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2davidc8's avatar

Question about selling my car (details inside).

Asked by 2davidc8 (4136 points ) June 12th, 2012

If I sell my car, I know that I should report the sale to the Department of Motor Vehicles, so that I won’t be liable for what happens with the car afterwards.

But I believe that the buyer also needs to report or register with the DMV, right? What happens if the buyer fails to do his or her part? Or fails to register with the DMV in a timely fashion?

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15 Answers

fremen_warrior's avatar

I’m Polish so I can’t help you with this, but why not ask the DMV and get a straight answer from the source… instead of asking (pardon the epithet) ‘random strangers on teh interwebs’? Cheers!

woodcutter's avatar

Where I live you have to sign over your title to the buyer in front of a notary so there are no mystery cars on the road. It’s not like selling a gun out of your house to some guy who you have properly vetted of course.

LuckyGuy's avatar

In my state, NY, any vehicle after 1976 has a title that must be signed by both the seller and the buyer. The signed title is then sent to the state DMV and they send a new one to the new owner in 4–6 weeks.

marinelife's avatar

What state do you live in? The laws vary from state to state.

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syz's avatar

If you Google “your state, DMV, title exchange” (or “selling a car”), you’ll get a list of what to do.

Judi's avatar

In California, once you report who you sold it to, you are released from liability.

robmandu's avatar

This is a great question. The answer does vary from state to state, but in many places, you might still be liable until the buyer does actually register it. If nothing else, you’d be subject to a hassle getting things straightened out.

It’s easy to imagine why it’s not sufficient to simply report the car as sold to John Doe. What if you’re Doe’s crazy, jilted lover and you want to make his life difficult with some crazy car fraud, y’know?

If I sell a car myself to another private party, I go with them to the DMV / tax office / whatever to ensure we both get all of our respective paperwork completed at the same time.

This is another “benefit” of trading a used car in at a dealership… you don’t make as much money on the sale, but you’re subject to much less uncertainty and potential drama.

missingbite's avatar

I don’t know of any state that you would have a problem with IF you have a notarized Bill of Sale. It’s easy as pie. Sign the title over and have a notarized Bill of Sale signed by both parties when you transfer the title to the new owner.

If the new owner doesn’t register the car and has an accident, just show the Bill of Sale to the police and you are good to go.

2davidc8's avatar

@fremen_warrior I’m in California. I did ask the DMV, but they were not helpful in answering this question. They just said that I have to come in and fill out a form, but there was no mention of a notary being necessary. Then they said that the buyer must come in and do the same. Again, no mention of a notary. But the person at the counter could not answer my question of what would happen if the buyer does not come in.

That’s why I asked the question here, hoping that maybe some jellies have had some experience in this area.

Judi's avatar

I just submitted the form today for a motorcycle I sold in California. It’s attached to the pink slip. After you sell it, you detach the form and turn it into the DMV. They date stamped it and gave me a copy to prove when I no longer had liability.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@2davidc8 A notary is not required in NY. Maybe it is not necessary in your state.

I’m not saying this ever happens because that would be illegal, but….. At any given moment you can see people leaving the DMV and getting their forms signed by the buyer or seller or whoever was supposed to sign the form but forgot. Magic.

Judi's avatar

Moo notery required in CA,

yankeetooter's avatar

@2davidc8…I would not take this as legal advice, but one would think that once you take care of the legal end of things on your part, that the onus of responsibility would fall on the other person…

Jessicam's avatar

You need to return ur plates and There’s a form mv-50 that needs to be filed with DMV

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