Selling a used pickup truck in CA
January 29, 2016 9:24 PM   Subscribe

I have some questions about selling a used truck via private party sale. Process, plates, smog.

I'm selling my late husband's truck (Ford Ranger). He bought it new over 15 years ago following his death, I had the title transferred to my name earlier this month and now that I have the new title, I"m selling it. I was hoping to sell it to a friend but so far I haven't been able to connect with anyone I know so I listed it on Craigslist and have a couple of prospective buyers coming on Sunday. I'm in California.

It's in really good shape and I have all the service records, a clean Carfax report, and I think it's priced right. I'm asking for cash only.

I haven't sold a car before. When I have a buyer and their money in hand, what do I do? Here's what I understand:

1.Sign the front of the title (1a) and fill in the odometer reading.
2. Then both the buyer and I sign and date the front and print our names.
3. Then I also fill out the Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability along with the buyer and then I submit that online or mail it in.
4. The buyer fills out the back on their own time and submits to the DMV

Other questions: My brother (who does not live in my state) says I should remove the plates before they drive away with the truck. Really? Do I need to do that?

I just read that it needs to have Smog certificate within 90 days of the sale date. Is that the case? I had it smogged on 10/26/15 if I sell it on Sunday that will be 97 days ago. Do I need to have it re-smogged tomorrow?

What else am I missing?
posted by otherwordlyglow to Work & Money (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
In California, standard (not vanity or special interest) plates stay with the car. The CA DMV's page on car sales is a pretty good guide.
posted by zippy at 9:50 PM on January 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yes you need to do the smog check within 90 days. Plates stay with the car in California. If you or the buyer are AAA members do the sale at a AAA office and have them do all the paperwork and then you can be sure everything is done properly.
posted by brainmouse at 10:23 PM on January 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Oh, I *am* a AAA member. I hadn't realized I could do that there. Okay, smog tomorrow. TOo bad the AAA offices aren't open on Sundays.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 10:39 PM on January 29, 2016

I also like to make a Bill of Sale, stating: date, that the car (truck) is sold As Is, and license #. Make a duplicate (one for you, one for buyer) and both sign both copies.
posted by artdrectr at 11:13 PM on January 29, 2016

Response by poster: Was just going to ask about that since I found it online. It seems optional but useful?
posted by otherwordlyglow at 11:17 PM on January 29, 2016

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