What is the best way to sell or trade a vehicle with expired registration?

It can be a real hassle trading in or selling your car when it’s time for a new one. Even more confusing is the expiration of your registration. Is it possible to trade in or sell an automobile with expired registrations?

This guide will discuss the potential legal problems that may arise. We also discuss if it’s possible and how to make the trading or selling process a little easier. 

Índice de Contenido
  1. What is the best way to sell or trade a vehicle with expired registration?
  2. Vehicle Registration Car registration vs.
  3. How do you trade-in an old car?
    1. 1. Evaluate the Car’s Worth
    2. 2. Get Offers
    3. 3. Car should be cleaned
    4. 4. Make an appointment
    5. 5. Return paperwork
  4. Selling a car with an expired registration
    1. 1. Research value
    2. 2. Get a list of vehicles for sale
    3. 3. Send a Bill of Sale
    4. 4. DMV - Report Sale
    5. 5. Turn Over Paperwork

What is the best way to sell or trade a vehicle with expired registration?

Although you are allowed to trade your vehicle in or sell the vehicle without an expired registration it can be more complex. However, you will need to show that your vehicle is actually yours. This can be done by presenting the title. It might prove beneficial in some instances to register your car prior to trying to sell it.

Maybe you haven’t registered the car because it’s been sitting in the garage as a collectible or project vehicle. It’s also possible that you stopped driving it because of mechanical issues, so you saw no reason to register or insure it any longer. You can have a car not registered for many reasons.

However, the DMV uses the registration to keep track of the car’s location, plate number and VIN. If you haven’t registered it, there’s more difficulty when selling it. It is possible to renew the registration, which will make selling it easier. You could also trade it in, although you'll be making less with this option. 

RELATED: How do I find my VIN number on my car?

Vehicle Registration Car registration vs.

A car title proves that the vehicle is yours. It’s needed to sell or trade in the vehicle. It is one of the most essential documents in your automotive collection. It will take you a while to prove ownership of the vehicle, and could delay the sale. 

The car registration, on the other hand, shows you've registered the vehicle with the state. It doesn’t prove ownership, but it does list your name, the VIN and the address of the vehicle. While it’s important to have a current registration to legally drive the vehicle and to have it inspected, you don’t have to have it when you want to sell or trade in the car. 

RELATED: Vehicle Registration Number – What It Is & Where to Find It

How do you trade-in an old car?

1. Evaluate the Car’s Worth

It is important to find out the exact value of your car before you make contact with any dealerships. You will be ripped off by many shady dealers.

A tool like the KBBTo determine your vehicle's value, please click here. For the best estimate, you need to be truthful about the vehicle's current condition. You should also consider the trade-in price, which can be much higher than retail. 

2. Get Offers

There’s no reason to stick with one dealership for an offer. Multiple dealerships can be contacted and you will get the best offer. 

Each dealership will require you to complete the form. It takes a couple of minutes. You might also be contacted by the dealer for further information. You might consider going with the dealership if you know exactly where to purchase your next vehicle. There are many that offer cash for the vehicle regardless of whether or not you purchase through them. 

RELATED: Safely Selling Your Car

3. Car should be cleaned

Before you take the vehicle for an inspection, it’s best to clean it up. It's possible to increase its value with a little more effort.

A well-maintained car will give off the impression that it is clean. It should sparkle and smell nice before you drive it to the dealership. Also, take out any personal items.

4. Make an appointment

Car dealerships are busy, so you don’t want to show up without an appointment for a trade-in inspection. If you don't schedule an appointment, it could mean that you spend time behind customers.

Instead, schedule an appointment. If the car isn’t registered, you must also think about how you are going to get it there. Because it’s not legal to drive, it would be best to have it towed to the dealership. 

5. Return paperwork

Once you agree on the trade-in value, it’s time to give the dealership the car. Bring all paperwork and the title with you. Let the dealership know you don’t have it registered, so there are no surprises.

Also, you will need all the keys in order to return your car. Once you have a clear idea of the vehicle that you wish to trade for, it is easier to complete paperwork and then drive off in your new car.

Selling a car with an expired registration

1. Research value

You will first need to determine the value of your car before you sell it. Otherwise, you don’t know what you can get for it.

To determine your vehicle's value, use a tool like KBB. To get the best estimate, be honest with yourself about your vehicle's condition. Although you'll be looking at the total retail value, it is possible to discount a bit due to the missing registration. 

2. Get a list of vehicles for sale

Post the vehicle to every platform that you have access. After you have cleaned the car, take photos that are high quality.

It’s also important that you are honest in the listing about the lack of registration. You don’t want there to be any surprises for potential buyers. Plus, you can’t legally allow anyone to test drive the vehicle because it’s not legal to be on the road. 

3. Send a Bill of Sale

Once you get a buyer, it’s time to write the bill of sale. A legally-binding document should be found that's used in your area.

The typical bill of sale contains your name and address, plus the buyer’s name and address. The bill of sale will include the VIN and the year of the vehicle, as well as the make, model, and make. The day and purchase price will also need to be listed. In some states, it’s necessary to sign the bill of sale in front of witnesses or a notary.

4. DMV - Report Sale

It is the responsibility of many states to inform them when your vehicle has been sold. Even if it’s not, it’s a great practice to get into, releasing you from any liability for the vehicle while someone else is driving it.

You may also need to register the vehicle in certain states. This can prove difficult if you don't have a registered vehicle. You might need to register it in your own name before you can transfer it. Check your local laws for details.

5. Turn Over Paperwork

Check that all paperwork and keys are available to the new owner. You must also give the bill of sale to the buyer.

You may want to look at the interior of the vehicle as you turn it over. It’s possible that you overlooked some personal items that should be removed.

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