How to transfer a car title in CA
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If you are buying a car remember that it is the sellers responsibility to smog it. It is a California Law. It has to happen every time owner ship of the vehicle is transferred.
Sellers will often say “ya I did it a month ago to renew the registration.” DOESN’T MATTER. The smog check has to be done every time ownership is transferred. Don’t let the seller convince you otherwise.
Make sure the seller has the title and they are the registered owner on it. If the title has two people registered on it one of the of them can release interest in the vehicle as long as their is an “OR” and not and “AND” between their names.
Collect the title, the smog certificate, and a bill of sale. You can download a bill of sale / transfer of Ownership on the California DMV SITE. In California the transfer form is called a REG 262. Make sure to fill this out properly.
If the seller can’t find the title (which often happens) you can get a duplicate title. Be careful with a duplicate title. You don’t know if the car still has a lien on it or if it’s true mileage unknown or salvaged.
What is a lien on a title?
A lien is when there is still money owed on the vehicle and the lender is still the legal owner on the title. Someone can give you a duplicate title, you take it to the DMV and find out the car is salvage or isn’t paid off. You try calling the seller and they are long gone. This why you have to be ten times more careful if you are buying a car on the street. Always run a vehicle history report on a car before you buy it. Don’t trust the seller, especially if their name isn’t on the title. The California Duplicate title form is called a REG 227.
If there was a previous lien on the vehicle and the seller gives you a duplicate title instead of the original they will have to get a notarized lien release too.
Try convincing the seller to go with you to get the car registered. If you are a AAA Member you can get it done fast and effortlessly. I recommend that everyone get a triple a membership for the road side assistance.
To the left is what a typical smog certificate looks like in California. If you lost the smog certificate no big deal. It automatically gets sent to the DMV and in their system.For a CA Car Dealer a smog is good for two years as long as the vehicle has been on the lot and the ownership hasn’t been transferred.
If you are selling your car make sure to sign in the wrote spots. Don’t sign in the lien holder section on the bottom.
Have any questions on how to fill out the back of a California Title properly. Please watch this short video I made on how to fill out the back of a CA TITLE.
If you have any additional questions on how to transfer a car title in CA or are interested in a car title loan you can contact me on the form below.