Buy or sell a vehicle the right way with a safe, legal title transfer process. Find out how to transfer a title in Pennsylvania for a smooth buying or selling experience. Review the documents you need and the state-specific steps you need to take to sign over a car title in PA.

What You Need to Transfer a Pennsylvania Title

Perhaps the most important thing you need is a buyer and seller. Once you negotiate a purchase price and make a deal, then it’s time to legally transfer a title. Review the documents you’ll need after you buy or sell your vehicle in PA.

Many of these requirements are similar to ones in other states, but Pennsylvania has its own documents, fees and steps required. You may be familiar with much of the process if you’ve sold or purchased a vehicle in another state, but it’s important to review these Pennsylvania-specific requirements.

Title With Notarized Signatures

Bring the Pennsylvania title or ask the vehicle owner to bring a certificate of title. This can be a duplicate title or the original. This needs to be signed before you can receive a new title. The signing process has to be done before a notary public in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, so don’t sign it until you and the other person are at an office of a notary public before signing the back of the title.

It’s a good idea to check the vehicle identification number and compare it with the vehicle title. This is an important step that helps reduce the risk of fraud. If you buy or sell through the PrivateAuto platform, the title will already be verified for added peace of mind.

Woman at table signing document.

Proper Identification and Ownership of Vehicle Documents

Both the buyer and seller need to bring proper identification and vehicle ownership documents to complete the application for certificate of title transfer in PA. Your Pennsylvania driver’s license or another acceptable Pennsylvania photo ID should be all you need for personal identification.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has several acceptable proof of ownership documents the vehicle owner can use to prove ownership:

  • Pennsylvania certificate of title
  • Out-of-state certificate of title
  • Manufacturer certificate
  • Statement of origin
  • Certificate of salvage
  • Court order, in specific situations
Person holding silver pen and signing document.

Taxes and Fees

You’ll also need to pay taxes and fees to title and register the vehicle. The title transfer fee and other expenses are typically paid by the buyer, but be sure to make this clear during the negotiation process. Fees vary, so check the current rates as you prepare to purchase a vehicle from a private party.

Proof of Insurance

The Pennsylvania Department of Motor Vehicles, or DMV, requires proof of insurance for license plate or temporary license plate transfer. The vehicle buyer needs to provide one of these proofs before legally registering the vehicle and completing the transaction:

  • Insurance policy declaration page
  • Insurance ID card
  • Copy of insurance application to the Pennsylvania Assigned Risk Plan
  • Insurance policy number and other required information

Buyers won’t be able to legally register their vehicle without proof of insurance. Be sure you schedule signing over the title to be sure the buyer understands this requirement and has time to receive an insurance policy on the vehicle.

How to Transfer a Title in PA

Now that you’ve reviewed all the documents necessary, it’s time to follow the steps to transfer a title in PA. Whether you’re selling or buying a car in Pennsylvania, here are step-by-step instructions for legally transferring vehicle ownership:

  1. Sign and notarize the title, making sure the sale price is listed
  2. Report odometer reading on PA title
  3. Remove vehicle registration plate, if the seller
  4. Buyer insures vehicle and brings proof of insurance
  5. Buyer registers vehicle and pays taxes and registration fees

Out-of-State Title Transfer

The steps to transfer an out-of-state title in Pennsylvania are generally the same. The taxes and fees can vary, but the following items are still required by the DMV:

  • Completed out-of-state title transfer application
  • Valid out-of-state title
  • Proof of identification
  • Vehicle insurance
  • Pay sales tax and fees

Pennsylvania Clean Vehicle Program

Buying or selling a vehicle manufactured in 2008 or later are covered under the Clean Vehicle Program. With this program, qualifying vehicles need to be certified by the California Air Resources Board.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation or PennDOT and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection work together to ensure vehicles in the state maintain emissions requirements in all 50 states.

There are many exceptions to this program, but you’re required to ensure the vehicle passes if it isn’t excluded from the program. Here are some vehicle types that don’t need to pass emissions tests as part of the Clean Vehicle Program in PA:

  • Vehicles with over 7,500 miles
  • Vehicles used exclusively for off-highway driving
  • Emergency vehicles
  • National security exemption vehicles
  • Vehicles transferred by court decree or inheritance
Desk with calculator, documents, toy car, pen, and coins.

Buy and Sell Cars in Pennsylvania With PrivateAuto

Complete the sales process easily and legally with the help of PrivateAuto. This technology-driven platform helps you find verified buyers and sellers, sign documents online and receive state-specific steps to complete the sale. See how it works today to buy and sell vehicles privately in Pennsylvania.