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. To begin your CA vehicle title search and verification, you will need the full vehicle identification number but you can also use the license plate number as well. Then you’ll enter the information into the search fields of and begin. The next step is to verify your results and make sure that the make and model match, one misplaced character can bring up a completely different vehicle. Next, you’ll select the vehicle history report which will cost a few bucks and then you’ll have access to all the vehicle title information that is available.
There are certain items that should be reviewed carefully on a California Vehicle Title if you are looking to verify a used vehicle you want to purchase. An issue with a CA vehicle title can lead to a real headache if you don’t verify them before buying a used car, truck, SUV or motorcycle. Title issues are not always obvious when looking at a vehicle but they can dramatically bring down the value of a vehicle, or make it very difficult to transfer the used vehicle into your name. Some of the issues to look out for are:
These are important items to verify before purchasing a used vehicle in the state of California that can save you a lot of money and headache. If the seller does not have the title or it’s lost then you may consider walking away from the deal or ask them to request for a duplicate copy from the California DMV before making your purchase. Running through this check-list is a best-practice procedure before buying any used SUV, car, truck, motorcycle or Motorhome.
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.
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
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Responses to “California Vehicle Title Search”
I need to have proof of a vehicle owners ownership to settle an insurance claim
I purchased an suv new from dealer VIN: KM8S7DA27NU056640 in California and need the registration document to register it in Arizona
Justin, unfortunately this is a DMV issue that you’ll need to resolve with them unless you can get ahold of this guy that sold you the trailer
How can I get either a duplicate or lost title on this 3X5 trailer that I purchased from this guy who moved from Cali to Wyoming. He claimed that I didn’t need the title. He also said that he got it from his aunt that got it from his Grandmother who passed. Well she did send him something on the trailer but it wasn’t the title. I did get him to write a bill of sale the day I got it. I know, Lesson Learned right? I tried to get a lost title here in Wyoming, but the DMV here doesn’t do that. It’s been over 2 months now trying to deal with this guy. Yeah, I could be out the $400 that I spent, but this guy is getting shady now. I did Google his aunt, she is real but the number is old, so I am unable to contact her. So what I would need is to find out if there is a way of getting a duplicate or lost tile from Cali so I can legally own the trailer.
I recently purchased a Vehicle that looks like it may have been title washed. The whole purpose of washing is so issues do not show up on a search by the usual commercial providers. We need to see actual title history by title number to see if the branding was changed.
Kevin, in California it is possible to register and transfer the title of a vehicle without the title as long as you have the bill of sale. You will want to confirm the details of this sale with your local DMV before purchasing in case they need additional documentation from the seller. Please let us know if we can be of further assistance with your California truck title needs
I am looking to purchase a 1964 Chevy C10 pickup truck. It has no motor or transmission. The seller said he would provide a Bill of Sale as he said, “it is out of DMV Records”.
Can I register the truck using only a Bill of Sale that the seller provides me? I understand he never owned the truck. He bought it and is no reselling it.
Lance, our California car title lookup only works on newer cars with 17 digits in their vehicle identification number
I am trying to get registration info to license an old Ford Mustang. It has not been registered in years. 1966 Ford Mustang. License number RWW060 Vin # 6R07A165659. Any information is appreciated. Registered to Catherine Younger 1181 Fulton Ave #29, Sacramento, Ca. She still owns the vehicle in storage since it was stolen and recovered years ago. I am inquiring on behalf of Catherine Younger. Thank You Lance Howard
Karen, you’ll need to contact the California DMV directly about your CA title mistake and have the VIN on the title corrected.
I work at a dealership. We purchased a vehicle with a California title. The vehicle is a 2006 Chevy pk, but the title is incorrect and shows it is a 2008. The vin# is..1GCHC23D86F256350. We are in Texas, how can I get this corrected so the DMV here will accept the title.
Steven, our California car title resources only accommodate vehicles with 17 digit VINs. You can reach out to your local California DMV to inquire about obtaining a vehicle history report on this vintage California car
I have a 1960’s or 1970’s Volkswagon Bus with a a 10 digit VIN. Can a California Vehicle Title Search be done on it? (It has expired 1975 California license plates.
Yuchi, try running a California vehicle history report on this Chevrolet Corvette to find out more information. It’s peculiar that there are 2 different VIN numbers listed for the vehicle
I live in Japan and own a Corvette C3 imported from the US.
My English is not very good.
The VIN on the plate on the pillar of the car is 194379S737315.
I looked it up and found that the vehicle has been smog checked in California on July 18, 1997.
However, the vehicle has a frame VIN 194371S108809 February 4, 1971. The exterior and interior are also 1971, so the pillar plates may be from another vehicle. I am not sure if the rivets are original either.
If they are illegal, some people might be sad to see this car go.
I am thinking that it may have been obtained illegally from the previous owner.
I love the car, but if there are people who will be sad to lose this car, that is hard for me.
I am waiting for your reply.
If your California vehicle has a VIN that is shorter than 17 digits then we will not be able to run this for you unfortunately. You might want to contact your local California DMV office to inquire about the vehicle identification information you’re interested in.
what if the vin is a shorter in because the car is from the 50s
Maureen, the bill of sale is not always need when transferring the title of a motorcycle or vehicle. A good place to find out exactly what you need is your local California DMV. You can visit an office or try reaching them by phone, there is usually a long waiting time for this option. Here is a link to our Free California DMV Finder to assist you with finding the closest DMV to your location
I am trying to transfer (gift) deceased husband’s motorcycle. I provided the DMV with the required forms (death certifcate, etc) to put the vehicle in my name. They gave me a PNO-reg deferred receipt. The bill of sale is lost.
What do I need to do to get the “bill of sale” and transfer to the new owner? Do I need to pay full registration as an operational vehicle before transferring? that does not make sense as the new owner will have to pay registration fees again.
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?
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?
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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?
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
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
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.
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
John, how may we assist you with your California vehicle title search?
checking history of vehicle,1979 dodge dart swinger when purchased to where it landed later in life
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
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.
Darren, you need to contact the California DMV directly about the status of your CA trailer title
I need my title you have not sent it why?
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
I purchased a vehicle without the title in tijuana Mexico. How can i get a copy title for export only.
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
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
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.
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.
Last Updated: 2020-09-02