State Regulations in South Dakota

If you're buying a vehicle from an individual (not a dealer) located within South Dakota, or if you're selling your vehicle to another individual, no matter where they live, we'll show you how to handle the titling procedures in this section.

Otherwise, you should see our Title Transfers section to find out how to obtain a title for your vehicle.

Also, remember that all new and used vehicles driven on public roads in South Dakota need to be registered. See our numerous registration sections for details on how to do this, and just pick the section that applies to your type of vehicle ( car, motorcycle, or boat).

Buying a Vehicle

You must obtain your title within 45 days of purchase. However, buying a vehicle from an individual instead of a dealer presents a few challenges.

For starters, you'll need to verify there aren't any liens on the vehicle you're interested in buying. You can do this by taking a look at the title's lien-release section. You'll need to get a lien release if there is an active lien, or else you could wind up in a legal mess.

Also, the lien release needs to be attached to the title, unless the county treasurer marks the release on the title.

You'll need to obtain your title at the South Dakota county treasurer's office where you live.

You'll also have to complete an Application for Motor Vehicle Title and Registration (Form MV-608). You may also obtain the format your local county treasurer's office. Chances are, you will have already done this if you're also registering your vehicle.

Make sure that your title has been correctly assigned to you by the seller. Also, be sure that both you and the seller have filled in the "retail sale" section of the title.

If the vehicle is under 9 years old, the odometer reading section of the title must be completed. If the seller knows that the odometer reading is inaccurate, they must indicate this on the title.

You'll also need to have a completed Bill of Sale (Form MV-016). For information about this sort of form, see our Bill of Sale section. It's a good idea to use the state's version, that way, you'll be sure to record all the data, such as sale date, purchase price, buyer information, description of vehicle, and the seller's signature, required by the state.

Attach all the completed forms to the application, and present it to your local South Dakota county treasurer.

Then, you'll have to pay a 4% excise tax, based on the purchase price, as well as the $10 title fee and any other charges that may apply. Keep in mind that this is in addition to your registration fees.


If you don't get your vehicle titled within the time permitted, you'll pay $1 for every week you're late, up to a maximum of $50.

Delayed Title

If you haven't received your title from the seller within 45 days of the purchase, file a complaint with the Motor Vehicle Division at the address listed at the end of this section. Be sure to include a copy of the purchase form or Bill of Sale (MV-016).

Selling Your Vehicle

If you're selling your vehicle to an individual, you'll first need to pay off your lien, and make sure it's been released by the county.

You should receive a lien release form from the lienholder within 20 days of paying it off. Make sure you take this to your county treasurer's office.

Also, if the lienholder has the title, they must send it directly to you, or to the treasurer's office. If they do the former, bring it with you to the office.

If your vehicle is required to have the odometer completed, be sure to do so.

Also, both you and the buyer need to complete the "retail sale" section of the title. The buyer needs to note if they bought the vehicle with a loan. Be sure the buyer fills out all the information before you sign it.

You'll also need to fill out a Bill of Sale (MV-016). For information about this sort of form, see our Bill of Sale section.

To play it extra safe, you may want to accompany the buyer when they go to get their title just to make everything is squared away.

However, that's up to you. You may also want to fill out a Seller's Report of Sale (available at the treasurer's office or online) and send it to the South Dakota Motor Vehicle Division at the address listed below.

Additional Information

For more information on titling procedures, visit our registration and titling sections.

You may also contact the:

    Motor Vehicle Division

    445 E. Capitol Ave.

    Pierre, SD 57501

    Phone: (605) 773-3541

    Fax: (605) 773-2550

    And, be sure to check out our How To Guides section for helpful information about buying and selling vehicles.


    Bill of Sale
    Use the DMV's bill of sale form as a proof of purchase when transferring ownership of a vehicle in SD.
    Application for Motor Vehicle Title & Registration
    Title and register your vehicle with the South Dakota Division of Motor Vehicles.
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