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How to Sign Over A Car Title?

How to Sign Over A Car Title?

If you don't know how to sign over a car title, you need to check the VIN, the right names, the and right place. Then, sign over the right blank line using blue or black ink.

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The vehicle title is one of the most important documents you'll see in any car selling process. When the car's ownership is transferred from one person to another, the title should be changed, and then the title should be signed off by the right person. 

Since the car title is a legal document, it is important for you when selling a car to understand what exactly is written in the document so you can review it before signing it over.

This article provides you with all tips and tricks you need to keep in mind to help you better learn how to sign over a car title. 

What is the car title? 

To transfer ownership, you need to sign over a document called the car title. The car title is one of the most sensitive legal documents you will sign over, among other documents, when transferring ownership of a certain vehicle. When sliding over a car title, you have a legal document indicating that the earth the current owner of this car. 

While the car title is produced by your local department of a motor vehicle in your home state, most car titles have the same information, including:

  • The car's owner and address 
  • The vehicle identification number 
  • The vehicles make, model, and Year 
  • Information about any lien, including the lien’s contact information. This way, legal authorities confirm that the debt is paid completely before transferring ownership to another person 
  • The license numbers
  • Detailed information about the vehicle like the wait

What are the different types of car titles?

Before you sign over any car title, you must understand exactly the type of this car title. Many of these titles could involve a certain legal component that prevents you from selling this vehicle in certain states. Here are some of the common car titles that you might come across:

  • A clean title

A clean title indicates that the vehicle does not have any problem and was not involved in major accidents that disturbed the structure of the vehicle, which means the vehicle is safe to drive.

  • A clear title

A clear title indicates that the vehicle does not have any debts and ownership can be transferred without any problem

  • A salvage title

A salvage title indicates that the vehicle was involved in major issues. Keep in mind that the salvage title prevents you from finding good insurance coverage because it indicates that the vehicle has a lot of problems and might not be 100% safe to drive

  • A rebuilt title

A rebuild or sometimes referred to as a reconstructed title, indicating that the vehicle was first a salvage title, and then it was fixed and received this type of title. This information is very important because it indicates no guarantee that the car is in very good condition. Therefore, it is recommended that you stay away from rebuilt titles as much as possible if you don't want to deal with headaches in major car repairs. 

Why signing over a car title? 

When you buy a car from a private seller, the private seller should sign over the title to release the ownership to you. Then, you take this signed title to your local department of motor vehicles and issue a new title or do what’s called “vehicle registration”.

You need to register your vehicle within 30 days after purchasing the car. Failing to register the vehicle within this timeframe can lead to penalties and other actions that might differ depending on your area. Keep in mind that the 30 days’ time frame is not the same in every state, and it's recommended that you review your DMV website for more details about your state specifications. 

Once the DMV receives the signed title, they will issue a temporary registration for you that you can take immediately on the spot. Then, they will mail you the actual registration within a couple of weeks. 

Once you receive the registration, you're all set, and the vehicle is yours. 

Keep in mind that some states might require additional documentation as part of the ownership transfer procedure. For example, certain states might ask for a bill of sale or even a transfer of ownership. Both documents should be available on your local DMV website, where you can download them. You can also request a hard copy from the DMV office and have it ready before finalizing the deal and selling your car. 

How to sign over a car title? 

Now you know how important it is to sign over your car's title when selling it to someone else, let's take a closer look at what exactly you need to keep in mind when signing over the title

  • Check the VIN number 

Although you had the title for a long time, and you know for sure that it's the right vehicle, it doesn't hurt to look at the VIN number and make sure it matches the vehicle correctly. If there is any problem with the VIN, the buyer might have trouble registering the vehicle, which could bring many headaches. 

Therefore, whether you're selling or purchasing the vehicle, you must look at the VIN and make sure it matches the actual car. 

  • Check the odometer reading 

As part of the vehicle's title information, the odometer reading should be listed to indicate the vehicle's age. Therefore, it is recommended that you compare the current odometer reading to the listed number on the vehicle's title and make sure that it's not changed or does not look lower than the current reading. 

