Whether you’re selling or gifting a vehicle in the state of Arizona, there are important steps you need to take to legally transfer the title. The title transfer process has some similarities in every state, but there are specific steps you need to know in order to transfer a car title in Arizona. Review these steps today to safely sell your car privately.

Check the VIN

Your car has a unique vehicle identification number, or VIN. This number is used to verify the identification of your vehicle for registration, insurance and other reasons. If you have the wrong VIN on your title, you may not be able to legally transfer it under Arizona law.

Reach out to the Arizona Department of Transportation, or ADOT, to learn how to correct a clerical error on your title before you complete the title and registration application. This can help save you and the buyer a lot of stress and hassle throughout the process.

While rare, there may also be an incorrect VIN due to fraud. Don’t agree to accept a title with a fraudulent VIN or transfer one to a seller until the issue is resolved, or you may be liable for the incorrect title.

Car VIN

Complete the Title and Registration Application

The state of Arizona Motor Vehicle Division, or MVD, has a title and registration application you’re required to fill out. Here are some of the details you’ll need to fill out when gifting or selling your car privately:

  • License plate number
  • Lien information, if applicable
  • Your address, date of birth and driver’s license information
  • List price
  • Vehicle make, model and other information

This application can be completed on paper or online. The same form is used to apply for a title, registration, duplicate title, dismantle, salvage or stolen vehicle application, so read the form carefully and be sure you enter the correct information.

Fill Out a Sold Notice

Arizona also requires sellers to fill out a sold notice. You can find this notice on the MVD site. This notice helps verify that you’ve sold your vehicle and someone hasn’t stolen it. Not every state has this requirement, but it’s part of the necessary steps when selling your vehicle in Arizona.

If you don’t fill out this notice, there may be consequences. For example, if the buyer commits a crime or abandons the vehicle and you haven’t filled out this notice, then you may be responsible for the towing bill or may be approached by law enforcement officers regarding the vehicle. Even if you aren’t liable for damages and towing bills, it can still be stressful situation as law enforcement determines the true current owner of the car.

Remove Your License Plate

You should always remove your license plate in Arizona when selling your vehicle. You can reuse your plate and register it with another vehicle, or simply destroy it to prevent it from being used in a scam. The buyer can legally drive the vehicle without your license plate, but they should promptly install their own license plate and have it registered to their new vehicle.

Just like not filling out a bill of notice, failure to remove your license plate can cause misunderstandings with law enforcement. Your old license plate may still be connected to your name, so any traffic violation or other issue with your recently sold vehicle may create issues for you. Avoid stressful situations by removing your plate and fully transferring the title to the new owner.

Person removing license plate from car with a screwdriver.

Sign the Vehicle Title

You must sign the back of the vehicle title as part of the transfer process. Some other states need to be signed in the front, but Arizona residents must find the appropriate box on the back of the title and sign it.

This process may be performed online. Electronically signing and transferring a title can be a convenient alternative, but there are some specific requirements to be eligible for this process:

  • No liens on the vehicle
  • Current emissions testing or transfer in a non-emissions area
  • Valid Arizona title and registration
  • Not a commercial vehicle

Have the Title Notarized

An Arizona title must be notarized by a notary public. This verifies your signature is correct and that a title hasn’t been fraudulently signed. Once you have a notarized vehicle title, you’re able to safely pass it on to the buyer.

Check for Any Liens

A vehicle with a loan or lease can only be sold with a lien release form. This form verifies that the debt has been fully repaid, either by the buyer or seller, and the lender is fully aware of the transfer.

This form is just as important as the car title in cases where there is a lien on the vehicle. If you don’t verify that there are no liens on the vehicle, or if you don’t fill out an applicable lien release form, then the lienholder may take the vehicle or require payment.

Pay Any Title and Registration Fees

You must pay title and registration fees, as well as a vehicle license tax, to transfer a car title in Arizona. Here are some of the title transfer fees you may need to pay as part of this process:

  • Title fee
  • Registration fee
  • Air quality research fee
  • Vehicle license tax

These taxes and fees can vary depending on your type of vehicle, its age and its original value. Once collected, the state of Arizona uses these funds to pay for city, town, county and state roads. Some of the fees and taxes also go to the county and city/town general funds.

Person with many one hundred dollar bills

Review Any Power of Attorney or Personal Representative Paperwork

If you’re attempting to transfer a title as a personal representative or power of attorney, then you need to fill out and review the necessary paperwork. This additional paperwork verifies your legal ability to transfer a title or perform other actions on behalf of another individual.

Enjoy Electronic Title Transfers With PrivateAuto

The Arizona MVD makes it easy to transfer a car title in Arizona, and PrivateAuto makes it easy to arrange a private sale. List your car today to enjoy secure funds transfers and assistance with the ADOT title transfer process.