Selling a Car in Illinois

When you’re selling a vehicle in Illinois, there are some state-specific requirements that you need to meet. We’ve collected the appropriate information here on these requirements so you can know exactly what you need to do to have a successful vehicle sale in the state.

1. Title Information

In Illinois, you can sell a vehicle under two conditions. The first condition is if you have complete ownership of the vehicle. In other words, any “lien” (loan) on the vehicle must be paid off before you can sell the vehicle. You can also sell a vehicle that you still have a lien on, provided that you pay off the lien immediately after the sale. If you are selling under the second condition, you must inform the buyer and include the information for the lienholder as part of your Bill of Sale.

Before you sell your vehicle, make certain that you have the actual title. In Illinois, this should generally not be a problem as the state has transferred titles to an electronic format. If you are not part of the database and cannot find the title, you’ll need to request a replacement title from the Illinois CyberDrive Department of Motor Vehicles website. You need an official title because you and the purchaser of your vehicle will both sign the title as proof of the transfer of ownership from you to them. Make sure both you and the buyer fill out the title transfer section of the title completely; the last thing you want is to accidentally end up still owning the vehicle and being liable for anything the new driver does with it.

In Illinois, all vehicles must be titled.

2. Bill of Sale Requirements

Illinois requires you to put together a Bill of Sale when you sell a vehicle. The Bill of Sale should 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.), as well as the vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • The vehicle odometer reading at the time of sale
  • The signatures of the seller and new owner

It is important that you keep a copy of the Bill of Sale for your records, as the purchase price of the vehicle is taxable within the state. Check with your accountant for full details on this.

3. Inspections

Illinois requires emissions tests in specific areas of the state. You can find the zip codes that require testing by checking out the Air Team Emissions Program online. If you plan on selling a vehicle registered in one of these areas, you must make certain the emissions certificate is current before proceeding with the sale. Registrations must also be current.

4. License Plates

In Illinois, when you sell your vehicle, the license plates remain with you, not with the vehicle. You can then transfer those same plates to your next vehicle. You can either do this electronically by using the Electronic Registration and Title system or going directly to a Secretary of State office.

5. Odometer Disclosure Requirements

In Illinois, if you have a vehicle that is 10 years old or newer and you are either selling it to someone or getting a new title on it for any reason, you must disclose the vehicle’s odometer reading. The state uses a specific Odometer Disclosure Statement that you can use for this disclosure.

6. Other Information

If you have questions or want more details regarding vehicle selling, check out the website for Illinois’ Vehicle Department.