When you buy or sell a car in the United States, it is crucial that you will have to sign a number of agreements. Your new car title is one of them.
But what is the meaning of a car title? And how to transfer car title at AAA? Let’s find out with the help of this article today!
Can I transfer Car title at AAA?
You can transfer the certificate of titles or pink slips with the help of AAA. The services is applicable for any sort of car, whether it is inherited, privately owned, or salvaged. Other than that they can also transfer boat titles and add or remove people from the title.
What is a Car title?
Goal: Owning the Vehicle
The goal when you want to change a car title is to legally own the vehicle. You legally own a vehicle when you or your agent possess the vehicle’s title. But more importantly the title must be properly assigned by the party named on the title.
A car title or certificate of title for a car (also often known as a vehicle title, an automobile title, or a pink slip) is a legal document or paperwork proof that identifies a person or business as the legal owner of a vehicle and store it in a secure location in the United States.
Remember that in the United States the title does not permit the owner to drive the vehicle on public roads. Registration is a separate process and document from the title. It allows you to drive vehicles on public roads.
The federal government is not responsible for vehicle administration, including titles. The states are in charge of this process.These certificate of title for cars or car titles are often issued or granted by the State Secretary in all the state where the car or other vehicles are purchased by the Department of Motor Vehicles, in short the DMVs within the United States.
Each state in the United States has its own Certificate of Title procedure. All 51 have reciprocal agreements with each other. So you can get all 51 titles in any other state for sale, gift, or any other type of legal transfer. Even if you brought your vehicle to one state, it can be registered by every other state’s DMV. When it comes to filling out the title during a vehicle sale, the rules in one state may or may not apply in another.
For instance the majority of jurisdictions, do not require a notary when filling out the title, although other states in the United States of America make it essential for most parties when purchasing or selling a vehicle.
With that said, regardless of whatever the state’s procedure might be, all titles typically contain the following information:
- The information of the lien holder on the title in case you purchase a car with a lien against it. This data is very much required to confirm that the debt is paid off before the vehicle is sold to you.
- The identification (ID) data of the car, like it’s VIN number, year, model, make etc.
- The number on the license plate.
- The technical information like, for example, the odometer reading, mileage, gross weight, etc.
- The information regarding the name and address of the car’s owner.
There are certain circumstances at the time of selling or buying a car, where the pink slip transfers, or as it is now known, the car title transfers, are very much essential. In general, the situations which necessitate the transfer of car ownership include:
- The usual selling away of a car.
- The purchasing of a car at a public auction.
- In case the owner of the car has died.
The seller of the car in concern must sign the title and fill out any relevant information before it may be transferred. It is after that, the buyer can take this signed certificate of title to the proper government office to have the ownership title transferred to their name. In the cases where the car has a lien, the lender will likely be required to sign an affidavit as well.
This very transfer of car title can either occur within your own state or beyond state lines. Whatever the reason for the transfer, there are a few pieces of paperwork that must be filed with your local regional transportation office (RTO) to effectuate the ownership transfer.
The title transfer process is simpler if you buy from a dealership. But the dealership will collect fee.Most dealerships offer the service of handling this process.
You can buy from a private seller. You and the seller will then have to handle the paperwork correctly.
Even as a seller, you will face the hassle of transferring the ownership to the buyer. It is vital because you still are a legal owner until the transfer occurs. You are held liable for any legal trouble or fees incurred by the vehicle’s new driver until this transfer occurs.
As the seller, you must sign the old title so the buyer can get a new title in their name. Trading your car to a dealership comes with less paperwork, but you will make less money taking this route.
The whole procedure of transferring of car title is extremely a time-consuming. To avoid this, you can consider taking the DMV services of a non-profit organization called AAA.
The American Automotive Association, Inc., abbreviated as AAA or triple “A”, is a confederation of automobile clubs with over 60 million members in the United States and Canada.
All the self-contained clubs of AAA are administered by their own Board of Directors and are chartered and incorporated in their own state. Also, each of these clubs owns the property on which they reside, and membership is based on the place or area where you live.
These non-profit organization clubs of AAA are well-known for providing a wide range of standard services to both their own members and members of other AAA clubs. This includes DMV services for transferring car titles, which we talked about as well.
Here’s everything you need to know about transferring a car title at AAA DMV services, whether you’re the buyer or the seller.
So, if you are a AAA member and want to avoid the troubles of getting into and standing in the huge lengthy lines at the DMV, you can easily go and transfer a car title, at most nearest automobile club branch of AAA from the location you live. The procedure is the same as what you would have done if you had gone directly to the DMV.
