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Tennessee Selling a Vehicle

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Selling a Vehicle in Tennessee 101

As in any state, Tennessee requires you to follow specific legal requirements when you are planning to sell a vehicle to a private party or to a car dealership. This helps you avoid any legal ramifications and ensure that you have proper documentation for the sale of the vehicle. You have to first remove the license plates from the vehicle. You must also sign the title over to the party that is buying your vehicle.

How to Sign Over the Title to the Buyer

You are responsible for completing the title and delivering it to the buyer. Under “Assignment of Title By Registered Owner,” you fill out the sale price, odometer reading, date of sale, and name and address of the buyer. You also sign and print your name. If more than one person owns the car and is listed on the title with the conjunction “and,” then both must sign their names. The buyer will sign that they have accepted the title.

You also fill out an odometer disclosure statement. Tennessee does not require a bill of sale; however, the buyer may request one. If they do, then you would fill out and sign the information on that as well.

Replacing a Lost Title

Just like in any other state, you cannot sell a vehicle without a title. If you have lost your vehicle’s title, you can get a certified copy of the title. If the vehicle has a lien, the lienholder should fill out the application for this certified copy of the title or give you an original release of the lien.

You apply for a duplicate title by mail or in-person through the county clerk in the county where you live using this application. The fee for a duplicate title is $11.

A list of local county clerk’s offices is available here.

Transferring License Plates

You cannot transfer license plates to another vehicle owner. The new owner will need to acquire their own plates. However, you can transfer license plates between different vehicles that you own. You can also transfer license plates to a vehicle you purchased from a car dealership. Your local county tax clerk’s office will help you with this process.

Gifting a Vehicle

Sometimes you may want to give a vehicle to someone rather than sell it; for example, you may want to give an old car to your child. In addition to signing the title, you fill out an Affidavit of Non-Dealer Transfer of Vehicles and Boats. The form makes a distinction between giving the vehicle to a relative, who is exempt from having to pay sales taxes, versus giving it to a non-relative, who will have to pay sales taxes. The form also asks for your name, the receiver’s name, information about the vehicle, and any considerations such as money or work performed.

Last Verified:
Mar 30, 2023