California Vehicle Title Search

People Phone License Plate VIN
People Phone License Plate VIN

How To Run A California Vehicle Title Search

A California vehicle title search is an easy online process that is typically run on used vehicle to find out if there the vehicle title is clean and there are no lien holders still on the title. CA vehicle title searches are often times part of a vehicle history report where you can also find out the history of the used vehicle including accidents, recalls and previous owner information. The intent for most people that run these types of reports are to uncover any potential issues when purchasing a used car, truck suv or motorcycle. It’s a best practice procedure that only cost a few bucks, but it can uncover any issues that might not be known or disclosed by the previous vehicle owner. If there is a lien holder on a vehicle or the title is salvaged, it might be very difficult to register the vehicle with the California DMV as well as getting the title information transferred over to the new owner’s name.

Information Included on a California Vehicle Title

  1. The owner’s name and address
  2. The vehicle’s year, make and model
  3. The date the vehicle was first sold
  4. Vehicle identification number
  5. License plate number
  6. California vehicle title issue date
  7. Release of Interest section at the bottom of the title

California Vehicle TitleHow to Transfer a California Vehicle Title

The transfer of a California vehicle title is very simple if you have the physical title in your possession. The previous owner will sign the bottom of the title, as well as the new owner. The purchase price and date of the vehicle must be included as well as the mileage and the “Release of Interest” section that should be mailed in by the previous owner. The Release of Interest, aka The Release of Liability, can also be filled out online through the California DMV website. This is a very important step because if there is an accident or a situation the vehicle is involved in and the release of liability form was not sent in, it will leave the previous owner open for getting sued or being liable for any damages that were incurred. Another good procedure when transferring the California vehicle title is to have a bill of sale and to also make sure to have the condition of the vehicle listed on both the title and bill of sale. Most of the time that a vehicle is sold, especially without an existing warranty, the vehicle condition will be listed “As-Is” which means that what you see is what you get and there are no guarantees by the original owner.

How to Get a Duplicate California Vehicle Title

If you visit the DMV website and you select the “Vehicle Registration” tab, you will select the “Application For a Duplicate Title” form (# Reg227). You can download the form in a PDF format, fill out the form with your full name and address as it’s listed on your registration, your driver’s license number and any additional information you have. Then you can mail in the duplicate vehicle title form to the California DMV with the appropriate fee for the duplicate title. Please note that when you apply for a duplicate California vehicle title, the original title is cancelled and null and void. Processing may take a few weeks and your duplicate CA vehicle title will be mailed to the address listed on file unless you request to have it sent to another address

California Vehicle Title Search - FAQs

Can I run a free California vehicle title search?

It will usually cost you around $20 to run a California vehicle title search and vehicle history report on a used car, truck, SUV or motorcycle. You will need to have your vehicle's 17 digit vehicle identification number to run a CA vehicle title search.

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Responses to “California Vehicle Title Search

  1. My brother recently passed away and I cannot find the title to his truck in order to transfer ownership. How do I request a duplicate title?

  2. I owned a Model A between 1980 and 1987 or so (In California of course). Sadly, I had to sell the car. I was hoping there would be a way to retrieve the cars VIN, in order to trace is whereabouts. The only info I have is my name and the Calif plate number from 1981. Is there any hope?

  3. Hello I have a car that was originally from California and is now in Ontario Canada. Is it possible to find out the history of who previously owned the car.

    This car is a 65 GTO

  4. I am looking for the pink slip for my deceased father’s 1951 Jeep Willy’s Overland. My sister threw out the pink and the Willy’s Overland has not been registered in years. Can any body help me with find who owner the Jeep that my father has stored over the years.

  5. Trying to see if my 1939 chevy 2 door sedan is still in California. The Vin number when I sold in kansas is NEBR001421. Can you help

    1. Gregg, unfortunately we will not be able to obtain that California car title information with a VIN that is less than 17 digits. You might want to reach out to the California DMV directly about your inquiry

  6. i am trying to get the license plate that came with this van I had the plates changed some time ago and know I need to find out what was the old plate numbers.

  7. Hi, I was wonder buy a 1974 Ford PK classic from someone carfax unable to check history VIN F1DGRU63481 plate number 69978X . I wondering if this car is legal?

    1. Keith, you will want to contact the California DMV directly about your inquiry. Unfortunately we cannot weigh in on this vehicle as our car title search resources will only be able to access information about vehicles that have 17 digits in their vehicle identification number

  8. In buying a RV the current owner (has pink slip) but not in his name as he never tranferred it and the current reg is not current and isnt the same name as the pink slip/// how should I proceed and what will it require for me to get all paperwork right??? I have bill of sale and out dated reg. and pink slip.??? Thanks

    1. Lori, in this situation it’s best to contact your local California DMV directly about what to do. There is most likely a procedure and a precedence for this situation. You might want to contact them before making this RV purchase

  9. Trying to track any information about my 1957 Chevrolet truck.
    I can provide serial/chassis number if required
    It was built at Los Angeles plant, but that’s about as much as I know about it.
    Probably a long shot, but worth a try, thanks in advance

    1. Peter, you can run a vehicle history report through our system if your Chevy truck has a 17 digit vehicle identification number. You will need read through our terms of search first and then you have the option to run a California vehicle history report for a nominal fee.

  10. I have a California title for a 1950 HD and California put in the Vehicle ID Number as a 8 digit number. Can you explain what that number is? To my understanding this was a police motorcycle back in the day. It has the motorcycle engine number on it also. Back in 1950 the engine number was the vin number.

    1. Mitsi, that is a very old vintage California vehicle and unfortunately we only have records that go back for the last 30 years. You can contact the California DMV directly about your inquiry. They should be able to better assist you

    1. Carlos, you will need to contact the motor vehicle department in Mexico if it was titled and registered there. Unfortunately our resources can only assist you with looking up a California car title

  11. Hi, i purchase a Toyota Avalon 2000, whichs was imported to Tijuana, Mexico. For getting new plates i. MÉXICO, transportation authorities(like DMV) are asking me to show the Certificate of Title, which I do not have. Is it possible a duplicate because the original is lost

    1. Herberto, you can obtain a duplicate California car title by contacting the California DMV. You can also visit their website and order a duplicate title online through their web portal. You will need to register for an account and then fill out the forms to get a duplicate CA car title. There will be a nominal fee and a copy can be mailed to you

  12. Hi. I purchased a vehicle in the state of Wisconsin from the owner.
    She never did title the vehicle when she moved to from California. I am having troubles reaching her. How can I obtain the title from California.

    Please help

    1. Enes, this is not an uncommon situation where the vehicle title was lost or the vehicle title was never received. You will want to contact the California DMV directly about this situation and fill out the forms to obtain a duplicate California vehicle title and you will also need to present your bill of sale and any other information that proves you purchased this vehicle. Also be prepared to fill our an affidavit which is a legal binding document that you legally purchased this vehicle from the previous owner.

Author: SQAdmin
Last Updated: November 17, 2020

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