Paperwork When Buying a Car in Utah

Paperwork Required to Buy a Car in Utah

If you're buying a vehicle from a Utah car dealer, the dealer will normally process any required paperwork for you.

However, when you buy a car from a private seller, you must be sure to get the necessary paperwork from them, especially the car's certificate of title.

With the correct documents from the seller, you'll then need to head to a Utah Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office to title and register the car in your name.

Paperwork for Utah Car Buyers

When you buy a used car it is important to secure several documents from the seller, both for your records and for the Utah DMV.

You should get:

  • The vehicle's title certificate, that includes:
    • The seller's signature.
    • Lien releases.
  • An Odometer Disclosure Statement (Form TC-891), if the vehicle is less than 20 years old.
  • A bill of sale that lists:
    • Your name and address.
    • The seller's name, address, and signature.
    • A description of the vehicle, such as the year, make, model, and color.
    • The vehicle identification number (VIN).
    • The amount the car was purchased for.
    • Any trade-ins that were made.
  • Inspection certificates, for emissions and safety inspections.
  • VIN inspection certificate, IF the used car was bought outside of Utah.

Missing Title

You must have a certificate of title to show vehicle ownership.

If a seller does not have a title, they should apply for a duplicate title before selling the car OR be with you at the UT DMV office when you register the car in your name.

Utah Title Transfer and Registration

To transfer the title certificate and register the car in your name, you'll need to go in person to a Utah DMV office. You'll need:

  • The Vehicle Application for Utah Title (Form TC-656).
  • The signed and completed vehicle title certificate.
  • The current or last registration.
  • Inspection certificates, if applicable.
  • Payment for fees and taxes:
    • Title transfer fee: $6.
    • Temporary permit fee (if you need a temporary license plate): $6.
    • Registration fee: Based on vehicle and county of residence.
    • Sales and use tax: Based on purchase price.

For more information, see our pages Title Transfers in Utah and Register a Car in Utah.

Vehicle History Reports

A vehicle history report gives you information about a car, such as whether or not it has been in any accidents or been exposed to a flood.

Without this information, it can be difficult to detect internal damage until you end up in the repair shop spending money to fix the damage.

The vehicle history report will confirm the information the seller tells you and help you avoid dishonest sellers or problem vehicles.

Odometer Fraud in Utah

Odometer fraud occurs when someone illegally adjusts a car's odometer to make it appear as though the car has fewer miles than it really does.

To spot the fraud, you can have an inspection done by a qualified technician, look for irregularities, and compare mileage to maintenance stickers or get a vehicle history report.

If you suspect odometer fraud, you can file an Original Complaint Report (Form TC-451) with the Motor Vehicle Enforcement Division of the Utah State Tax Commission.


Vehicle Application for Utah Title
Apply for an original, replacement, transferred, OR branded Utah title with this Division of Motor Vehicles form.
Odometer Disclosure Statement
Use this Division of Motor Vehicles form to disclose the mileage on a car you're selling in Utah.
Original Complaint Report
File a formal complaint against a UT car dealer with this Motor Vehicle Enforcement Division form.
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