Selling a Car in South Carolina

When you’re selling a vehicle in South Carolina, there are some specific requirements that you must meet. We’ve collected the appropriate information here about these requirements so you can make sure you experience a smooth vehicle sale in the state.

1. Title Information

In South Carolina, you can only sell a vehicle if you have full 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 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 South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). In South Carolina, you also have to fill out an Application for Certificate of Title and Registration to get the replacement title.

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

South Carolina requires a Bill of Sale for any vehicle sale. Make sure the Bill of Sale 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.), plus the vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • The vehicle odometer reading at the time of sale
  • The signature of the seller
  • The signature of the buyer

If you want to use the state’s official Bill of Sale form, you will have to get the form from a DMV office.

You will also need to fill out and return a Notice of Vehicle Sold to the state.

3. Inspections

South Carolina has no emissions testing or safety inspections required on vehicles, so there are no requirements for you to fix your car or have it inspected before you sell it.

4. License Plates

In South Carolina, when you sell your vehicle, the license plates stay with you rather than remain with the vehicle. Transferring the plates is entirely legal within the state as long as the new vehicle is registered in the same name as the plates. If you are not going to transfer the plates to a new vehicle, make sure you return them to a Department of Motor Vehicles 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

South Carolina requires people to formally disclose the vehicle odometer reading when they sell a vehicle that is 10 years old or newer. Completing the odometer section on the title fulfills this requirement.

6. Other Information

If you have questions or want more details on vehicle selling, check out the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles website.