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Are you considering selling your car? If so, you’ve likely learned that you’ll need a title to do so. This document is necessary to legally transfer car ownership. So, if you're missing it, you may have a problem on your hands and wonder how you can sell your car without a title.

Below, we explain how necessary a car title is as well as your options for selling or trading a car without this document.

Can I Sell A Car Without The Title?

can you sell car without title

If you’re trying to sell a car, you need a car title. This piece of paper is a legal document that identifies you as the owner. It also provides other information such as the identifying features of the vehicle as well as if there is a lien against it.

However, papers can get lost or damaged. If something like this happens, you’re left without a car title. This can make it more difficult to sell or trade your car.

Fortunately, there are ways you can get around this issue and either acquire a copy of your title or resort to an alternative solution.


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How To Sell My Car Without A Title

To either sell a car with no title or obtain a new title, you’ll have to go through several steps:

Find Out If Your Vehicle Is Exempt

Before searching for ways to get a new title or an alternative document, first find out if your car is exempt from needing a title.

Your vehicle would be exempt if it is an older model. For instance, the state of Maine only requires models from 1995 and newer to have a title. So, a car from 1990 would not need a title to be sold legally.

However, every state has different laws regarding vehicle title exemptions and your local Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) can assist with this.

How To Replace A Car’s Title

If your car is not exempt, you will need to put in a new title request. This can easily be done through your DMV.

You’ll need to submit a duplicate title application and have the following information prepared to complete the process:

  1. The year, make, and model of your car

  2. Odometer reading

  3. Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

  4. Lien information

  5. Driver’s license

  6. Form of payment

What If I Still Can’t Get A Title?

what if i cant get a duplicate title

If you still can’t get a car title, whether it’s because your car is exempt or there isn’t a history of you owning the vehicle, you still have options.

Bill of Sale

A Bill of Sale, or Title Exempt Bill of Sale, is a common way to sell a car if you don’t have a title. This document works like a car title and provides similar information such as:

  • The date of purchase.

  • Purchase price.

  • Year, make, and model.

  • VIN.

  • Odometer reading.

  • Signatures of buyers and sellers.

Depending on which state you live in, you can either obtain a Bill of Sale form from your DMV or create one yourself and have it notarized.

Bonded Car Title

Another alternative to a car title is a bonded car title, otherwise known as a Certificate of Title Surety Bond. Similar to a Bill of Sale, you can obtain this document through the DMV.

Unlike the Bill of Sale though, a bonded car title simply verifies that you are the vehicle owner. In some states, you might need this document before getting a Bill of Sale.

Once you’ve replaced your car title or obtained the appropriate alternative documents, you’re ready to sell or trade your car. We discuss your options below.

Who Buys Cars Without The Title?

Sell Your Car With Junkyards

Many junkyards will accept a car without a title. However, you will need an alternate document such as a Bill of Sale or some other form of documentation proving your ownership of the car.

Honest junkyards will not buy a car without some proof of ownership. So, you will still need to put in some work to obtain the proper documentation.

Do Dealerships Accept Trade-Ins Without Titles?

It’s trickier to trade in your car with a dealership if you don’t have a title. Legally, dealerships cannot accept a vehicle that does not have a title.

If you’re able to get a replacement through your DMV, then you will be able to go through with the trade-in. However, you’ll need to go through another avenue if you can’t get a replacement title.

Find Private Buyers For Your Vehicle

Some buyers might be willing to purchase a car without a title, especially if it’s a vintage or antique model. It is important to note, though, that transferring car ownership without documenting it is called title jumping and is illegal.

Therefore, a legal car sale with a private buyer will require obtaining a duplicate car title or a Bill of Sale.

You Can Always Use CarBrain!

CarBrain buys all types of vehicles including those without a title. We’ll even buy your car if it has a lien on it.

We do need some form of documentation, though, that verifies that you are the owner of the vehicle. Our team is happy to help you obtain the appropriate paperwork to make the process smooth and easy.

CarBrain Buys Cars Without A Title

sell your car without a title

Wondering “who buys cars without a title near me”? Your search ends with CarBrain. We buy junk, damaged, and vehicles without titles nationwide. Here’s how it works:

  1. Fill out our online form with information about your car and get an instant offer.

  2. Accept our offer.

  3. Schedule a free pick-up and get paid in the next 24 to 48 hours.

We will assist with your missing title and figure out your next steps for obtaining the correct paper so that you can sell your car.

Try CarBrain today!

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Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Get a Car Title if I Lost Mine?

Lost car titles can usually be replaced at your local DMV. You’ll need to apply for a duplicate title tag. If this isn’t possible though, you can also apply for a bonded title.

Note that if you have a lien on your car, your lien holder will most likely have your title. You will first need to pay off your lien to obtain the title.

What Are Common Reasons for Not Having a Car Title?

Some of the most common reasons for not having a car title include:

  • Losing a car title

  • The title getting damaged

  • Theft

  • Never receiving a car title

  • A lien holder having the title

What Documents Do I Need to Sell a Car Without a Title?

To sell a car without a title, you’ll need to obtain alternative paperwork confirming you as the owner of the vehicle. This will usually involve obtaining a Bill of Sale from the DMV.

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