A car title lists a car’s vehicle identification number, or VIN, the mileage and the last date of sale. It should also include the current owner’s name and address, the make, year and model of the vehicle and the first date the car was sold. If a vehicle was in an accident that an insurance company claimed a total loss, the word “salvage” also appears on the title.
The VIN appears on the vehicle’s dash, door jam or engine compartment. When purchasing a car, a buyer should always check to make sure the VIN on the car matches the one on the car’s title. For a small fee, the Department of Motor Vehicles can run a check on a car by using the VIN. It can reveal a car’s history, whether it has been in a flood or accident, and if a used car is free of liens.
An auto title is also known as a “pink slip.” It is issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles as proof of ownership. A car’s title is an important document that should be kept in a safe place that’s easily accessible. When selling a car, the title must always be signed over to the buyer, who then takes it to the DMV to register the car in his name. The DMV prepares a new document with the buyer’s pertinent information that is mailed to the new owner.
When the buyer wants to sell the car, he must repeat the process of handing over the car title to a new owner. When gifting a car or after a marriage or divorce, it is also common to transfer the title.