Selling a Car in New Mexico

When you’re selling a vehicle in New Mexico, there are some state-specific requirements that you have to meet. We’ve collected the appropriate information here regarding these requirements so you can get prepared to have a successful vehicle sale.

1. Title Information

In New Mexico, 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, have the lienholder submit a lien release form or a notarized letter to the state. You will not be able to sell the vehicle until the lien release has been accepted by the state.

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 New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division (MVD). 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 but are not required by law to be notarized.

2. Bill of Sale Requirements

When you sell a vehicle in New Mexico, the state requires you to submit a Bill of Sale only if the vehicle does not have a title. If you need to make a Bill of Sale, be sure it includes these elements:

  • The new owner’s name
  • The full address of the new owner, which cannot be a P.O. box
  • The seller’s name
  • The full address of the seller, which cannot be a P.O. box
  • 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 signature of the seller
  • The signature of the buyer

3. Inspections

New Mexico requires emission testing only within Bernalillo County. Vehicles that are registered within that county or that will be in that county for 60 or more days a year are required to be tested. If you are selling a vehicle that is less than five years old, it will be exempt. Otherwise, all 1978 model year and newer vehicles are required to be tested every two years. There are a few other exemptions offered, but they are unusual and apply in only a few rare cases.

You are responsible for making certain that the emission certification is current before you sell your vehicle.

4. License Plates

In New Mexico, when you sell a vehicle, the license plates stay with you rather than with the vehicle. Transferring the plates is entirely legal within the state and is possible as long as you register the plates to a new vehicle within 30 days. If you are not going to transfer the plates to a new vehicle, make sure you return them to an MVD office before you cancel your insurance or you could face unintended fines or liability for the vehicle after you’ve sold it.

5. Odometer Disclosure Requirements

New Mexico requires you to formally disclose the vehicle odometer reading when you sell a vehicle that is 10 years old or newer. Noting the odometer reading in the title transfer section of the vehicle title is sufficient to fulfill this requirement; however, you also have the option of filling out a separate state form if you would prefer.

6. Other Information

If you have questions or want more details on vehicle selling, check out the website for the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division.