Paperwork When Selling a Car in Washington

Paperwork Required to Sell Your Car in Washington

Looking to sell your car in Washington? The process can be simple and straightforward enough as long as you're aware of the state requirements and have everything you need.

The Washington Department of Licensing (DOL) requires that you provide the buyer of your vehicle with certain documents in order for the transfer to be completed. Keep reading for more information.

How to Sell a Car in Washington

Before you can say goodbye to your car, there's a rather important detail you need to take care of—finding a buyer for your car! Fortunately, we've got a resource to make that potentially time-consuming step a little easier. Read our Guide to Selling Your Car for some tips and tricks.

Once you have a buyer who's interested in purchasing your car, you'll sign the title certificate over to them, provide some other documentation, and officially notify the Washington State Department of Licensing.

Documents Required to Sell Your Car

You and the buyer will complete the following steps in order to complete the title transfer:

  • You, the seller, will provide your signature on the vehicle certificate of title in the designated area. If there are more owners listed on the vehicle, they will need to do the same. If the vehicle is model year 2011 or newer the title must contain the odometer reading.
  • Both you and the buyer will complete a Washington bill of sale. You can use the state's Vehicle/Vessel Bill of Sale (Form TD-420-065), which can be downloaded from the Washington DOL website. In addition to the signatures of both you and the buyer, the price, and date of sale, the completed form must include basic details about the car, including the:
    • Year, make, and model.
    • License plate number.
    • Vehicle identification number (VIN).

Once you've sold the car to a buyer, you'll also need to let the Washington Department of Licensing (DOL) know about the sale, a task that really pays off if the car ends up wrecked, abandoned, or involved in an accident. If you neglect to report, you could be liable for towing bills or other liabilities even though you no longer own the vehicle.

You can report the sale online, either through your Washington DOL License eXpress account or using the online form, or in person at any vehicle licensing office.

You are required to report the sale within 5 business days from the date you sold the car. There is a fee of $13.25 to report you no longer have your vehicle.

You are required to report that you no longer have a vehicle if you do any of the following:
  • Trade it to a private party or dealer.
  • Give it as a gift or donation.
  • Give or sell it to a wrecking or salvage yard.
  • Turn the vehicle over to an insurance company.

Duplicate Washington Title

In the event that your car title is missing, damaged, or destroyed, you'll need to obtain a duplicate title certificate in order to successfully transfer ownership. To get the replacement, complete an Affidavit of Loss/Release of Interest (Form TD-420-040) and submit it to the WA DOL either:

  • In person.
  • By mail.

You will also need to submit payment for the title fee of $35.50. Your title will arrive in about 8 weeks. If you need your title right away you may apply for an expedited title for an additional $85.50 fee (other fees may apply). You can apply for an expedited title at any Quick Title office.

NOTE: If the title has an active lien, the listed lien holder must make the duplicate title application.

For more information, visit our Replacing a Lost Title in Washington page.

Duplicate Registration in Washington

You can also obtain a duplicate registration if the original is mutilated, destroyed, lost, or stolen. You'll use the same form as for a duplicate title, the Affidavit of Loss/Release of Interest (Form TD-420-040), this time checking off the “Registration" box under the “Affidavit of Loss" section.

A notarized signature from all owners is required. You can bring the completed application to a Washington vehicle licensing office or send it by mail. There is a $1.25 fee for a duplicate registration plus service and filling fees.

See our Replacing a Lost Registration in Washington page for more information.

WA Vehicle History Reports

Bear in mind that potential buyers of your car will very likely evaluate it using a vehicle history report. This report will tell give them information on past accidents, odometer issues, theft, and other details.

To gain the trust of buyers and potentially speed up your sale, it might be worthwhile to order your own report and provide it to those interested in your vehicle.

For more information or to order a report today, visit our Vehicle History Reports page.

Transferring License Plates After a Sale

Once you've sold your car in Washington, license plates stay with you, not the car. You can transfer your license plates to a new car as long as your name is on the registration and title.

Find out more at the Washington DOL website.


Affidavit of Loss/Release of Interest
Notify the WA Department of Licensing that title, registration, tabs, decals, OR license plates have been lost, stolen, OR destroyed. Releases you from that vehicle's interest.
Vehicle/Vessel Bill of Sale
Bill of Sale form to complete when you buy or sell a vehicle OR vessel in Washington. The buyer will need to submit the completed Bill of Sale to the DOL when transferring the vehicle/vessel title into their name.
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