How to Transfer the Title of a Car in Pennsylvania

by Arthur Barnhouse

A title is a legal document that proves your ownership of a vehicle. Whenever the rightful owner of a vehicle is changed, you must transfer the title. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation defines a change of ownership as any of the following: buying, selling, donating, giving away, inheriting or transferring a vehicle to a family member, paying off a loan on the vehicle or making a name correction. If any of these conditions apply to you, you must go through the proper channels to legally transfer the car’s title.


Go to a notary public, tag service or official motor vehicle dealer. The notary will witness the signatures as well as complete the title transfer process. Without a notary, the transfer will not be recognized as legal. The previous and new owner should both be prepared to show photo ID.


Print and sign your name in Section A if you are the seller or original owner of the vehicle. Section A is located on the back of the title.


List the purchaser’s or new owner’s name and address in Section A on the back of the title.


Print and sign your name, if you are the purchaser or new owner, in the space provided, also within Section A.


Complete Section D, if you are the purchaser, only if you are financing the vehicle. You will need to provide your personal lien information in Section D. If you are not financing the vehicle, skip this step.


Pay the base fee, $22.50 (as of 2010), for the transfer of the title, plus 6 percent sales tax (7 percent in Philadelphia and Allegheny counties). Also, if you are financing the vehicle, pay the $5 lien fee. You can pay these fees with cash, a check or a money order. After all signatures are in place and the fees are paid, the notary will finalize the deal and complete the legal transfer of the vehicle’s title.


  • check If you have the original title of the vehicle and it has been transferred numerous times, Section A may already be completed. In this case, simply use the next open section, whether it is Section B or C.

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About the Author

Arthur Barnhouse has written numerous short stories, contributed content to various websites and was an invited speaker at a university symposium on creative writing. He began writing in 2002 and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Pittsburgh. Barnhouse has driven across the United States numerous times and draws upon his travel experiences in his writing.

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