How to Transfer an Auto Title in South Carolina

by Shanan Miller
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South Carolina state contour against blurred USA flag image by Stasys Eidiejus from

South Carolina, different from most states, allows a vehicle owner to drive his vehicle for 45 days before completing all necessary paperwork. A plate must be on the vehicle, either transferred from your previous car or a temporary paper-type plate that is available at your local South Carolina department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). All required paperwork showing proof of ownership must be in the vehicle to present to an officer, including the transferred title if not immediately registering or titling.

Step 1

Confirm that the seller has signed her name on the back of the vehicle title in the "seller" section, and completed the box in full, including address and date. Check the odometer reading and fill out the odometer statement on the back of the title. Fill out and sign the "buyer" portion of the title. Vehicles titled after June 19, 1989, also second as a bill of sale. Any vehicle titled before this date must be accompanied with a bill of sale.

Step 2

Write a bill of sale. A bill of sale includes the following information that you can write yourself: name and address of buyer; date of sale; vehicle information such as Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), year, make and model; and who the vehicle is sold to and for how much. Include the odometer reading in the bill of sale and whether any warranty is included. Usually, a bill of sale lists the vehicle sale as "as is."

Step 3

Gather necessary paperwork. Other information necessary to complete the title transfer through the DMV includes a lien release provided by the original owner if there is one listed on the title and the completion of Form 400, the Application for Certificate of Title Registration (see Resources to download). To fill out Form 400, complete section A by checking the box next to "Title Only," unless you plan to register the vehicle at the same time--if so check the appropriate box and include all required information. Fill out sections B, C and D completely. Fill out section G only if the vehicle was a gift or transfer. On page two, fill out section letters I and sign your name in section J.

Step 4

Bring your bill of sale and lien release, if applicable, title and Form 400 to your local DMV (see Resources to find the nearest office). Pay your $15 title fee and sales tax, which is either 5 percent of the sales price or $300--sales tax does not exceed the $300 state limit.

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