Paperwork When Buying a Car in Colorado

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To complete all of the necessary steps to title and register your vehicle in Colorado following a purchase, you will need certain documents from the seller.

Use this guide to learn more about what paperwork the Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) requires to:

  • Buy a car.
  • Register and title that car.

Paperwork for Colorado Car Buyers

To avoid fines or penalties, you must register and title your car in Colorado within 60 days following a purchase. The paperwork you receive when buying a car will differ based on whether you purchased your new vehicle from a dealership or a private party.

Paperwork from Dealer Purchases

When you buy a vehicle from a dealership, the dealership will submit all the required paperwork to the DMV for you for titling and registration. You should receive a Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin (MCO) if your car is brand new, or the existing title if it is a certified pre-owned or used car.

Paperwork from Private Vehicle Purchases

For cars bought from a private seller, make sure you receive the following documents before completing the sale:

  • The certificate of title, with all transactional components filled out—this includes:
    • Signatures from you and the seller.
    • The vehicle's:
      • Purchase date.
      • Sale price.
      • Odometer reading.
  • A bill of sale.
    • When transferring ownership of a vehicle, the Colorado DMV requires a bill of sale. The Motor Vehicle Bill of Sale (Form DR 2173) can be obtained by calling (303) 860-8000. Be sure to include:
      • Time and date of sale.
      • The purchase price.
      • The vehicle's details:
        • Year.
        • Make.
        • Model.
        • Vehicle identification number (VIN).
  • An emissions certificate, if you live in a county where emissions testing in required.
  • For information, visit our guide to CO smog inspections.

What If No Title Is Present?

If the seller does not have a title, they must apply for a duplicate title before ownership can be transferred.

The process for applying for a duplicate title includes:

CO Car Registration Paperwork

After buying a car, you will have 60 days to title and register it at your local DMV office.

You'll need the above-mentioned paperwork that you received from the seller, be it a dealer or a private party. Bring these documents with you to complete the process:

  • The vehicle title, properly filled out.
    • If the vehicle is being titled for the first time, you may also need:
      • A manufacturer's statement of origin.
      • A document that specifies the weight of the vehicle.
  • Proof of insurance.
  • An emissions certificate.
  • A completed Application for Title & Registration (Form DR 2395).
  • A bill of sale.
  • Lien documents, if applicable.
  • An odometer statement.
    • Usually recorded either on the title or bill of sale.
  • Payment for the required fees.

Visit our Car Registration in Colorado page for a complete outline on registering your newly-purchased car with the DMV.

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