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Title Transfer

DMV Title Transfer

Title Transfer
DMV Certificate of Title

A California DMV title transfer occurs when one party agrees to sale a motor vehicle to another party. The parties agree on a price and exchange payment. The next step to occur is transferring the title. A title transfer is actually not a complicated process and can be handled at the local San Diego DMV field office in a few hours if the documentation on the title is correct and the vehicle has passed a smog check. If your documentation to complete the title transfer is not correct the San Diego DMV will bring you back for 2nd and possibly 3rd visit. A simple process just turned in to a complete hassle, right? is on a mission to keep the San Diego DMV from hassling motorists who require a California DMV title transfer. Outlined  below are the steps to complete a title transfer right, the first time:


The following steps are critical to achieving success the first time! Whether you are buyer or purchaser please fill properly endorse your signatures in the proper location. In the picture above take notice that each line has a number, we will provide instruction for each line of a California Certificate of Title.

Line 1a. If only one registered owner is listed under the registered vehicle ownership box, then that person must sign line 1a.

Line 1b. If there are 2 parties in the registered owner section of the title, then the 2nd registered owner must sign line 1b. A forward slash(/) indicates and and both parties must endorse lines 1a/1b for the title transfer to occur and be legally binding. If “or” separates the 2 registered owners then either party can release interest in the motor vehicle.

Odometer Disclosure – A odometer disclosure is only required if a vehicle is less than 9 model years old. If the vehicle age exceeds 9 model years, the odometer disclosure is not required and can be left blank. The buyer and seller must sign the perspective blocks and fill in the exact mileage of the vehicle. If the mileage is not actual then check the “not actual” box. If the odometer exceeds the mechanical limits then check the “exceeds mechanical limits” box.

Line 2 – If the vehicle has a current lienholder the lienholder must endorse line 2 of the certificate of title to release legal interest in the vehicle. If the legal owner is a business the signature must be countersigned. For example, if the business is named Todays Loans the clerk for Todays Loans would sign the certificate of title and then stamp or write Todays Loans above the name.

The front of the title is complete, now it is time to complete the back side of the title.

Line 3a– The new registered owner(Buyer) is requried to print his name as legibly as possible on line 3a.

Line 3b– If there is a co-owner they must print their name on line 3b.

Line 4– The new registered owner must enter their address on this line

Line 5– The new R/O must enter their city and state

Line 6– If the physical address is different than the mailing address then enter that address on this line

Line 7– The mailing address city, state, and zip will be entered on this line

Line 8– Is for trailer coaches(Travel Trailers) only.

Line 9a- The new registered owner is required to sign line 9a to assume interest in the vehicle

Line 9b-If there is a 2nd registered owner then he or she must sign line 9b to assume interest in the car

Purchase Price– Enter the amount in whole dollars only your paid for the vehicle. If it is a gift, then indicate this fact.

New Legal Owner- STOP- Before you enter anything in this section please make sure that you have the correct information from the financial institution that you borrowed the money from. The financial institution will provide you with their name and address along with their 3 digit ELT ID so the lien can be properly recorded for your California DMV title transfer.

Sellors Responsibility

The seller of a motor vehicle is required to submit a release of liability to the San Diego DMV as soon as possible after releasing interest in the vehicle. Outlined below, is 2 ways to submit the Release of Liability.

  1. Mail the top copy, which should be filled out with the buyers information and the sellors information.
  2. Bring the information to The Tag Shop and we will submit the Release of liability and provide you with a time stamped copy.

Caution: Submitting the Release of Liability on time is imperative. Without proof you submitted this form the seller is still responsible for any monetary damage caused by a negligent operator. 

3. The sellor must complete a Smog Check inspection prior to selling the vehicle. A smog check certificate is valid for 90 days from the date of issuance.

Buyers Responsibility

  1. The buyer has 30 days to present the documents to the San Diego DMV before penalties are assessed. If the procedures above were followed correctly, your title transfer should have went smooth. Unless of course the San Diego DMV was hassling you for no reason what so ever. The Tag Shop DMV San Diego can transfer title of a vehicle in minutes, hassle free.


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