Can you sell a car without a title? Is it legal?

Can you sell a car without a title? Is it legal?

As a passionate car lover, I often came across various queries regarding the sale or purchase of a car. Recently, I came across a query, can you sell a car without a title? Well, in my opinion, it depends on various factors and we will be discussing those factors and conditions in this blog. This will clarify your doubts about selling a car with or without its title.

Can you sell a car without a title?

A missing title doesn’t mean you can’t ever sell a car. Just that you will always need to perform some extra work or tasks to provide proof of ownership. The certificate of title declares the legal ownership of the vehicle.

The first thing you should do if your title has gone is to check your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles by visiting their website or heading over there in person, as every state has different laws.

How to sell a car without a Title?

Let’s say you bought a large piece of property and you weren’t aware that the previous owner collected a dozen of rusting cars. These cars don’t have titles and you understandably don’t want them. So, you need a way to legally sell the cars without a title.

A title is required paperwork to sell a car, so when it goes missing, you need to replace the paperwork. Here are a few ways to do this;

Create a bill of sale:

A bill of sale is not as good as a title. It just means I’ve received money for something. You have to both the bill of sale and some kind of proof of ownership to transfer ownership. Again check your state DMV as some places require a bill of sale to be notarized declare liens or list the current odometer reading.

What does your bill of sale need?

For a sale between two individuals, it should state who sold and bought it. You should also describe the item, make and model, VIN number, sale date, and the word “no warranty expressed or implied”.

Talk to a Junkyard:

Junkyard is those who buy junk. They are your local experts on buying and selling vehicles without a title and they know what to do. A salvage yard will probably snap up your junkers without the title and sell them for scrap. If you can prove you bought the property where the cars were left.

Talk to a Junkyard to but car without title

Request a Duplicate Title:

If you can’t find the title, you can apply for a duplicate title. This usually just requires completing an application online and sending in a copy of your license with the application fee. Every state varies in the details.

For Example:

If you complete an application for a lost title in Arizona but are still paying for the vehicle. The DMV will mail the duplicate title to the lien holder of the record. While Texas wants the lien holder to complete the application. So, the most important thing to do is to be in touch with your state’s DMV.

Get a Copy of the title from your lender:

If you owe money on the car, the process is even easier for Can you sell a car without a title. The bank is technically the owner, and as the lien holder, it can provide a copy so you can sell the car. If the lien holder is a bank or credit union with local branches versus online-only.

They will likely just have you find a buyer and bring them into a branch for the official transfer of ownership. Alternatively, you can pay the large payoff amount if you have the cash on hand, releasing the lien.

For example;

If you still owe $20,000 on your Dodge Charger, that might not be an option. You do have to satisfy the lien requirements, regardless of whether it is a bank loan or your vehicle is being used as collateral. You have the lien release with the title in order to sell that vehicle property.

Transferring Ownership:

Sometimes transferring ownership without a title is fairly easy, especially in cases of gifts or inheritance. Maybe your parents bought you a car, but the title is still in their name also, if your grandparents passed away and willed the vehicle to you.

transferring owner ship of car without title

In this case, you will need proof the original owner doesn’t want the car anymore such as a notarized letter from the current owners or an executor of a will. Moreover, if the title is in your parents’ names, all you have to do is get them to sign the title and head to your local DMV to change the vehicle registration to your name.

Certain States do not require titles for Older vehicles:

Now, in the case where your Grandpa died and left you his “49 Buick”. All you need to some additional paperwork. Bring the will or letters of administration, a copy of the death certificate, and the title. Complete the application, be ready to provide proof of insurance, and pay the fee.

Declare your title Lost:

If you bought a project car to fix, like a winter beater or potential future race car without ever seeing a title and now want to sell the car. You’ll need to go through the process for a lost title. Fortunately, filing a lost title is the same process as a duplicate title request. The cost to replace a title depends on where you live in the U.S.

What about a Car with a Salvage Title?

Let’s say you bought one of those sketchy “Run Good, $400 cash” cars you found on Facebook Marketplace. Odds are the vehicle has a salvage title, which means the vehicle was involved in an accident, flood, fire, or some other serious issue that caused the repair cost to exceed the cash value.

What about a Car with a Salvage Title?

Instead of being repaired, it was sold with a salvage title, announcing that the vehicle should not be driven, and should be sent to a salvage yard. Salvage title vehicles are safe only if the proper repairs are completed. Once fully repaired and inspected plus another fee. A salvage title can become a rebuilt title, proving the vehicle is safe to drive.

Note: Experts never recommend buying salvage titles for newbies and running a VIN search is always recommended.

Additional Tips:

Now, we will share some additional tips about whether Can you sell a car without a title;

  1. Contact your state DMV for Specifics.
  2. Gather the Necessary paperwork to prove ownership.
  3. Be ready to draw up a bill of sale or complete a title transfer as needed.
  4. Do a thorough research if buying a car without a title and look for a complete paperwork trail.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q. Can I sell a car in California without a title?

To sell a car in California, you need to use an Application of replacement or Transfer of Title (REG 227) to transfer the ownership.

Q. Is it illegal to sell a car in Texas without a title?

Yes, selling the car without a title in Texas is illegal. However, you can check the official Department of Motor Vehicles website or visit a department to know your state vehicle rules.

Q. What do you need to sell a car in Kentucky?

To sell a car in Kentucky, you need these things;

  • Vehicle Certificate of Title.
  • Application of Kentucky Certificate of Title or Registration (Form TC96-182).
  • Affidavit of Incomplete Transfer (Form TC96-3) for selling a vehicle.

Q. How to sell a car privately in CT?

Now, we will tell you how you can sell a car privately in CT:

  • Collect all the vehicle documents and bills of sale.
  • Allow the buyer to get the car.
  • Transfer the title and report the sale. Remove your plates and cancel your insurance and registration.

Did You Get Your Answer?

So, we learn that a no-title car can be a pain in the trunk but it is one that can be overcome. If you still need to offload a salvage title car, it is still legal to sell, but you must disclose the salvage title status. The exact process by which Can you sell a car without a title depends upon your state. Moreover, it depends upon sometimes the age of the car or how you came to possess it.


Engr Hamza

I am Engr. Hamza Yousaf, a Blog writer with 5+ years of expertise in Blog writing. Sharing accurate and user-friendly info makes me an expert blog writer. I am sharing unique ideas and solution to different queries on My other publications are on sites like, and This is all about me thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *