3 Tips for Transferring Your Vehicle's Tag and Title

If you have plans to sell your vehicle, you'll need to handle the transfer of the vehicle's tag and title. The title is the piece of paper that proves ownership of the vehicle; it will transfer ownership to the vehicle's new owner.

Your tag, also known as your license plate, is the metal plate on your car that displays your vehicle's identifying information. How you handle the transfer of your tag varies depending on your plans to purchase a replacement vehicle. Here are some tips to follow when transferring your tag and title.

1. Start With Your DMV's Website

Your local DMV's website is a wealth of information and resources when it's time to transfer a tag or title. Many tasks that you used to have to visit the DMV in person to complete can now be handled online. Even if your task can't be handled online, your DMV's website will tell you what paperwork you need and the associated fees. 

For example, assume that you've misplaced your vehicle's title. You must have a physical title in order to sell a vehicle. The DMV website can tell you how to apply for a replacement title, what documentation you must supply, and the required fees for the new title.

2. Schedule an Appointment With a Local Notary 

When it's time to transfer your vehicle's car title to the new owner, you'll need to have a notary present for the transaction. A notary is an impartial individual with the authority to witness the signing of a document.

Many banks and tax companies offer notary services, or you can search in your area for a mobile notary service. Make sure that you bring your ID to your notary appointment. Depending on your state's requirements, you may also need to fill out forms that disclose the vehicle's damage and odometer reading. 

3. Decide If You're Going to Replace the Vehicle

Once you've sold your vehicle and transferred the title, your next step is to transfer the tag. If you're going to replace the vehicle, you can often transfer your old license plate and tag to the new vehicle.

Check the requirements for your state, but usually, both the vehicle you're transferring the tag from and the one you're transferring the tag to must be legally registered and have liability insurance. There is a fee to transfer the license plate and tag, but this fee is usually cheaper than paying for a new license plate for your vehicle.  

If you're not going to use the tag, you will turn it in to the DMV, either in-person or via the mail.