  • Review any liens 

If you don't already know, you can't transfer ownership if you still owe some money on this vehicle. Therefore, it is recommended that before you sign over the title, you check for any liens and make sure that it's all taken care of before selling the vehicle. Failing to do so can prevent your local DMV office from transferring ownership to the new buyer. 

  • Choose the right ink 

It is recommended that you sign over the car title using either black or blue ink. It is never allowed to choose to sign with a pencil or even using a corrector.

Many people prefer to use blue ink because it can be distinguished easily from the other black text on the car title. Whatever works best for you, make sure that you're using ink that holds better on the paper. 

  • Check if you need a bill of sale 

Depending on your state's regulation, you might need a bill of sale to accompany the title ownership transfer. Therefore, it is recommended that you go through the DMV office website or talk to one of their customer representatives to get an idea about if a bill of sale is needed and whether there is a certain form to use. 

Of course, if you're selling your car to a dealership or a company like Cash Cars Buyer, you don't have to worry about all of this hassle because they are knowledgeable enough to understand what's needed in terms of paperwork

  • Sign with the correct name 

Although you must sign with your correct name, it is important to highlight, especially if you change your name for any other reason. For example, if you got married and changed the family name, you don't want to use the new name because you must stick with whatever name listed on the title a long time ago. 

  • Sign on the blank write line

Since the title has multiple black lines, many car owners sometimes sign on the wrong blank line. If that happens, many delays should be expected because you might need to file a correction form and send it to your local DMV office. But, of course, the expected consequences of this mistake might differ depending on your state. 

Therefore, take a closer look at the title and make sure that you are signing in the right location. Keep in mind that there is no room for corrections, and you can't simply scratch over the wrong signature and move it to somewhere else. 

How to sign over a car title when there are two owners? 

There are situations where you are Co-owning the vehicle with another person. For example, if your spouse’s name is listed on the car title as a colon or, you might need to bring them and design with you.

Of course, requiring the other person to sign with you depends heavily on what's written exactly on the car title. For example, if both your names were listed and “or” in the middle, it indicates that one of you could sign over the car title, and the ownership transfer can happen successfully. 

On the other hand, if the car title has both of your name listed and there is “and” in the middle, it indicates that both of you have to be present, and both of your signatures should be put on the title for a successful transfer of the ownership. 

Other things to consider when signing over a car title 

There are some special circumstances where signing over a car title does not follow the typical convention. For example, if you're signing over the car title to transfer ownership to a family member or donate the vehicle, a different procedure might be necessary.

Since the procedure can differ significantly depending on your home state, we recommend that you go through your local DMV office customer service or website for a more detailed description of what needs to be done for each situation. 

How much does it cost to transfer a car title? 

Transferring ownership is not free, and there is a certain fee that you must pay. Of course, the buyer is responsible for paying the fees for ownership transfer, or it could differ depending on whatever deal you decided on.


Title transfer fees differ significantly depending on your home state. For example, in Illinois, it costs about $95. However, the number can also differ depending on the purpose of the title transfer. For example, if you're transferring the title to another family member or donating your vehicle, you might not need to pay the full $95.

Finally, if you were late on registering your vehicle and passed the 30 days threshold, you must take care of any penalties and fees specified in your home state. Keep in mind that again the 30 days threshold should not be the same in your home state, and we recommend that you go through the DMV website for more information. 


The car's title is one of the most important documents in any car selling process. Whether you're selling the vehicle or purchasing it, you need to take a closer look at the title and make sure that it has all the necessary information.

Although the process sounds straightforward, signing over the car title is a sensitive process. Therefore, it must be done in care to prevent complications and delays in the transfer of ownership. If you don't know how to sign over a car title, you need to check the VIN, the right names, the right place, sign over the right blank line, and choose blue or black ink.

If you don't want to deal with all the hassle in the car selling process, you might need to consider a much easier way without worrying about all paperwork. Cash Cars Buyer can help you remove your car within one to three days only while taking care of all necessary paperwork! 

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  • Describe your vehicle’s type and condition
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