Documentation Required When Selling Used Cars


When you sell a car through a dealership, the paperwork is handled. However, having the proper documents is best if you are selling a vehicle to another private party. The requirements vary from state to state, so check with your local DMV. A few of the most important documents include the vehicle title, bill of sale, and odometer disclosure.

Bill of Sale

The bill of sale is a key document for any used car buyer. It’s proof that you paid for the vehicle and that the seller has transferred ownership to you. It includes a detailed description of the car (year, make, model), VIN, and odometer reading at the time of purchase. It also lists the payment details, such as whether you paid a lump sum or in installments. It can also include terms and conditions, such as the warranty or “as is” clause. While a bill of sale isn’t a requirement in all states, it can prevent disagreements with buyers after the sale. Besides, it’s a necessary step for transferring the title and registering your new car. It can also help you determine whether or not sales tax is required for the transaction.

Emissions Inspection

In some states, car buyers must undergo an emissions inspection before selling. Many of these inspections and tests are a part of the same safety and vehicle inspection required for vehicles to be registered or renewed in those states. The emissions inspection entails checking whether a vehicle’s internal onboard diagnostics system (OBDII) is “ready” for the test and whether the malfunction indicator lamp or check engine light is functioning correctly. Some common repairs and maintenance procedures can reset the OBD II monitors, resulting in a “not ready” reading. It is usually a quick and simple test, and including the results in your paperwork is a good idea. It will make the car more appealing to buyers and lead to a smoother, quicker sale, especially when you use the best website to sell car online Huntsville AL.

Title Transfer

Most states require that a vehicle title be transferred to the new owner before a sale is complete. It is usually a simple process but can get complicated if the seller still has a lien on their car and needs to work with the buyer’s bank or lender to transfer the title. It’s also important to have a signed bill of sale and odometer disclosure that lists the complete terms of the sale. It can protect you from liability if a dispute arises after the sale.

Owner’s Manual

Many newer cars have numerous features that require some setup, and the owner’s manual is the best place to find out how to use them. From the basics, such as how to activate the windshield wipers and turn on the automatic lights, to learning how to use more advanced systems like the voice command system or the ability to roll down your windows with your key fob, the manual has the answers you need. The owner’s manual also contains important safety information, such as airbag locations and properly positioning your seat for maximum protection.

Additionally, it carries a section with technical data that reveals facts and figures about your vehicle ranging from its dimensions to engine size. It can be vital to retrieving in an emergency and will help you quickly provide essential information to a potential buyer.


Assuming it’s transferrable, a warranty can boost the value of your car. It is especially true for extended warranties covering mechanical breakdowns and roadside assistance. You can check your owner’s manual or call the dealership where you bought the vehicle to learn more details. If the car has a factory warranty, it should automatically transfer to the new owner. However, if it has a third-party warranty, it will require more steps and may come with an additional fee. Getting your paperwork will help you sell your vehicle faster and at the best possible price. Whether selling to an individual or a dealer, having all the right documentation ready will pay off. Having everything in one place means less hassle for everyone involved.

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