How do I complete a motorcycle title transfer to change ownership in CA? California

Transferring Motorcycle Titles in California

Completing a motorcycle title transfer isn’t much different from completing a regular passenger vehicle title transfer.

Because the most common type of title transfer takes place when you’ve sold or purchased a vehicle during a private party transaction, let’s look at those steps. (Dealerships, after all, handle all that business for you.)

  1. The seller will locate the title and record the odometer reading (if the motorcycle is fewer than 10 years old) and then complete, sign, and date it.
  2. The buyer will check the odometer reading to make sure it matches the number the seller recorded, and then he will also complete, sign, and date the title.
  3. The lienholder (if there is one) will complete, sign, and date the title.
  4. The seller will hand the title and any other applicable paperwork to the buyer, who will make an appointment at his local CA DMV to complete the title transfer process.
  5. The buyer (who is now the new owner) will bring the title, all other applicable paperwork, and the $15 title transfer fee to the DMV.

As stated above, this is the most common kind of title transfer scenario. If you’re dealing with a different situation (such as a gifted motorcycle or a transfer between family members), the steps won’t be that different but you will want to consult an agent at your local CA DMV office to get the details about any extra fees, taxes, or paperwork.

Points to Remember When Transferring a Motorcycle Title

Before you head to your local CA DMV, remember that:

  • A title transfer must take place within 10 days of selling/purchasing the motorcycle.
  • California doesn’t require a bill of sale when you’re transferring titles for motorcycles or any other vehicles; however, it’s a good idea to complete one anyway for your own records.
  • You don’t have to provide proof the bike passed a smog check; California doesn’t require them for bikes.
  • Most people take care of the title transfer and motorcycle registration during the same trip. That means you’re going to need to bring all of the required documents and fees for registration, too. Unfortunately, fees and taxes for motorcycle registration vary greatly, depending on your exact situation; fortunately, the CA DMV website provides a fee calculator to get you started.

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