Illinois Car Titles


May 23, 2023


min read

Car titles in Illinois

A car title is a legal document that establishes ownership of a vehicle. In Illinois, the car title is also referred to as a "Certificate of Title." It contains essential information about the vehicle, such as the make, model, year, and vehicle identification number (VIN), as well as the owner's name and address. If you are planning to buy, sell, or transfer ownership of a vehicle in Illinois, understanding how car titles work is crucial. This blog will provide an in-depth explanation of car titles in Illinois, including how to obtain one, transfer it to a new owner, and other important aspects of this topic.

Obtaining a Car Title in Illinois

When you purchase a new or used vehicle, you must obtain a car title in your name. The process for obtaining a title differs depending on whether you purchased the vehicle from a dealer or a private seller:

Dealer Purchase

When you buy a car from a dealership in Illinois, the dealer usually handles the title and registration paperwork for you. The dealer will submit the necessary documents to the Illinois Secretary of State's office within 20 days of the sale. Once the paperwork is processed, a new title will be issued in your name and sent to you by mail.

Private Seller Purchase

If you buy a car from a private seller, you will need to handle the title transfer process yourself. To obtain a title in your name, you must:

1. Obtain the signed title from the seller, including the odometer disclosure statement, if applicable.

2. Complete Form VSD 190 (Application for Vehicle Transaction(s)).

3. Provide proof of auto insurance that meets the state's minimum coverage requirements.

4. Pay the required title and registration fees.

5. Submit the completed application, along with the seller's title and required fees, to your local Illinois Secretary of State's office.

Transferring a Car Title in Illinois

When you sell a vehicle, it is your responsibility as the seller to ensure that the title is properly transferred to the new owner. To transfer a car title in Illinois:

1. Sign the title over to the buyer by filling out the "Assignment of Title" section on the back of the title.

2. Provide the buyer with a signed, completed Form VSD 190.

3. Remove the license plates from the vehicle, as these should not be transferred to the new owner.

4. Notify the Illinois Secretary of State's office of the sale of the vehicle by completing the Seller's Report of Sale (Form VSD 703) and submitting it to the office.

The buyer will then need to follow the same steps outlined above for obtaining a car title from a private seller.

Lost or Damaged Car Titles

If your car title is lost or damaged, you will need to obtain a duplicate title before you can sell or transfer ownership of the vehicle. To apply for a duplicate title in Illinois:

1. Complete Form VSD 190 (Application for Vehicle Transaction(s)) and select the "Duplicate Title" option.

2. Provide proof of identification, such as a driver's license or state-issued ID.

3. Pay the required duplicate title fee.

4. Submit the application, identification, and fee to your local Illinois Secretary of State's office.

Title Issues and Liens

Title Issues

If there is an issue with the title, such as an incorrect name or a missing VIN, you will need to resolve the issue before transferring the title. This may involve completing additional forms or providing supporting documents to the Illinois Secretary of State's office.


If a lien exists on the vehicle, the lienholder must release the lien before the title can be transferred. The lienholder will typically sign off on the title or provide a separate lien release document. Once the lien is released, the title can be transferred to the new owner.


Understanding the process of obtaining, transferring, and managing car titles in Illinois is essential for vehicle owners in the state. Whether you're buying or selling a vehicle, ensuring that the title is properly transferred and documented will help protect both parties and ensure a smooth transaction. By following the steps outlined above and working with your local Illinois Secretary of State's office, you can successfully navigate the car title process in Illinois.

Disclaimer: Yendo is not a provider of financial advice. The material presented on this page constitutes general consumer information and should not be regarded as legal, financial, or regulatory guidance. While this content may contain references to third-party resources or materials, Yendo does not guarantee the accuracy or endorse these external sources.