Lastly, we like to add an extra information that even though AAA can manage salvage car titles, it cannot alter a regular title to a salvage title.
How to transfer it?
Transferring a car title certificate at AAA is usually a simple process and anybody can do it, provided they are a member of the AAA. By signing the existing car title, the seller relinquishes ownership of the vehicle.
Additional information may be required depending on the state in which you live.
The odometer reading on the automobile, the buyer’s name and contact information, the transaction price, and other facts may be included.
If the car is titled in the names of two people, both of them must sign the title.
The signatures may need to be attested by a notary in some states, so verify the requirements in your state before signing.
The buyer can take the title to the relevant state official, such as the department of motor vehicles, to have a new title issued in their name once the car’s owner (or owners) has signed it.
Below are listed the important general steps for transferring a car title at AAA.
- If you are a buyer, You have to confirm that the seller is a legal owner. You check the vehicle’s VIN and ownership paperwork to ensure you aren’t buying a stolen car. You should also note the odometer reading when you buy the vehicle.
What is VIN?
A vehicle identification number (VIN) is a unique code for all manufactured motor vehicles. It is a string of letters and numbers 17-character long without intervening spaces or the letters Q (q), I (i), and O (o). It is because these letters look like numbers 0 or 1.
Each part of the 17 characters of VIN give specific information about the vehicle.
- The first character depicts the country of manufacture.
- The second character tells you about the vehicle’s manufacturer.
- The third character is about the vehicle type.
- The succeeding five digits inform you about the vehicle’s brand, body style, engine size and type, model, series, etc.
- The tenth digit shows the model year.
- The eleventh digit is about the assembly plant.
- All digits after that are the vehicle’s production number.
The specifics are given by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). You can look up VIN Decoder online for vehicles manufactured since 1981.
When buying a used car you have to look up VIN to get the vehicle history report and find records of its previous owners, accidents, and repairs. You can also find out if the manufacturer recalled the vehicle and whether repairs were made.
On most passenger cars the VIN is on the dashboard on the driver’s side. You look through the windshield from outside the car to get it. The VIN can also be on the driver’s side door pillar. You can open the door and look where the door latches to the car. It is sometimes out there.
A motorcycle’s VIN is on the steering neck below the handlebars. It’s on the motor or the frame in some vehicles.
A semitrailer’s VIN is on the front part of the semi trailer on the left side.
The VIN can also be on your vehicle’s title or liability insurance documents.
- Release the vehicle from any liens and obtain a lien release once the loan has been paid off.
- Any lien holders on the title should sign a notarized lien release.
- Even if you paid off the vehicle, you will need the lien release if the lien holder is listed on the title.
- Complete the DMV-provided transfer of title form as per the DMV regulations in your state.
- In case there’s any confusion, your AAA local branch will assist you about how to fill out the title form appropriately according to your state’s DMV rules.
- Make sure to include all of the required information, such as your name, age, and odometer reading.
- Check that you fill out all of the fields correctly, including spelling names correctly and taking an exact odometer reading. If you make a mistake, the title will be nullified.
- To make the transfer valid, all registered owners must sign the title. So, in case there have been any past registered owners of the car, they must be present to sign the title transfer form.
- To finally complete the title transfer process, go to your local AAA branch or AAA auto club in person.
- Bring all of your documentation, including car title, lien release, proof of any mandatory state inspections, and your driver’s license along with you.
- Hand over the documents to the AAA representative.
- For the transfer, pay all mandatory fees and sales tax.
- The cost of transferring money varies by state, as does the sales tax.
- When transferring the title, you should have the buyer present to take care of any required sales taxes.
- The title will then be transferred to you once you pay the fees, which vary by state.
What Documents I need?
The common documents that are required for transferring a car title at AAA include:
- The main car title or pink slip document.
- The Bill of Sale or sale price document.
- The lien release document.
- The Proof of current insurance.
- A valid driver’s license or state identification (ID) card.
- Other additional documents which provide information about the car (if any).
The document requirements vary from by state or region and often the municipality. So, in order to avoid any unnecessary chaos or confusion, we recommend you the AAA members to call AAA at 1-866-903-4222 or go check their online website, https://www.aaa.com/stop/ , ahead of time to double check the documents that you will need to transfer your car title at AAA DMV services.
Any cost associated with it?
A convenience fee is charged by AAA offices for each DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) transaction. AAA members pay $6.00, while non-AAA members pay $8.00.
