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You can replace your car title online, by mail or in person, depending on your state or county of residence. If your car title has been lost, damaged or stolen and you do not replace it, you may be unable to transfer your vehicle’s ownership rights during a sale or prove that you are the car’s owner. To obtain a replacement title, you must fill out the proper application form, submit a valid form of identification, provide documentation related to the satisfaction of a lien, if applicable, and pay for a replacement fee. Our guide contains everything you need to know to successfully replace your auto title. You will also learn about other titling procedures, such as the process of transferring vehicle ownership.

2. By Mail

Certain state DMVs offer a mail-in method for requesting a car title replacement. To apply by mail, you must send in a copy of your California state-issued drivers license or ID card, along with a filled-out application form. Moreover, you must include copies of documents that prove that any liens on the vehicle have been satisfied. To pay for the applicable title replacement fees, make sure to mail an acceptable payment method to the DMV, such as a money order or a check. After your request is received and processed, which can take an extended period of time given the duration in transit, you will be sent a replacement title certificate via mail.

3. In Person at a DMV Office

Vehicle owners may prefer or be required to replace a car title in person by visiting a local DMV office. During this visit, applicants must complete the proper application form and identify themselves by submitting a drivers license or ID card. In addition, car owners must provide vehicle-related credentials that allow the DMV to locate their records. Note that applicants must also provide documentation proving that any liens on their cars have been satisfied. Finally, motorists will be asked to pay for the applicable car title replacement fees. Because most DMV offices experience long wait times, drivers are encouraged to fully prepare for the transaction so as to avoid potential mistakes and repeat visits.


The procedure to replace a lost car title at the DMV in California is generally completed by drivers when the original form is missing or stolen. Motorists will need to meet the requirements for replacing a lost or damaged car title in a timely manner due to the importance of this form for conducting different procedures through the state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

For instance, the details listed on a CA title certificate are typically necessary to complete a title transfer process among other procedures. The CA DMV currently allows licensees to request a replacement car title in person and via mail. For more information about how to replace a vehicle title in California, continue reading below.

When do you need to get a duplicate car title in California?

The DMV requires you to replace your CA lost car title, a certificate that has been stolen or documentation that is no longer valid. For example, you may request a replacement car title in the event your original document is mutilated or illegible. A title that has been torn, damaged by water or written on may be considered invalid.

You may also apply for a duplicate of your title if you have not received a title certificate. Section 3 of the replacement title application form will require you to state the exact reason for requesting a replacement through the motor vehicle agency.

Documents Required When Applying for a California Car Title Copy

Motorists wondering how to get a replacement car title in California will be required to submit specific documentation via one of the currently available application methods. Drivers with a lost car title will first need to fill out the corresponding replacement title application form and furnish it along with payment for the applicable fee.

If the reason for requesting a replacement copy is due to the current document being illegible or mutilated, the licensees will also be required to attach their old title. Additional documents, including proof of ownership (such as a vehicle registration card) and acceptable photo ID, may be necessary if the details pertaining to the registered owner (his name or address) do not match DMV records.

Prior to initiating your process to request a replacement vehicle title in CA, contact the DMV and check whether you will need to present any additional documents or fees.

Available Methods for Replacing Your Car Title in California

If you are still wondering how to apply for a car title replacement, then note that you have the option to submit your application package via mail or present it in person at a local CA DMV office. There is no way to replace a car title online in CA.

You will be required to request a replacement auto title in California in person at a title office provided you are the registered owner of the vehicle in question but your name or address do not match the information on your DMV record. Continue reading below to find out more about the aforementioned replacement title application methods.

By Mail

Initiating a procedure to replace a car title by mail is a convenient method to apply for a duplicate with the state DMV. When submitting a mail-in request for replacing your California lost car title, you will need to provide a completed application form as well as payment for the applicable fee. Additional documents may apply depending on your circumstances. Once the department processes your request, it will mail a copy of your vehicle title within 15 to 30 calendar days from the date the application was completed.

In Person

If you are wondering how to get a new title if lost or stolen, then note that you can visit a nearby DMV location in person and furnish the applicable documentation. Your in-person method to replace a lost car title with the DMV in California will also require you to present a completed application form along with payment for the set fees.

If you need to replace a lost car title in person in CA due to the discrepancy in information, then remember to bring proof of ownership, such as your registration card, and an acceptable photo ID document. Overall, these documents will allow the DMV to conduct a car title search. Furthermore, a photo ID may be necessary regardless of your reason for applying at a title office.

How to Fill out the Duplicate Car Title Application in California

Part of the CA requirements for replacing a lost or damaged car title is filling out the corresponding application form, which is currently available on the official DMV website. The form to replace a lost car title at the DMV, also known as Application for Duplicate or Transfer of Title, consists of several sections and requires licensees to enter specific personal details and vehicle-related information. When applying for a duplicate of their California lost car title, applicants will need to complete sections one through three on the front of the application form and include the following details:

  • Information about the registered owner(s) of record, including the full name as it appears on the title/registration
  • Details about the legal owner of record (lienholder/title holder) if applicable
  • A missing title statement, which must be filled out and signed by the person who lost the title certificate

Note: This form may also be utilized for a paperless title certification as well as to complete a transfer of title with duplicate or paperless title.

California Car Title Replacement Fees

If you are seeking an answer to the question, “What are the fees to replace a lost car title in California?” note that the standard cost for this credential is $21. However, fees are subject to change without notice. Providing payment for the applicable lost car title fee is mandatory for the state Department of Motor Vehicles to process your request and mail a new title document as soon as possible.

Last updated on Monday, February 18 2019.

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