A vehicle bill of sale is a legal document used to transfer ownership of a motor vehicle from one person to another. Most commonly used for a car, a bill of sale proves that a sale took place, and in many US states, is required to register a vehicle at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
You’ll also see a vehicle bill of sale referred to as a car bill of sale, an automobile bill of sale, an auto bill of sale, an auto purchase agreement, a car contract, a car purchase agreement, a DMV bill of sale, and a vehicle sale receipt.
Use our free fillable vehicle bill of sale template to easily buy or sell a car, or find your vehicle bill of sale by state below.
Table of Contents:
- Why Do I Need a Vehicle Bill of Sale?
- How to Use a Vehicle Bill of Sale [For Buying or Selling a Car]
- State DMV Locations and Bill of Sale Forms
- Vehicle Bill of Sale Template
Why Do I Need a Vehicle Bill of Sale?
You need a bill of sale when buying or selling a vehicle privately to prove that the vehicle was transferred to its new owner. A vehicle bill of sale works much like a receipt, and is typically required for tax purposes, to get insurance, and to register the vehicle at the DMV.
A vehicle bill of sale also protects the buyer and seller from future disagreements over the vehicle’s condition or ownership.
Because a bill of sale describes the vehicle’s exact condition at the time of sale, the buyer cannot later dispute any damage and demand a refund. Furthermore, if the new owner of the vehicle is involved in an accident or gets a speeding ticket, the seller can use the bill of sale to show that the vehicle is no longer theirs and they are not liable.
Although a vehicle bill of sale proves the transaction took place, it’s not always considered proof of ownership. The vehicle’s certificate of title states the vehicle’s legal owner, and also needs to be transferred at the time of the sale.
How to Use a Vehicle Bill of Sale [For Buying or Selling a Car]
Follow the steps below to learn how to write a bill of sale for a car, so you can buy or sell a vehicle. Typically, it is the seller’s responsibility to provide the vehicle bill of sale form.
Step 1 – Negotiate the Terms of the Sale
To enter the agreement, both parties need to decide on a payment method and any conditions of the sale, such as a warranty or financing. If a warranty is not included, the vehicle is sold “as-is,” with the buyer accepting any faults or damage that exist at the time of sale.
Step 2 – Fill Out the Vehicle Bill of Sale
The buyer and seller need to fill out their contact information on the vehicle bill of sale, in addition to the following sections (which vary by state):
- Body style
- Vehicle condition
- Whether sales tax is included
- Warranty information (if applicable)
- Payment type
- Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
- Odometer disclosure statement
Vehicle Identification Number (VIN): The VIN is a unique 17 character code used to track the vehicle’s registration, and whether it is ever stolen or involved in an accident. You can find your car’s VIN on the driver’s side windshield or inside the driver’s side door. It’s also written on the vehicle’s certificate of title.
Odometer disclosure statement: Federal law requires that a vehicle’s mileage (measured by the vehicle’s odometer) is provided and verified by the seller when the vehicle is transferred or sold. This statement can be part of the vehicle bill of sale, or submitted as an additional document in some states. After filling out the mileage, the seller states whether the mileage is accurate, or if there is a discrepancy caused by the odometer.
Step 3 – Gather Related Documents
Before the sale is finalized, the seller provides the certificate of title (the “pink slip”) to the buyer. If the seller doesn’t have the certificate of title, the buyer can request a new one from the DMV. This usually takes 10–14 working days and costs around $20 (depending on the state and vehicle).
It’s also recommended that the buyer obtain a copy of the seller’s photo ID to check that their information is the same across all documents and that they can legally sell the vehicle.
Step 4 – Complete the Sale (and Notarize Bill of Sale if Applicable)
To complete the sale, both parties sign and date the vehicle bill of sale and keep a copy for their records.
Usually, a bill of sale doesn’t need to be notarized (authenticated) by an official legal representative to be valid. However, a vehicle bill of sale does need to be notarized in the following states:
- West Virginia
Finally, the seller gives possession of the vehicle in exchange for the payment and transfers the certificate of title.
Step 5 – Register the Car at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
The buyer typically has 10 days to register the vehicle at the DMV. To complete the registration, they need to bring the completed vehicle bill of sale, the certificate of title, proof of insurance, a valid ID (passport or driver’s license), and any applicable state fees. Some states also require an emissions test.
State DMV Locations and Bill of Sale Forms
Vehicle Bill of Sale Template
Download an example fillable vehicle bill of sale below as either a PDF or Docx:
Vehicle Bill of Sale
|State of __________||Rev. 13417F9|
VEHICLE BILL OF SALE
|First Name||Last Name|
|Address||Driver’s License #|
|First Name||Last Name|
|Address||Driver’s License #|
|Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)||Body Style||Color|
I, __________ (the “Seller”), agree to sell, transfer and convey all rights, title and interest in the below described vehicle (the “Vehicle”) to __________ (the “Buyer”) for and in consideration of the total sum of __________, plus any applicable sales tax, paid by _________________ and the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged.
Odometer Disclosure Statement
Federal and state law require the mileage of the Vehicle to be provided upon transfer of ownership. Failure to complete this or providing a false statement may result in fines and/or imprisonment. The Seller certifies to the best of his or her knowledge that the Vehicle’s odometer reading now reads: __________ miles.
The odometer reading reflects the actual mileage of the Vehicle described above.
The Seller certifies to the Buyer that the Seller is the legal and rightful owner of the Vehicle and has full right and authority to convey the same. The undersigned Seller declares under penalties of perjury that the statements herein contained are true and correct to the best of his or her knowledge, information and belief.
The undersigned Buyer accepts receipt of the Vehicle described herein and understands and acknowledges that the Vehicle is sold in “AS IS” condition without any guarantees or warranties of any kind, either express or implied.