What Do You Do With the Tags When You Sell Your Car?

by Tony Allevato
itstillruns article image
car dealership 3 image by Alexey Stiop from Fotolia.com

When selling your car, it is important to take the proper action with your tags so that you comply with the motor vehicle laws of your state, as well as protect yourself against potential liability.


Vehicular tags should be considered as belonging to you, the owner, and not to the car. The buyer of the car should provide her own tags.

Transferring Tags

If you are replacing the car that you are selling with a different vehicle that does not already have tags of its own, then you can transfer the tags from your old car to your new one at your department of motor vehicles (DMV). There will usually be a fee for this, the amount of which varies by state.

Relinquishing Tags

If you no longer have any use for the tags on the car you are selling (you are not replacing it, or you are replacing it with a car that already has tags, such as one purchased from a dealer), then you can return the tags to your DMV. This is the safest option because it prevents the unused tags from being lost or stolen and then used illegally.

Temporary Tags

If the buyer of your car does not already have his own tags, you should arrange to accompany him to the DMV, where he can obtain a set of temporary tags before you remove your old tags from the vehicle. You should not leave the new owner to drive the vehicle without proper tags on it.


Under no circumstances should you let the buyer take ownership of the car with your tags still on it. If he fails to register it in his name and later receives any violations such as parking tickets or tickets from red light cameras, they will fall under your name and significantly inconvenience you, as you must now prove that you are no longer in ownership of the vehicle.

More Articles

article divider