Cash, money orders, personal checks, and bank checks are all acceptable means of payment. Also, American Express, MasterCard, Visa, Discover, and most MasterCard/Visa debit cards are accepted.
It is requested to all the AAA members to please make any checks payable to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
We also like to inform our readers that since the Dues and services will vary slightly depending for the different clubs of AAA, it is smart to contact them to know the exact fee required for the state or location you dwell in.
Also do not forget to contact AAA to know about the changes in their scheduled working hours during the times surrounding a holiday or any such occasions or events.
Recorrections in Title
All titles say something similar to the following statement: “Cross outs, whiteouts, or other alterations may void this title.”
If an error does occur in the assignment process, do not worry. Every state has a different process and forms for correcting title errors.It usually requires a written statement signed by the person who committed the error. You have to explain why the error happened.
Problematic Title Types
No Title or Lost Title
You receive a duplicate title if you lost your Vehicle’s Title. If you bought the car and lost your Vehicle’s Title, it is problematic if the previous owner does not have the Title. Then, take the assistance of the antecedent owner while filling out the paperwork. If that’s not possible, you may have to apply for a bonded title as long as you can prove you own the car. It is a very complicated process.
Salvage titles are titles given to vehicles damaged to the point where they are considered a total loss. Generally, the cars must have enough damage to devalue significantly. They are mostly new models (less than 10 years old). You can register a car as salvage. You can not drive it nor insure it.
Vehicles with a salvage title are changed to a rebuilt title if the car has been substantially repaired and rebuilt. Your vehicle is inspected thoroughly before you can take it on the road. You will also need documentation of how you repaired it, such as repair invoices and photos.
Flood Damage Title
Flood damage titles come with a strict set of rules to fix them up enough to be able to drive. A car is said to be flood damaged if it got immersed in water high enough to fill up the engine compartment. Like salvage and rebuilt titles, you must repair and get it inspected to make it legal to insure and drive.
A car designated as a lemon has a significant defect that cannot be repaired after multiple attempts. Usually, the manufacturer will buy back the vehicle and brand it as a lemon. In some places, these vehicles cannot be sold. Not all car owners participate in buybacks, and it becomes a problem if you buy them. There are no laws to protect you if you buy a lemon. Sometimes lemon titles are unlawfully changed. To be safe from buying cars like this, check its repair history through the VIN.
In this case, the words flood or salvage are removed illegally from the title, and the car is resold. You may be buying a potentially dangerous vehicle without knowing it. To help avoid this problem, do a title history check.
Title and registration issues can be a hassle, but most vehicles can be registered if you perform particular steps. You must know what you are buying to keep title registration to a minimum.
Find out about clearing a problem title by referring to your respective state’s laws. You can also contact AAA or other agencies.
To conclude, a title is a legal document that shows that you are the owner of a particular vehicle. The individual states award you this document. They also have mutual agreements which allow you to make a car title in any state. Every state has a slightly different process but usually contains similar steps.
The title transfer process is simple if you take the help of dealerships. But they require a fee. It is likely to be a hassle if you want to do it on your own in your state DMV office. To avoid it you can take the help of AAA.
At AAA, the process is relatively simple based on state guidelines. But there are some steps that you need to take as a buyer to avoid problems. You have to check that the seller is the owner of the car. You can do it by checking the vehicle’s VIN, otherwise called a Vehicle Identification number. It is 17 characters long and packs vital information. You ought to check the vehicle’s history using this number.
You must then ensure the car is released from any liens. Then after filling out all the relevant documents, submit them along with any associated required documents to get the title transferred. You can clarify your doubts at the AAA office.
The required documents differ from state to state, thus call before your visit and ensure beforehand what documents you need to take to complete the process,
You pay a convenience fee of $6 if you are an AAA member. Else you pay $8. It is the charge at AAA for DMV-related transactions. You can correct errors in the form, although you make sure not to err.
You need to be aware of problematic title types. Buying vehicles with these types of titles will cause you problems. You are not allowed to use Vehicles with salvage titles.
You can change a salvage title to a rebuilt title only after a rigorous inspection. The same rules apply to flood damage titles. Lemon titles and Washed titles are the most dangerous ones to look out for.
A lost title is problematic in specific cases. It can be fixed but is likely to be a hassle.
We hope we were able to address all of your questions about the car title transfer service of AAA DMV. If you have any other questions, please contact AAA by:
- Calling them at 1-866-903-4222.
- Visiting their official website at https://www.aaa.com/stop/
- Downloading the mobile AAA application.
- Texting “APP10” to 86792 and getting a link to download the application.