How to Transfer a Car Title in Michigan

In order to be recognized as the owner of a vehicle in Michigan, you must have a title in your name. Whenever ownership of a vehicle changes, the title must be transferred, which requires steps of both the previous owner and the new owner. Selling a car is not the only reason for needing to transfer a car title in Michigan. You might be gifting a car, or you might be inheriting one. In all cases, there are specific steps that need to be followed.

Steps for sellers in Michigan

If you’re selling a car in Michigan, there are several things that you’ll need to do to ensure that the buyer can transfer the title to his or her name. They include:

  • Complete the back of the title, including the car’s mileage, the date of the sale, the price, and your signature. If there is more than one owner, all of them must sign.
  • Give the buyer a lien release if the title is not clear.
  • Note that the state of Michigan highly recommends both the buyer and seller appear at the SOS office at the same time.
  • Note that if there is an outstanding lien on the car, the state does not allow title transfers.

Common mistakes

  • Not completing the information on the back of the title
  • Not providing a lien release

Steps for buyers in Michigan

If you’re buying from a private seller, it’s recommended that both you and the seller visit the SOS office together at the time of the sale. If that’s not possible, you have 15 days from the sale to transfer the title to your name. You’ll also need to do the following:

  • Make sure the seller completes the information on the back of the title.
  • Make sure to get a lien release from the seller.
  • Get insurance on the car and be able to provide proof of coverage.
  • If there will be more than one owner, they should all be present at the SOS office. If this is not possible, all absent owners must complete an Appointment of Agent form.
  • Take this information to the SOS office, along with $15 for the title fee. You’ll also need to pay 6% use tax on the price.

Common mistakes

  • Not getting a lien release
  • Not appearing with all owners at the SOS office

Gifts and inherited cars

The process for transferring the title on a gifted car is the same as outlined above. If the recipient is a qualifying family member, they do not have to pay sales or use tax. For inheriting a car, the situation is very similar. However, if the will is not being probated, the vehicle will be given to the first listed survivor: spouse, children, parents, siblings, or closest next of kin. If the will is being probated, then the executor will assign ownership.

For more information about how to transfer a car title in Michigan, visit the state’s SOS website.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.


Related articles

How to Transfer a Car Title in North Dakota
In In the state of North Dakota, vehicle ownership is shown with the car title. This document proves that you are the owner, and not someone else. When ownership changes through sales, gifting or inheriting a car, the title has...
How to Transfer a Car Title in Wyoming
The The state of Wyoming tracks vehicle ownership by the name on the title to the car. If ownership changes, then the title must be transferred to the new owner’s name. This applies to all types of ownership changes, from...
Child Seat Safety Laws in Michigan
Motor Motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death in the state of Michigan, for adults, and children as well. Adults are required by law to wear seat belts, and they are also required to make sure that...

Related questions

Truck stuck in reverse
Hello. This is a known concern and GM has issued TSB 01-07-30-002E. It lists the symptoms you are experiencing and has a list of some testing to be performed leading to a wiring concern or a faulty ignition switch. You...
Recieved the signed title but no bill of sale after purchasing a car
no charge for this answer: If the seller has signed over the vehicle to you, by conveying the ORIGINAL title (that is by signing the title over to you) you should not need additional "proof" of sale. The "conveyed" title...
What is the widest tire i can buy for my 2016 hyundai sonata instead of using the required 205 65 16? Thanks
You cannot go too wide more than an inch or it will rub the fenders on the car. Look at the tires you have now in rear and see how close to fender the tire is and see how much...

How can we help?

Our service team is available 7 days a week, Monday - Friday from 6 AM to 5 PM PST, Saturday - Sunday 7 AM - 4 PM PST.

1 (855) 347-2779 ·