How to Get Rid of a Car with No Title

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A lost or missing car title shouldn't prevent you from getting rid of your car. Follow these guidelines and you will not have any reason to worry.

Things You'll Need

  • Copy of car registration
  • Computer
  • Internet connection
  • Car you are selling or donating
  • Current mileage of vehicle

Basic Instructions

  • Look at your vehicle registration. Are you the sole owner? Skip to section 2 if this does not apply.

  • Go to your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Get an “Application for Duplicate Title.” Fill out the information shown on your registration, and include your mileage. There is also a section to transfer ownership that will need to be filled out by both parties.

  • Get rid of your car. If you are selling or donating the car with no title within your home state, the forms, plus a copy of your registration, are all that is usually needed by the new owner to transfer the car into their name.

  • Protect yourself. If you sell or donate the car, be sure to get a “Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability” form and fill it out within five days of getting rid of your car. This will prevent you for being liable on any tickets or violations that may occur while transfer of ownership is being processed through DMV.

Registrations with lienholders, past due fees or multiple owners

  • Obtain a lien release. If you have purchased your car through a bank or credit union (and you do not owe money), contact them directly for this form. The contact information can be found on a billing statement or simple search on the Internet.

  • Pay any past-due registration fees. Or, if the buying party is willing, deduct this from their purchase cost. The process of getting rid of a car with no title will be smoother and prevent any delays from the DMV.

  • Everyone signs the paperwork. If your spouse or relative's name is listed on your registration, they may need to fill out the DMV forms with you to transfer ownership to someone else.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you don't have a copy of your registration, get one from the DMV.
  • Some states require a lien release to be notarized. Find out before transferring your vehicle's ownership.
  • When selling a car out of state, you may need to get the title first before you can get rid of it. Apply for a duplicate title and have the DMV mail it to your home address.
  • If you owe money on your vehicle, you cannot get the title until the loan is paid off.
  • You have to pay any unpaid outstanding tickets that are your responsibility. Transfer of ownership does not release you of this liablity.
  • A current smog certificate may be needed to transfer ownership. If your car does not pass smog, the new owner will have difficulty registering the vehicle.

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  • Photo Credit Istock.com
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