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How to Get a Title for a Car

A title establishes a car's ownership. Here's how to get one.


  • Step 1: Make sure liens have been released Make sure all the liens on the car have been released.
  • TIP: When you pay off a bank-financed car, the bank will send you a letter releasing the lien on it.
  • Step 2: Obtain the pink slip Have the seller -- and lienholder if applicable -- date, sign, and give you the Certificate of Title -- also known as a pink slip -- in order to release ownership. Confirm that the mileage entered in the designated area is correct and that your name is entered on the pink slip exactly as it appears on your driver's license.
  • Step 3: Sign the pink slip Sign and date the pink slip.
  • Step 4: Go to Department of Motor Vehicles Compile the car's vehicle identification number, its mileage, the bill of sale, and your copy of the title with proof that it has been signed over to you. Take this information with the title plus any other paperwork required in your state to your Department of Motor Vehicles. A new title will be issued to you.
  • TIP: Check with your local DMV to see what paperwork your state requires.
  • Step 5: Consult the DMV if you lose your title Consult your Department of Motor Vehicles if you lose your car's title. The steps required to replace a car's title vary in each state.
  • FACT: American car manufacturers began stamping VIN numbers on their cars around 1950.

You Will Need

  • Released liens
  • Certificate of Title
  • Odometer reading
  • Driver's license
  • VIN
  • Bill of sale
  • Department of Motor Vehicles
  • Bank (optional)

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