How to Transfer a Car Title in Tennessee

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In the state of Tennessee, any change in ownership of a vehicle must be accompanied by a transfer of the car’s title from the previous owner’s name to the new owner’s name. This applies to car purchases/sales, but it also applies to gifting a car, donating a car, and inheriting one. There are a number of steps for all parties involved in order to transfer a car title in Tennessee.

If you’re buying a car in Tennessee

If you work with a dealership, the dealer will handle the title transfer process. However, if you work with a private seller, you’ll need to:

  • Make sure that the seller completes all of the information fields on the back of the title completely.

  • Make sure that the seller provides you with an Odometer Disclosure Statement.

  • Complete an Affidavit of Non-Dealer Transfers of Motor Vehicles and Boats.

  • If you live in Wilson, Williamson, Sumner, Rutherford, Davidson or Hamilton counties, you’ll need to have the car’s emissions tested ($9).

  • Get a lien release from the seller.

  • Make sure you have proof of residency and identity (your driver’s license will work).

  • Bring all of this information to the county clerk’s office, along with the title transfer fee ($12). You also need to pay the taxes, which include 1.5-2.75% local tax, and a 7% state tax.

Common mistakes

  • Not getting a lien release
  • Not being prepared to pay sales tax

If you’re selling a car in Tennessee

Private sellers in Tennessee have several steps that must be followed to ensure that the title can be transferred to the new owner. These include:

  • Complete the fields on the back of the title.

  • Make sure to give the buyer a lien release.

  • Complete the Odometer Disclosure Statement.

  • Work with the buyer to complete the Affidavit of Non-Dealer Transfers of Motor Vehicles and Boats.

Common mistakes

  • Not giving the buyer a lien release

Gifting and inheriting cars in Tennessee

If the car is a gift, then there are no sales taxes assessed, but the rest of the process outlined above must be followed by the giver and the recipient. Note that title transfers to family members must qualify. Only parents, siblings, spouses, children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, grandparents, and great grandparents qualify.

For inherited cars, the process varies depending on distribution of the estate. In all instances, the original title must be signed by either a court appointed administrator, or the estate executor. In all instances, the inheritor will need to provide the original title and either a copy of the will or the letters of testamentary. If there was not a will, the inheritor will need to complete an Affidavit of Inheritance and provide a copy of the death certificate, as well as the Odometer Disclosure Statement.

For more information on how to transfer a car title in Tennessee, visit the state’s DMV/DOR website.


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Michael

15 years of experience
518 reviews
Michael
15 years of experience
Mercedes-Benz GL450 - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Atlanta, Georgia
Micheal was punctual and friendly. Work was completed within promised time. Will definitely use again.
Volvo S80 - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Roswell, Georgia
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19 years of experience
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Kenneth
19 years of experience
Toyota Sequoia - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Newport Beach, California
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Chuy

13 years of experience
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Chuy
13 years of experience
Honda Civic - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Cicero, Illinois
Excellent work on doing the breaks for my car and the break and steering system flush I’ll definitely recommend and take into consideration for chuy’s work whenever I need a fix on my car

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16 years of experience
72 reviews
Richard
16 years of experience
BMW 328i - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Dublin, California
Richard was an outstanding mechanic. After he arrived, the first thing he did after taking the initial pictures of the car is an assessment into what work was asked. He quickly verified that I did not need brake fluid and my front brakes even-though it affects his personal commitments and time, which I think is highly appreciate and thorough professional. He was detailed oriented - took time to make sure that all the issue are fixed. He paid attention to detail in overall car assessment- he goes above and beyond. He was also teaching me through the process which I found highly educational and appreciate him providing the information ensuring and making me comfortable what he was doing and explaining patiently all the questions that was thrown at him. When he works - you know he's highly skilled and experienced and knows his stuff. He is highly experienced. He is a "Master" mechanic in true sense :)

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