A car title, sometimes referred to as the pink slip, typically contains information about the vehicle itself, including its make, model, year of manufacture, gross vehicle weight and vehicle identification number, or VIN. The certificate of title also includes information on the registered owner, such as her name and address, the name of the lien holder or legal owner, and whether the registered owner owes money on an outstanding loan in which the car is used as collateral.
A title contains a vehicle odometer reading, showing the mileage at the time the Department of Motor Vehicles or similar government entity issued the title. This information can help a potential buyer of the car determine whether the current odometer reflects a reasonable number of miles driven since the title was issued or whether the owner may have modified the odometer reading.
Before purchasing a car, the buyer should ensure the VIN located on the vehicle matches the one listed on the car title. The seller then signs over the title to the buyer at the time of sale. The buyer registers the car in his name with the Department of Motor Vehicles, supplying the signed title. The DMV mails the buyer a new title, reflecting his contact information and the odometer reading at the time of sale.