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Ohio Selling a Vehicle

Home 9 US State 9 Ohio DMV Services 9 Ohio Selling a Vehicle

What Are The Basics?

When you sell a car in Ohio, you must comply with certain legal requirements to ensure the sale is properly documented and to avoid penalties. You must remove the license plates and sign the title.

How Do I Sign the Title?

You must sign your name in the seller’s section of the reverse side of the title in the presence of a notary and give it to the buyer, along with a bill of sale. You will also provide a copy of the lien release, if applicable.

What if I’ve Lost the Title?

You cannot sell a vehicle without a title. If you’ve lost it, you’ll need to obtain a duplicate title from the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles. You should do this in person at a Title Bureau or County Clerk of Courts Title Office, bringing a copy of your driver’s license as identification. The fee is $15.

What Information is Included in the Bill of Sale?

  • Buyer’s name and address;
  • Date of sale;
  • Mileage odometer reading; and
  • Sale price.

Why do I need to Record the Odometer Reading?

Federal and state laws require that you provide an accurate odometer reading at the time of sale. If the actual odometer reading is inaccurate, you must estimate what you believe the reading should be. You must record the odometer reading with either a notary or deputy clerk present.

Why do I Need a Bill of Sale?

In Ohio, you must present a bill of sale when selling a used vehicle. A bill of sale also is important because it proves you’ve transferred the vehicle and can settle legal disputes between you and the buyer should they arise later.

May I Transfer Plates?

License plates cannot be transferred to a new owner. The owner will need to obtain new plates.

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

If you give the car to someone, such as a relative, you still sign the title and remove the license plates. You note, however, by sales price on the title and bill of sale that the item is to be a gift. Before giving a car to anyone, check with a tax adviser. Some gifts result in additional taxes to the giver.

How Do I, As Executor, Transfer a Car to an Heir?

If you are an executor of a deceased person’s will and transfer the car to the heir, you will still sign the title and remove the license plates. You note, however, that the car was inherited rather than purchased.

Upon the death of a married resident who owned at least one automobile at the time of death, the surviving spouse may transfer vehicles valued up to $65,000 to themselves. If the car is being transferred to a surviving spouse but was not transferred through a will or beneficiary designation, the surviving spouse appears in person at the Title Bureau. They fill out form BMV 3774, bring copies of the death certificate and original title and identification.

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Last Verified:
Mar 30, 2023