How To Sell My Car In California

How To Sell My Car In California

Here are some guidelines for selling your car in California.

Documents Needed To Sell Your Car In California

Certificate of Title

Complete the reverse side of the title:

  • Buyer name and address.
  • Buyer signature.
  • Your signature
  • Odometer disclosure if the car is less than 10 years old.
  • Rebuilt from salvage disclosure if needed.

Several factors determine the transfer fee. You can use the fee calculator on the California DMV website.

Odometer Statement

Complete the Conforming Odometer Statement on the back of the title. Automobiles older than 10 years are exempt.

If there’s no room on the title, you must complete the Reg 262 form.

Notice of Transfer of Ownership

California requires a Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability (REG 138). It releases you from liability if the car is:

  • Used in a crime.
  • In an accident.
  • Abandoned.
  • Ticketed.

Smog Certification

To sell most gas and diesel cars or light trucks, you need smog certification that’s 90 days old or fewer.

  • Year model 1976 and later gas.
  • Year model 1998 and later diesel.

A smog certificate isn’t required for vehicles less than 4 year-models old.

Bill of Sale

California doesn’t require a bill of sale. It’s still a good idea to have one so that you and the buyer have a legal record.

PrivateAuto includes a bill of sale with a vehicle listing.

How To Replace a Lost Title in California

Fill out and sign Reg 227 to get a duplicate title.

Vehicle History Report

By offering to provide a vehicle history report, you present yourself as a trustworthy seller.

When you sell your car with PrivateAuto Premium, you get a vehicle history report at no extra cost.

California License Plates

California standard plates remain with the car after the sale.

Personalized or custom plates belong to you. Remove them before you hand over the keys and title.


Your listing on PrivateAuto includes state-specific documents. Vehicle history report included.