Selling a Used Car in North Carolina


Did you know that the process for selling a vehicle online differs for every state? Well, it’s true. If you’re a resident of the Tarheel State, here’s how to privately sell your used car or truck — or get a car title loan in North Carolina.

Inspection Time

Permit the potential buyer to have your vehicle inspected by a third party of their choosing, at a time that’s convenient for you both. After all, most shoppers expect to be able to do so, and will likely turn on their heels if you decline. You can also keep the report for your records, even if that seller didn’t end up buying the car.

Pull Together Necessary Documents

You’re going to need to gather necessary paperwork and materials such as maintenance records and an up-to-date North Carolina Emissions and Safety Inspection Report. In the state, all used vehicles bought from a private seller must be inspected before it’s registered – unless the vehicle passed inspection within the last year. Cars and trucks less than three years old, or more than 30 years old, are exempt from the yearly safety inspection.

Further, the seller must provide to the buyer a lien release verification via Form MVR-460, which is Affidavit by North Carolina lienholder, and Form MVR-8, Application for Removal of lien from the Certificate of Title.

Bill of Sale

While a bill of sale is not legally mandatory for selling your vehicle in N.C., it’s a wise move to produce one for you as well as the buyer – and get it notarized. It will come in handy should issues arise when it’s time to transfer the title or register it in their name.

Complete Odometer and Damage Documents

Any vehicle transfer that takes place through Dec. 31, 2030, requires an odometer disclosure. Beginning on Jan. 1, 2031, any car or truck under 20 years old will need one. Previously, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration required disclosure for vehicles during their first 10 years. No odometer disclosures are necessary for cars built after 2010.

Title Transfer

To complete a title transfer, you’ll need the buyer’s name and address, date of sale or delivery, your signature, a damage disclosure statement, and odometer reading, if required. Note that in North Carolina, vehicle titles require notarization.

Remove the Plate and Cancel Insurance

Under N.C. law, the vehicle’s license plate must be removed and turned over to the Department of Motor Vehicles, unless the plate is being transferred to another vehicle. To get a new license plate, the buyer must have the vehicle inspected before it’s registered, unless the car or truck has received a passing inspection within previous year.

That’s it for the steps. Oh, and remember that car title loan that was mentioned up top? Well, you can likely get one of those if you have a car in your name with a clear title, which you’ll have to leave with the lender until the loan is paid off, plus interest. You can even continue to drive your vehicle during the loan repayment process. Make sure you can pay the loan back, or else risk losing your vehicle to seizure.

The amount of you can borrow will depend on your vehicle’s value, which is based on its make, model, age, mileage, and overall condition. It also depends on your income, which, in addition to a 9-to-5, can come from alternative sources such as Social Security, Worker’s Compensation, a rental property, retirement plan, or settlement payments.

Now you know what the requirements are for selling a used car in North Carolina. Before you do so, if need be, you might want to consider using the vehicle for a title loan, which are usually due in 30 days or less.

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