the CA/49 state emission import penalty.

In the early 1990’s my friend moved to California with a two year old Mazda Protege purchased in Nevada and paid a $600 emissions penalty. I believe that went away in the ninty’s.

California won’t accept a new car without California emissions package. I have seen new car sales “unwinds” because the buyer was a California resident and the salesperson was unaware that the car must have CA emissions.

Interesting that California may consider a low mileage used car as new:

California considers any vehicle with less than 7,500 miles on the odometer at the time of purchase or trade by a California resident or business to be a new vehicle. This holds true whether or not the vehicle has been registered in another state.


#20

Who has been flagging us off-topic?

Please identify yourself

Please stop hiding behind the flag

I know I can’t stop you from flagging us, but perhaps you’d care to explain why you’re doing it

I would appreciate it