How to Sell a Car Without a Title

quick, easy, painless way to sell a junk car

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Thinking you need junk car removal and no title, no problem? Think again.

Selling a car without a title can throw a kink in the works of what is typically a straightforward process of selling your car.

What is a car title?

A car title is a legal document that proves you own a vehicle. In some states it is referred to as a pink slip (not to be confused with the things used when people get fired from their job). When you purchase a car, you get the title from your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. When you sell a car, you transfer the title to someone else. Titles are issued for all kinds of vehicles, including trucks, RVs, motorcycles and motorized boats.

There are different kinds of titles. A car that’s never been severely damaged has a “clean” title. If the vehicle is totaled (severely damaged in an accident and deemed not worth the price of repairing it), it will receive a “salvage” title. If the vehicle was declared totaled after an accident, but someone chooses to buy it back from insurance and rebuild it, the car receives a “rebuilt” or “reconstructed” title before it is sold. This ensures the new buyer knows the vehicle was once declared undriveable and underwent major repairs.

Can I sell my junk car for cash without a title?

When you sell a used vehicle, you’ll need to present the title to the new owner. They’ll need it for two reasons. They’ll want to see the title, so they know the car really belongs to you (i.e. that it wasn’t stolen) and you have the right to sell it. Giving them the title also allows them to transfer the car to their name. That ensures they can show they legally own the car and have the right to do with it as they please.

If you’re planning to sell to a private party or licensed dealer, you will almost certainly need a title. (There are a few states that don’t require a title to sell to a private party, but that’s rare.)

Worried about missing paperwork? Here’s some good news: some salvage yards will indeed pay cash for cars without a title, but it does add some extra complications. Here’s what you need to do to sell your vehicle if you don’t have title in hand:

How To Sell a Car without a Car Title

When you sell a used vehicle to a private party or a dealer, you need to prove that you own the vehicle and that you can legally sell it. In the absence of the title, this may be difficult. However, you may not need a title at all if you can prove in another way that you own the vehicle.

Check with Your Bank

First, check with your bank to see if they have the car title. When you take out a car loan, the bank owns that vehicle until you pay them back. As a result, they keep your title until it’s debt-free and they repossess the car if you miss out on too many payments. If you have an outstanding loan on the vehicle and your bank or lender still has the title, find out the process for transferring the title to the person purchasing your car.

Get a Duplicate Title

Second, if you’re selling your car to a private person or dealer, chances are you’ll need to file for a lost title, get a duplicate title, or jump through other hoops before that person takes possession. Remember that all states have different processes regarding duplicate titles. If you need more info, check the last section of this article, but you can also ask your local DMV office.

Provide License and Registration Instead

If you can’t get your hands on a title but you want to sell your car for cash, you may still be in luck. Selling your car without a title usually involves providing some extra documentation to prove that you own the car. We pay cash for junk cars with no title upon occasion. Many other car junkers are willing to offer you cash for cars with no title. Instead, they’ll take the driver’s license and a valid registration (so act fast if your registration is expired). Check with a local or national car junker for more information on their requirements.

Call and Ask Salvage Yards

You may not need a title at all. The best way to find out is simply to ask salvage yards who buy cars for cash nearby. You’ll usually need a valid registration and driver’s license.

  • First, speak with a reputable salvage yard nearby. Ask whether they ever pay cash for cars without a title, and if so, what their process is.
  • If they tell you they are unable to buy your car without a title, simply move onto the next company and do the same thing. Salvage yards that buy cars without a title do exist--we sometimes buy cars without titles ourselves! Typically, you’d need to have your registration and license in lieu of the title.
  • When you find someone who’s willing, follow their process to the T.

How do I file for a lost title or get a duplicate title?

The requirements for filing for a lost title and getting a duplicate title vary widely from state to state. It’s a good idea to check with your state’s DMV office to find out how you get a new title.

Here are a few examples to demonstrate the vast differences between states:

  • The process for getting a duplicate title in Missouri is straightforward. You fill out a form and mail it in with your payment. In some cases you may need to send in a second notarized form, but that’s it. If you haven’t heard back from the DMV in two weeks, you can file an inquiry to find out where you application is in the process.
  • If you need a new title in New York, you first have to figure out if the car was ever issued a title. Cars sold before 1973 may only have a registration. Then you have to fill out the proper form to get a new title. In some cases it is possible to sell a car in New York without a title. In that case, the buyer and not the seller may be responsible for applying for the new title.
  • Oregon has an interesting policy that allows you to sell a car and apply for a new title at the same time – but only if the vehicle is not subject to certain odometer requirements and at least one current owner will remain on the title. If neither of these conditions are met, the owner must apply for a replacement title before they sell the car. Oregon also notes that they will not issue a replacement title if you know who stole and currently has possession of your title.

Junk Car Medics Can Buy Cars with No Title

There you have it – that’s how you can sell your junk car for cash without a title. Do you have anything to add? Drop us a line!