General Question

seekingwolf's avatar

Can I keep my vehicle plates when transferring ownership?

Asked by seekingwolf (10407points) February 13th, 2013

I’m in NY.

My car has been in my dad’s name, for both the title and registration, for a long time. We want to transfer it to me now. Can I still keep the old plates on it when we transfer it to me? It’s a “gift”, no money exchanged for the car… Not a sale.

It would be nice to keep the old plates.

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14 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I think in NY he has to turn them in because of the insurance regs.

jerv's avatar

Various states have different rules. In VT and NH, the old owner keeps the plates and the new owner gets their own while in WA the plates follow the car instead. Also, things may be different for “vintage” plates, especially on cars that qualify as antique or collectible.

seekingwolf's avatar

I can bring in proof of insurance if that’s an issue.

I am trying to figure out the NY DMV site to find out but it’s very convoluted and hard to find the right info.

Jeruba's avatar

When I traded in my old car and bought a new one at a dealership, they handled the transfer for me with the DMV. I had to pay a transfer fee, but I got to keep my old plates. This was in California.

marinelife's avatar

Sorry, but no.

“To sell or give your vehicle as a gift, provide the new owner with the proofs and the documents described below:

Proof of ownership

Provide the new owner with acceptable proof of ownership. Make sure that you complete the odometer and damage disclosure statements on the back of the title certificate. Complete the proof of ownership document carefully. The DMV does not accept a title certificate or another proof of ownership document that indicates the information or signatures were changed or erased.

Vehicle Proof of Ownership
Registration Refund or Transfer
Surrender Vehicle Plates and Registration Items
Temporary Surrender of a Registration (No Refund)
Transfer Vehicle Ownership (Sale or Gift)

Proof of purchase price or gift. Use form DTF-802 (Statement of Transaction for Sales Tax) to show the purchase price of the vehicle or that the vehicle is a gift. The seller or donor completes the affidavit on page two of the form and gives the form to the new owner. The new owner completes the first page of the form and gives the form to the DMV office. The DMV office collects the sales tax from the new owner if the new owner is required to pay any sales tax. If the new owner applies for an exemption from NYS sales tax for a reason different from a gift, use form DTF-803 (Claim for Exemption). You can see the current sales tax rates by jurisdiction external link at the Department of Taxation and Finance web site.

Vehicle plates and stickers. To avoid penalties, remove your vehicle plates, and your windshield registration sticker and inspection sticker. Do not allow the new owner to use your vehicle plates or stickers.

Surrender your vehicle plates to a NYSDMV office or transfer your vehicle plates to another vehicle. Do not keep your vehicle plates. Your driver license can be suspended if your liability insurance lapses and you do not surrender or transfer the vehicle plates.”


seekingwolf's avatar

Very helpful, thank you.

I hate those new golden plates but oh well.

Once I switch insurance, I’ll switch the ownership over and give my mom the new title for safe keeping.

echotech10's avatar

New Owner…New tags. I am in Florida, but was originally from New Jersey, I don’t like to admit that or say that too loud, lol In both states, when the ownership of the vehicle was transferred, the tags became void. This is mainly for insurance reasons. They don’t even let you do it with courtesy/vanity tags either. My father was an amateur radio operator, like I am, and when he died, I was given his car. I wanted to keep his tags, because they had his call sign. I wanted these tags as a rememberence to him. The state (and my insurance carrier) said “no”. So there you have it. Good luck.

hearkat's avatar

@echotech10: What’s so bad about NJ (other than the cost of living)? Perhaps you weren’t around long enough to discover its diversity.

I agree that NY is probably like NJ rules: the plates go with the owner, not the vehicle; so your Dad can use the plates on his next car.

echotech10's avatar

@hearkat I was born and raised in NJ, lived there 27 years. Cost of living,weather, and other factors played into my departure from NJ. Cost of auto insurance was too much to bear.

hearkat's avatar

@echotech10: I’ve lived here since my family moved here when I was an infant, over 46 years ago. I love having 4 seasons and being within 2 hours of beach, mountains, 3 major cities (with a myriad of activities), and having great local farms to get fresh food from. I figure that the cost of living is high in part because it’s a great region in which to live. It’s far from perfect, and could be improved on a governmental level. Talking with people around the country and the world, I don’t get much negative feedback about being from here, so I don’t see why you wouldn’t want to admit it.

seekingwolf's avatar

My dad won’t be taking the plates back. He already has his own car and won’t be getting another one. Does this mean I could keep them or no?


I’m from Upstate NY. Some people here make fun of NJ about how it’s an expensive helhole to live in.

I’ve visited NJ as well as the NYC area and I didn’t like those places at all. Too expensive and too much concrete. I haven’t been to NYC in 7 years even though I’m 9 hours away by car.

NY may have higher taxes than other states but the truth is, you (thankfully) miss out on many taxes just by living far away from NYC. I find living Upstate is quite cheap. Rent too.

hearkat's avatar

@seekingwolf: It makes no difference if your father doesn’t want the plates anymore… The only way you could keep those plates is if you keep the vehicle in his name. Once ownership is transferred, the new owner can get new plates or transfer plates that they had on a different car. Someone provided a link to the NY Motor Vehicles above. The new blue and orange NY plates are “throwbacks” to the plates they had when I was a kid.

As for your view of NJ having too much concrete, you obviously only saw a small portion of the Garden State. The area around NYC is very urbanized, and the suburban sprawl I’ve witnessed over the past 40 years is very sad. But there are still areas of NJ that are remote and rural. I am not a city person, but it is nice having NYC, Philly, and DC so close for concerts, sports, museums, and other cultural events.

seekingwolf's avatar

Okay, I guess I understand now. Looks like I’ll give in and get the ugly new plates.

—I’m sure the suburbs are nice if you like suburbs (I don’t, I prefer the country like you) and it’s good to know that there are some rural areas but anyway, NJ and NYC are way too expensive and far away for my tastes anyway. When bands I like tour, I’ll only see them in upstate NY, PA, or OH. The drive is often a few hours less. That’s how far away I am.—

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