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How To Transfer a Car Title in Michigan

You need to know how to transfer a car title in Michigan to…

  • Buy or sell a used car
  • Add or remove owners
  • Give a car as a gift
  • Donate an auto
  • Transfer ownership in a divorce settlement
  • Inherit an automobile

You’ll need the certificate of title. If it’s lost or damaged, request a duplicate title from the Michigan Secretary of State (SOS) office.

Step 1. Check for a Clear Title

If there’s a lien on the title, you’ll need to get a lien release before the transfer.

Step 2. Complete the Title Assignment by SellerSection

Complete the section at the bottom of the front of the certificate.

  • Buyer name and address
  • Date of sale
  • Sales price
  • Odometer disclosure
  • Seller name, address, and signature

Step 3. Complete Additional Documents

Other documents you may need include:

  • Proof of insurance
  • Proof of lien satisfaction, if applicable
  • Driver’s license

Step 4. Apply for a New Certificate of Title

You need to have an appointment with a Michigan SOS branch office. To avoid paying penalties, apply for a Michigan title within 15 days of buying the car.

Step 5. Pay Fees and Taxes

Buyers pay a 6% use tax. County and local taxes may apply. Transfers to family members, including in-laws, may be exempt.

The title transfer fee is $15. For titles with a lien attached, it’s $16. You can get instant title service for $5. Other fees may apply.


To transfer a certificate of title in Michigan, you need to Complete both the title assignment on the back of the certificate and apply for a new title.

You may need other forms, depending on your circumstances.

When you buy or sell a used car with PrivateAuto, you get electronic state-specific documents you can sign straight from the platform.

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