How to Transfer a Car Title in South Dakota?

A certificate of title is a document that proves vehicle ownership. When selling or purchasing a used vehicle in South Dakota, transferring the title is one of the most important steps.
In private-party car sales, title transfer needs to be a legal and safe process. This South Dakota title transfer guide gives you everything you need to know to sign over a vehicle title in SD.

To learn more about the importance of the title, read our complete guide to vehicle titles.

The Process of Transferring a Car Title

A car title transfer makes the buyer the new owner of the vehicle. A title transfer has two stages:

1. Seller and buyer meet in person. The buyer pays the seller for the car. Both fill out the physical certificate of title and sign. The buyer is now the legal vehicle owner of the purchased vehicle.
2. The buyer registers the newly-bought vehicle and formally translates the title to their name with the South Dakota Motor Vehicle Division (MVD).

The first step (the seller and buyer meeting) is the most important. The second step is a necessary formality.

As the car seller, you will formalize the transaction when you transfer ownership of the car by signing the title over to the buyer. You’ll take off your license plates and finally be done with the car.
As the buyer, you become the legal owner as soon as the seller transfers the title to your name. You will finalize with the South Dakota MVD to get title and registration in your name. You’ll also get new South Dakota license plates and vehicle insurance.
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Important Info for Signing the Title Certificate

Always keep the following in mind when signing the title certificate:

Only use black or blue ink. Any other color will void the title.
Do not erase anything or use white-out.
Always write neatly.
Never use nicknames.
Mistakes make the document invalid.

Front of Title

The front of a South Dakota title has a section for lienholders. If there is a lien on the title, the lienholder will need to release the lien in the green-colored section shown below.

Back of Title

The back of the title has sections for the seller (red), and the buyer (teal). Here is the process for filling out the back of a South Dakota title.

Finalize Ownership Transfer with MVD

You’ve done the deal and are the proud owner of a new-to-you vehicle. Your work is not yet done. There are still steps you need to take to finalize the title transfer with the state of South Dakota. You also need to get license plates and register the car with the South Dakota Motor Vehicle Division.

You will need to submit the following documents to your local MVD office:

An application for motor vehicle title and registration (form MV-608).
Proof of ownership
Bill of sale
The transferred certificate of title
Lien release (if applicable)
Identification (driver’s license or other government ID)

To avoid any fees or penalties, make sure you register the car right after transferring the title.

South Dakota Bill of Sale

In the state of South Dakota, a bill of sale is required for transferring the title. A bill of sale is a legal document that acts as a receipt for the transaction.
These are the components that must be in a bill of sale:

Your full name and signature
The other party’s full name and notarized signature
Price of the car
A description of the car
The make, model, and year of the car
Date of the transaction
A warranty disclaimer stating the car is being sold as-is

PrivateAuto includes a bill of sale as part of our standard in-app transaction process. At the right stage in the transaction, both the buyer and seller will be encouraged to e-sign the South Dakota bill of sale from within our app.

The whole deal, including the bill of sale, can be done in just a few minutes when you meet to test drive the car and agree to buy it. It’s fast, simple, and convenient. You won't have to keep track of all the documents; you will always have the electronic bill of sale accessible in your PrivateAuto account as proof that the transaction was legitimate.

South Dakota Title Transfer Forms

If you buy a car from a private seller, the seller must provide you with the following documents:

Completed certificate of title
Completed the odometer disclosure section on the application for motor vehicle title and registration (form MV-608)
Complete a bill of sale (form MV-016)
Proof of lien (if applicable)

Once the seller has provided you with all the paperwork, you need to visit your local South Dakota county treasurer and submit the following:

All paperwork provided by the seller
A completed application for motor vehicle title and registration (form MV-608)
Payment for 4.5% sales tax
Payment for title transfer fee: $10

South Dakota License Plates

Some states allow the license plates to remain with the vehicle when sold. Unfortunately, South Dakota requires that the plates be removed from the car. As the buyer, you’ll apply to your county’s local Treasurer’s Office for new license plates.

South Dakota license plate fees are based on the weight and year of the vehicle, in addition to its intended use.

To learn more about plates and how sellers should handle them across the US, see our state-by-state guide to license plates for a used car transaction.

Buy and Sell Cars in South Dakota With PrivateAuto

Complete the sales process easily and legally with the help of PrivateAuto. This platform uses technology to help you find verified buyers and sellers, sign documents online, and find out what steps you need to take in your state to finish the sale.

See how it works today to buy and sell vehicles privately in South Dakota.

How to Sell Your Car Through Private Auto

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We make selling your used car safe and easy. The sales process consists of a few simple steps:

1. Gather necessary documentation
2. Register on PrivateAuto and get verified
3. List your car
4. Set your terms
5. Vet incoming offers
6. Pick a buyer
7. Schedule a test drive
8. E-sign documents
9. Get paid, instantly
10. Transfer title
11. Remove license plates
12. Cancel car insurance

Interested in Buying a Used Car in South Dakota?

If you’re looking to buy a used car, browse our used cars for sale in South Dakota. Whether you’re looking for a Ford F, a Chevrolet Silverado, or a Tesla Model S, you’re sure to find a great deal on the ride of your dreams.

South Dakota Title Transfer FAQ

Can you transfer ownership of a vehicle without a title in South Dakota?

No, you will not be able to transfer ownership of a vehicle in South Dakota without a title. Fill out Form VR-018 to get a duplicate title if you have proof of ownership of the vehicle.

How to transfer a vehicle title when you have an out-of-state title?

How to request a duplicate vehicle title in South Dakota?

Where can I go to transfer a vehicle title in South Dakota?

Should I remove my license plates when I sell a used car in SD?

What is the safest method of payment when selling a SD vehicle?

How much do license plates cost?

What is the South Dakota Motor Vehicle Administration?