Selling a Car in Michigan

When you’re selling a vehicle in Michigan, there are some specific requirements that need to meet. We’ve collected all of the appropriate information here about these requirements so your vehicle sale can go without any hitches.

1. Title Information

In Michigan, you can only sell a vehicle if you have complete ownership of it. In other words, any “lien” (loan) on the vehicle must be paid off before you can sell the vehicle. If you have paid off a lien, double-check your title to make certain that the lien has been released. If not, contact the lienholder and have them transmit a “lien release” or a “lien termination” form to the Michigan Secretary of State (SOS) office.

You should also make certain that you have the actual title. If you cannot find the title, you’ll need to request a replacement title from the SOS office. You can also order a new title from the SOS website. You will need the physical title so that you can fill out the necessary information for the buyer as proof of the transfer of the vehicle. Both your signature and the buyer’s signature will be necessary.

2. Bill of Sale Requirements

Michigan does not require you to have a Bill of Sale when you sell your vehicle, as you already are putting all the appropriate information onto the title when transferring the title. However, the state suggests that you do make an actual Bill of Sale to keep after the buyer takes the vehicle. Keeping that Bill of Sale specifically releases you from any liability for what happens with that vehicle.

If you choose to have a Bill of Sale, it 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

3. Inspections

Michigan has no required vehicle inspection or emission testing on its vehicles, so you do not have to get any tests done on your vehicle before you sell it.

4. License Plates

In Michigan, when you sell a vehicle, its license plates can stay with you rather than remain with the vehicle. You may transfer the plates from one vehicle to another. If you do not transfer the plates, you need to return them to the SOS before you cancel your insurance on the old vehicle.

5. Odometer Disclosure Requirements

Michigan requires people to formally disclose their vehicle’s odometer reading when they sell the vehicle and it is 10 years old or newer. Completing the odometer reading section of the title transfer form is sufficient to fulfill this requirement.

6. Other Information

If you have questions or want more details about anything relating to vehicle selling, check out the Michigan Secretary of State Office website.