Texas Car Titles
May 11, 2023
A Comprehensive Guide to Car Titles in Texas
A car title is an essential document that proves ownership of a vehicle. In Texas, the car title is also referred to as a "Certificate of Title." It contains important 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 Texas, understanding how car titles work is crucial. This blog will provide an in-depth explanation of car titles in Texas, including how to obtain one, transfer it to a new owner, and other important aspects of this topic.
Obtaining a Car Title in Texas
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:
When you buy a car from a dealership in Texas, the dealer usually handles the title and registration paperwork for you. The dealer will submit the necessary documents to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within 30 days of the sale. Once the paperwork is processed, the DMV will issue a new title in your name and send it 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 130-U (Application for Texas Title and/or Registration).
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 county tax office.
Transferring a Car Title in Texas
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 Texas:
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 130-U.
3. Remove the license plates from the vehicle, as these should not be transferred to the new owner.
4. Notify the Texas DMV of the sale of the vehicle within 30 days by completing the Vehicle Transfer Notification online.
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 Texas:
1. Complete Form VTR-34 (Application for a Certified Copy of Title).
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 county tax office or the Texas DMV's regional service center.
Title Issues and Liens
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 Texas DMV.
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 Texas 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 DMV or county tax office, you can successfully navigate the car title process in Texas.
- Title transfer - https://www.txdmv.gov/sites/default/files/form_files/VTR-346.pdf
- Form 130-U - https://www.txdmv.gov/sites/default/files/form_files/130-U.pdf
- VTR 34 form - https://www.txdmv.gov/forms/application-certified-copy-title-vtr-34