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Illinois Selling a Vehicle

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When you sell a titled vehicle in Illinois, you need to ensure you complete the ownership transfer information listed. You also should provide the selling price so that the Illinois Secretary of State (SOS) knows how much the buyer owes for taxes to transfer the title. You also need to remove the license plate and return it to the ISOS if it is registered and plated.

How Do I Sign the Title?

An Illinois vehicle title provides the legal owner’s name and a blank underlined space with “Signature(s) of Seller(s)” indicated on the lower left corner. There also is a space where you print your name. The legal owner must sign the title transfer using the exact same name as indicated on the title. If the names says “Michael” and you sign “Mike,” the ISOS could refuse to transfer the title and require a proper signature. That is to protect lawful owners of vehicles

What If I’ve Lost the Title?

You cannot transfer legal ownership of a titled vehicle in Illinois without completing a formal title transfer. If you lost the title to a vehicle that you want to sell, the ISOS issues duplicate titles by completing an Application for Vehicle Transaction, Form VSD 190. ISOS will not issue duplicate titles within 15 days of issuing an original title or within 30 days of issuing a duplicate title. That helps to protect lawful owners against fraud.

What Information is Included in the Bill of Sale?

An Illinois Bill of Sale is not required to lawfully transfer vehicle ownership but does help by providing transaction details in addition to the selling price. Details often including odometer readings and any condition issues as well as terms of the sale.

Why do I Need to Include the Odometer Reading?

The odometer provides the vehicle mileage and helps to accurately track the amount of mileage from one owner to the next. The odometer reading affirms the seller and buyer agree the information is accurate as shown on the vehicle’s odometer.

Why do I Need a Bill of Sale?

A bill of sale helps to affirm you sold the vehicle and attempted to lawfully transfer ownership. If the buyer does not properly title and license the vehicle, the ISOS will consider it to belong to the person listed on the title as the lawful owner. That could be a problem if the vehicle winds up in an injury-causing accident or criminal activity. The bill of sale helps to prove the transaction occurred with any relevant information indicated to protect the seller as well as the buyer.

May I Transfer Plates?

You can transfer a license plate from a vehicle that you sold to a vehicle that you owned, but you cannot transfer the license plate to the buyer. The license plate is yours until you return it to the ISOS upon sale of the vehicle to which it is listed in state records.

What if I Don’t Transfer Plates to a New Vehicle?

When you sell a car and do not transfer the license plate to another vehicle, you must surrender the plate to the ISOS. The ISOS will fine vehicle owners if they retain license plates and do not insure the vehicles to which they are registered.

What if I am Giving the Car to Someone Rather than Selling It?

You must transfer the title and indicate the vehicle is a gift to the recipient. In such cases, the ISOS will collect a registration fee based on the vehicle’s value as determined by third parties, like Kelley Blue Book.

How do I, as an Executor, Transfer the Car to an Heir?

An estate executor has the legal authority to sign the appropriate title transfer and bill of sale documents in accordance with ISOS requirements for a vehicle title transfer via a private sale.

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Last Verified:
Aug 18, 2022