Selling a Car in Hawaii

When you’re selling a vehicle in Hawaii, you need to be aware of some requirements that are specific to the state. We gathered together information here regarding these requirements so that you can know exactly what it takes to have a smooth vehicle sale in the Aloha State.

1. Title Information

First, make certain you actually own your vehicle completely. In Hawaii, you can only sell a vehicle if you have total ownership of it. In other words, any “lien” (loan) on the vehicle must be paid off before you can sell the vehicle.

Secondly, make certain that you have the actual title with you. If you cannot find the title, you’ll need to request a replacement title. Each county in Hawaii has slightly different rules regarding this, and titles originate from the state’s counties. You can find online forms for replacing a title from Hawaii County and Honolulu County. In Maui and Kauai counties, you will have to get the form from an actual Department of Transportation office.

It is important that you have an official title because you will sign the title over to the vehicle buyer as proof of the transfer of ownership from you to them. Be certain to you fill out the title transfer section of the title completely. After all, you definitely don’t want to accidentally end up still owning the vehicle and being liable for it.

2. Bill of Sale Requirements

Hawaii requires you to put together a Bill of Sale when you sell a vehicle. The Bill of Sale must include these elements:

  • The new owner’s name
  • The full address of the new owner
  • The seller’s name
  • The full address of the seller
  • The date of the sale
  • The sale price
  • A full and detailed vehicle description, including the vehicle’s make, model, year, series number (if applicable) and body type (2-door, 4-door, sedan, etc.), plus the vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • The vehicle odometer reading at the time of sale
  • The signatures of the seller and buyer

In Hawaii, you will pay taxes on the sale price for the vehicle, so keep a copy of the Bill of Sale for your records.

3. Inspections

Hawaii requires a yearly inspection on vehicles, so before you sell your vehicle, make certain that you have the inspection certificate to give to the buyer. Registration must also be current.

4. License Plates

In Hawaii, when you sell your vehicle, the license plates remain with you rather than with the vehicle. You may be able to put those same plates on your next vehicle if you want to.

5. Odometer Disclosure Requirements

In Hawaii, you are required to disclose your vehicle’s odometer reading when you sell the vehicle. As is the case with vehicle titles, each county in Hawaii handles the odometer disclosure requirement separately. However, in all cases, you can fulfill the requirement by noting the odometer reading somewhere on the title.

6. Other Information

In Hawaii, you are required to submit a Notice of Transfer form within 10 days of selling a vehicle. Failing to do so can cost you a fine of over $100, so make certain you get the form turned in on time. Once more, the counties each do their form slightly differently, so you will need to visit the appropriate county motor vehicle department for the correct form.

If you have any questions or want more details on anything relating to vehicle selling, check out Hawaii’s main government page online, which has links to the other county pages.