Selling a car can be tough especially if you choose to do it privately. If you’re like most sellers, you’ll likely run online ads and try to manage the many texts, emails and calls yourself. Unfortunately, this is never easy for most sellers. Here at Motor On Wheels, we’ve come across hundreds of frustrated sellers who can’t seem to find serious buyers for their used cars.
If you’ve now managed to sell your car privately or to a car dealer like Motor on Wheels. Congratulations! However, you’re still unsure of one thing – do I keep my plates when selling a car in Texas or what to do with them?
Well, the Texas State Law effected on Jan 1, 2008 permits you to retain the title of your car after selling it. The law applies solely to light trucks and passenger vehicles and allows for a smooth transition of personal details to the new owner for the sake of identity and accountability.
Why should I keep my license plate?
Here are three simple reasons you should keep your license plate after selling your car in TX:
Avoid any potential liability
The vast majority of car buyers are genuine people, but it doesn’t hurt to stay cautious when selling a car. This is because a buyer may intentionally fail to register the vehicle with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) even after you’ve agreed on the same as part of the deal. If this happens, you’ll be liable for any parking tickets and traffic offenses committed by the buyer because the car will still be registered in your name.
Prevent fraudulent use
Imagine selling your car to a buyer who uses it for human or drug trafficking businesses. It will not only ruin your reputation, but it could also book you space behind bars. So you want to ensure you retain the plate to avoid such terrible situations.
Transfer to a new vehicle
Do you have personalized plates or plates with sentimental value to them? You may choose to keep and transfer them to your new car. The only catch here is that the new vehicle must be the same model as the old one. In this case, you don’t even need to alter your current entry in the DMV registration database.
How do I sell my car in TX and retain the plates?
The Texas DMV outlines specific regulations and procedures you must abide by to sell your car successfully. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to sell your used car based on the Texas State laws:
Step 1: Find a buyer
Looking for a car buyer can be a tedious process if you decide to use the old, conventional way. But it doesn’t have to be this way if you choose to work with a reputable car dealership like Motors on Wheels. We’re the only car dealership in TX that guarantees to write you a check within an hour of agreeing on the price of your car. We also promise to match and even surpass the best deal you find anywhere, including on Carmax, Texas Direct Auto, or VROOM. And if you’re also looking to buy a used car, we have plenty in our regularly updated inventory.
Step 2: Hand over the title certificate
The state’s laws on car ownership require you to hand over a legal form that specifies such information as the license plate number, identification of the car, name & address of the registered owner. Also, you must submit the odometer disclosure and a bill of sale.
Pro tip: Don’t forget to keep copies of these documents for use as a reference should anything happen in the future.
Step 3: Smog inspection
The smog inspection is one of the several annual checks that seek to ensure your car is safe for use. When selling the car, the Texas DMV requires that you surrender a valid smog certification before approval.
Step 4: Fill the bill of sale
The bill of sale is an official form that contains your car’s information, including its make, model, year of manufacture and odometer reading. These documents also come with a box where you’re required to indicate how much you sold the vehicle.
Step 5: Inform the Texas DMV of the sale
You must notify the DMV that you’re no longer liable for any misuse, recklessness, or fraudulent activities related to the vehicle. Write a notice of transfer to the DMV offices to offset you of any future legal responsibility.
Step 6: License plates transfer
The law permits you to either keep the plates from the sold car and use them on a new vehicle or discard them altogether. But if you do not intend to do either of the above, you can submit the plates to the DMV offices for safekeeping and as reference for any future legal matter.
Step 7: Paperwork submission
The final step is to submit all the paperwork to the DMV. If you’re selling your car privately, we recommend you take the documents physically to the DMV offices near you. But if you sell your vehicle to a dealership like ours, we will complete the paperwork on your behalf.
The ownership transfer process takes a maximum of two months, after which the buyer receives a new title certificate.
So, do I keep my plates when selling a car in TX?
The best way to lawfully retain your car’s license plates after selling it is by complying fully with the Texas DMV guidelines. This includes submitting the title, filling the necessary documents, transferring the plates, and notifying the DMV of the same.
Don’t forget to submit all the paperwork yourself to the nearest DMV offices to initiate the official transfer of car ownership and issuance of a new title certification. By following these guidelines, you’ll secure the rightful possession of your license plates and also avoid any potential issues with the law in the future.
If you have question about selling your car, please give us a call. Even if you don’t decide to sell it to us, we’ll be more than happy to guide you in the right direction. We always give unbeatable instant cash deals. And that’s not all; we even offer you a free ride home or come to pick up the car ourselves if you live within San Antonio, Austin, or Houston, TX.