Transfer a Car Title
If a vehicle (including RVs or trailers)is to change ownership in New York, the car seller or gifter is responsible for providing the car buyer or recipient with correct documentation, and must transfer car title documentation. A car title transfer takes place when you are:
- Buying a used car.
- Selling a used car.
- Gifting a vehicle.
- Inheriting a vehicle.
Information Related to Title Transfers
How to Sell a Vehicle in New York
- Get a vehicle history report: A vehicle's history includes detailed information about your car like previous accidents or major repairs. By providing the buyer with a full VIN number check, you are more likely to get a better price for it. Getting a detailed vehicle history report is easy, and you can conduct a VIN lookup online in minutes.
- Find a reliable and trustworthy mechanic that can complete a full, thorough inspection on your vehicle.
- Sign the title over to the new owner: This is the most important document to give, be sure to review the steps for "How to Transfer a Title" below.
- Complete a damage disclosure statement: Complete the damage disclosure statement on the back of the title certificate. The damage disclosure is not required for vehicles older than eight model years.
- Provide a bill of sale: First create and then sign a bill of sale as proof of the vehicle purchase. The seller's signature should also appear on the bill of sale.
- Complete an odometer disclosure statement: Fill out and sign an odometer disclosure statement. Note: Vehicles older than 10 model years do not require one.
- Fill out a Statement of Transaction form: This form is a New York State sales tax return used to report the purchase of a vehicle when the sales tax is not collected at the time of purchase. It also releases you, the seller, from the obligation to pay for it. The new owner is now responsible for paying the correct taxes on it with the NY DMV.
- Remove registration stickers and license plate: If you don't remove your registration stickers or your license plate, you could be held liable for the tickets that the new owner receives.
- Surrender the plates to the DMV: If you are not going to transfer your license plates, the NY DMV requires drivers to surrender their tags for a $1 fee in person, or for freeby mail to:
Department of Motor Vehicles
2799 Route 112
Medford, New York 11763
- Cancel your insurances: Make sure you surrender your plates to the NY DMV before your insurance lapses. If not, your license could be suspended.
How to Transfer a Car Title in New York
When looking for prospective buyers for their vehicle, most sellers ask themselves:
- How to transfer car titles?
- Where to transfer car titles?
Fortunately, DMV.com has done the research for you: On the date of the transaction, it is your responsibility as seller to:
- Make a transfer of car title documents. To correctly transfer a pink slip into another person's name:
- Fill out the "Transfer of Title by Seller" section of your current title.
- Include the odometer reading, sales price and date.
- Provide a Statement of Transaction
- Create the bill of sale and make two copies of it, both including
- The signatures of both parties
- The year and make of the car
- The price
- The sale date
- The VIN
- Provide a vehicle history report. This includes details about accidents, repairs or updates you have made on the car, and is considered a courtesy to provide.
Be sure the buyer does not leave before transferring car title documentation or providing a bill of sale.
How to Buy a Vehicle in New York
- Get a vehicle history report: A vehicle's history includes detailed information about the car you are interested in, like previous accidents or major repairs. Getting a detailed vehicle history report is easy, and you can conduct a VIN lookup online in minutes.
- Find a reliable and trustworthy mechanic that can complete a full, thorough inspection on the vehicle.
- Make sure to get the transferred car title from the owner, as well as a completed damage disclosure statement on the back of the document.
- Request a Bill of Sale, which both you and the seller must sign as proof of the vehicle purchase.
- Request an odometer mileage statement on the back of the car title.
- Transfer the license plates or obtain new ones at the DMV.
- Update your vehicle information and policy plan with your car insurance provider.
Transfer Between States
If you are moving outside of New York, you will need to transfer your car title to the new state you will be residing in. Each state has its own DMV rules and regulations about how to obtain a new car title, therefore make sure to contact a DMV office prior to your move for further instructions.
Donated or Gifted Vehicles
If you are gifting your vehicle to another individual as a gift or donating your car, it is important to hand over proof of ownership, such as your car title. Make sure to also provide a Bill of Sale.Once done, it is the buyer's responsibility to register the vehicle with the New York Department of Motor Vehicles.
Bill of Sale
Whenever you purchase or sell a vehicle, you must complete a Statement of Transaction form. However, the NY DMV also recommends that you create a Bill of Sale. And while the Department of Motor Vehicles for New York does not offer these forms online, creating them is easy, and they benefit both the buyer and the seller:
- Buyers can have the proof of purchase required to get a title certificate for the vehicle or to have it registered.
- Sellers can have proof that the vehicle has been sold. In case the new owner gets in an accident or any illegal activity involving the vehicle, the seller won't be held responsible.
As a buyer, it is always good to check the vehicle history before committing to any purchase. As a seller, you may want to provide your buyer with all they need to make an informed decision, so including a vehicle history report is definitely a helpful tool, and can help you sell your vehicle faster.
How to fill out a Bill of Sale
In the state of New York, a bill of sale must be signed by both the buyer and the seller, and include the following information:
- Year and make of the vehicle, boat or ATV
- Vehicle identification number (VIN) or hull identification number (HIN)
- Date of the sale
- Purchase price
- Names and signatures of the buyer and the seller
You should fill out a Bill of Sale even if you received a vehicle as a donation or a gift. In the purchase price field write down $0.
Click here to download or fill out a Bill of Sale form.
How to Transfer Car Title if Original is Lost
If you have lost your original car title, you will be required to first obtain a duplicate copy before selling your vehicle. In order to get a replacement title, you can do so either online, by mail or making an in-person visit to your local DMV office. Keep in mind that, even if you choose to replace your title in person, you will have your new, permanent one mailed out to you.
What is a VIN?
Your Vehicle Identification Number, or VIN, is a unique vehicle ID that can be tracked through numerous systems worldwide.
The VIN can help you get very specific information about your vehicle including past owners and if it has been in a serious accident.
You can conduct a VIN search to get a vehicle history report if you already have the number.
Why do you need a VIN?
There are many reasons why you may need to find a VIN. Since this number is like your vehicle's identification card, you will need to record it when registering a car, in car titles, insurance identification cards, body shop records, and accident reports.
Sometimes, officers of the law may require to inspect your VIN during routine checks or when looking for a stolen vehicle.
When you are purchasing a used car, you will also require the VIN to order a Vehicle History Report.
Finding the VIN
The VIN number is present in motor vehicles, towed vehicles, motorcycles, scooters and mopeds.
Most VINs are 17-character long and are located at the lower-left corner of the dashboard, right in front of the steering wheel.
If your vehicle does not have a VIN in the dashboard, you may look for it in other places such as:
- The engine. Just take a look at the front of the engine to find the VIN.
- At a rear wheel. Look for the VIN just above the tire.
- On the door. You could look inside the driver-side doorjamb or at the driver-side doorpost.
Once you have found the VIN number you can request a vehicle history report here.