How to Transfer a Car Title in Hawaii

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In order to prove ownership of a vehicle, there must be a title in the owner’s name. For vehicles that aren’t paid off, the lender will hold the title and provide a certificate for the owner to use. However, for cars that are paid off, the owner will have the physical title. This title needs to be transferred when ownership changes – the car is sold, given as a gift, or inherited. Transferring a car title in Hawaii is pretty simple, but a few steps need to be followed.

Buyers in Hawaii

For buyers in Hawaii purchasing a car from a private seller, the following steps need to be completed:

  • Make sure that the seller signs and dates the title.
  • Make sure that the seller writes down the odometer reading on the back of the title.
  • Sign and date the title.
  • Make sure that the seller provides you with a bill of sale.
  • If there has not been one completed recently, have the car inspected for safety and a new certificate issued.
  • Notify your county office within 10 days of the purchase.
  • Visit your county office and pay the required fees. Fees vary depending on where you’re located in Hawaii, and are as follows:
    • Maui - $10 for the transfer fee
    • Honolulu – Use the DMV website to determine your fees
    • Hawaii - $5 for the transfer fee
    • Kauai – Call 808-241-4256 to determine the amount

Common mistakes

  • Not having the seller provide a lien release
  • Not ensuring that the seller completes the back of the title
  • Not notifying the DMV of the purchase within 30 days (which will actually require an additional $50 late fee)

Sellers in Hawaii

Like buyers, sellers also need to follow a few steps to transfer a car title in Hawaii. These include:

  • Sign, date, and add the mileage to the back of the title.
  • Make sure that any joint owner also signs the title.
  • Make sure that the buyer fills in the appropriate sections on the title.
  • Provide the buyer with the current registration certificate and safety inspection certificate.
  • Provide a Notice of Transfer (Hawaii County only).

Gifting and inheriting

The state of Hawaii allows you to transfer ownership of a vehicle to a family member as a gift. Doing so will require the same steps as selling/buying a vehicle, and the new owner will be responsible for the title transfer fee. However, they do not have to pay a use tax on the car. They will need to complete a Motor Vehicle Use Tax Certification form.

For inherited vehicles, you will need to provide proof of insurance, the current registration, a safety inspection certificate, and an Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property of the Decedent. Make sure to bring the death certificate with you to the DMV office.

For more information about how to transfer a car title in Hawaii, visit the state’s Department of Customer Services website, as there is no central DMV office.


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Bernie

50 years of experience
41 reviews
Bernie
50 years of experience
Honda Accord - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Phoenixville, Pennsylvania
I specifically asked for Bernie to come back, since I was so pleased with the work he did on our other car. This time I got to meet Bernie personally. He is a kind family-man who exhibited the quiet confidence of someone you would expect with the 50 years of automotive experience that he has. I felt very comfortable giving him the key to my car. Two of my kids (ages two and four) came out to greet him, since they remembered him from his first visit. Bernie is great around kids and was very kind to my two-year old son who was trying to "help" Bernie do his job. Thanks again, Bernie!
Honda Odyssey - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Phoenixville, Pennsylvania
I was very pleased with Bernie's work, professionalism, and courteousness. Best brake job I have ever had, and I have had many done (and several done myself, but not on this vehicle). This was a maintenance appointment -- not a repair of something broken -- so I was surprised when the brakes felt so much better after Bernie did the work. You can really see the care he took with our vehicle when I examined everything after he was finished. Thanks, Bernie!

Daniel

9 years of experience
17 reviews
Daniel
9 years of experience
Hyundai Sonata - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Sacramento, California
Awesome customer service. On time and answered my questions with patience. Listened to my concerns and made helpful suggestions. Seemed very knowledgeable and experienced. I will be glad to request him again. Thank you!!

Breck

18 years of experience
532 reviews
Breck
18 years of experience
Toyota RAV4 - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Conroe, Texas
Breck was awesome! He called ahead of time and asked if he could arrive early. He was friendly and easy to talk to. He made me feel comfortable with the service he was going to provide and explained things clearly to me. He smiled and made this experience a good one. I will absolutely be booking future appointments with Breck and I will recommend him and Your Mechanic services to others I know. Thank you!

Brian

19 years of experience
101 reviews
Brian
19 years of experience
BMW Z4 - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Phoenix, Arizona
Brian knows what he is doing and I am so happy yourmechanic.com suggested him for my Z4 car inspection prior to purchasing and even happier he was available to perform my 1st service on the vehicle I purchased. His knowledge on the brand gave him ability to to an in depth inspection and he communicated very well informing me what to prepare for in ownership of my BMW. When he came to perform maintenance on my vehicle he shared so many tips with me. I will absolutely be having Brian come back out when I need future servicing on my car.

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