Selling a Car Without a Title: Is it Possible?

Selling a car without a title makes a typically straightforward process more complicated, but it is sometimes possible in some states.

selling a car

Why are car titles such an integral part of the selling process and how can you replace them? (And why are they so hard to keep track of in the first place?)

What Is a Car Title?

A car title is a legal document that states the basics of the car, such as the make, model, mileage, vehicle identification number and the name of the owner. These documents are generated when you buy or sell a car. Boats, RVs and motorcycles all have titles too.

What if the Bank Has It?

If you don’t physically have your car title, it’s probably because the bank does. In most states, the lender keeps the title until you pay off the loan. Selling a car without a title is impossible in this case, because you can’t sell the vehicle until you’ve paid off the loan. Make your final payment, and the lender will send you the document.

What if the Title Is Lost?

If you used to have the title but now you can’t find it and you want to sell your car, you have to order a new one. Whether it was lost in the hustle and bustle of moving or you simply misplaced it (or possibly accidently tossed it in the trash), to get a replacement you must request one from your state’s department of motor vehicles. You may have to pay a fee, then wait for the new document to be mailed to you.

What if No Title Exists?

In some states, no titles are issued for vehicles that are more than 25 years old. If you bought an old car, there may be no title associated with its vehicle identification number. In this case, you will need a notarized bill of sale to make the purchase valid and complete.

Finding a Buyer

If you’re having trouble selling a car without a title, consider selling to a wrecking yard. This is an especially good option if the vehicle is old and not in good condition. You can get cash up front for the scrap metal, and you’ll rest assured that your car’s parts were recycled responsibly.

Keeping Your Title Secure

If you’d rather not go through the trying process of selling a car without a title, treat that slip of paper like you would your passport. Put it in a lockbox at your bank or keep it in a waterproof and fireproof safe in your home.

Selling a car without a title may be difficult, but selling your car to Western Auto Wrecking isn’t. Contact us if you’re thinking about getting rid of your car, and get an estimate on how much it’s worth.