Selling Motorcycle in California

California registration laws
Like other American states, California, too, has its own motor vehicle registration laws. The purpose of these laws is to keep a record of the vehicles on California’s roads in terms of their ownership, road-worthiness, etc. Therefore, when a vehicle, including a motorcycle is bought or sold in the state, it must be notified to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in a specific manner, within a specified period of time.
Selling a motorcycle in California
A person selling a motorcycle in the state of California must notify the DMV office within five calendar days. It is the law. The way to fulfill this mandatory legal requirement is by completing and submitting the Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability (REG 138) form with the DMV office. The form can be obtained by calling the DMV at 1-800-777-0133. It can also be accessed online, downloaded, printed and mailed to the DMV.

The form has been specifically designed to protect the seller from the wrongdoings of the new owner. When the DMV has recorded the details of the form, liability of offences originating from civil litigation, traffic and/or parking violations, becomes the responsibility of the new owner.

What the Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability (REG 138) form does not do is that it does not remove the name of the seller (previous owner) from the motorcycle’s record, till the DMV has received the buyer’s (new owner’s) application for transfer, with the endorsed title by the seller (previous owner).

The seller needs the following information in order to successful fill-in the Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability (REG 138) form:

  • Seller’s name and address
  • Date of sale
  • Vehicle’s odometer reading
  • New owner’s name and address
  • Vehicle’s year model
  • Vehicle’s make
  • Vehicle’s identification number (VIN)
  • Vehicle’s license plate

While the Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability (REG 138) form can be filed both electronically and by mail, the best part of filing the form online is that you receive a confirmation. Print the copy of that page and keep it for your record.

Choose Your State

Q:Can you tell me about the form to sell motorcycle in California?

A:Motor cycle sellers in California must follow a few legal steps. He or she must inform the Motor Vehicle Department and submit a notice of transfer and release of liability form. This form will protect the seller of the motorcycle from all wrongdoings of the purchaser of the motorcycle. To learn more about selling a motorcycle in CA, feel free to browse through our website.

Q:Please guide me as to how to sell a motorcycle in California?

A:Selling a motorcycle in California is not simply a matter of placing an ad on Craiglist or ByOwner.Com and then collecting the cash after the sale. In order to be free from any liabilities that could stem from an accident or a traffic offense that the new owner may be involved in, you must file a Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability. Please click on other links on our site for more details.

Q:What kind of information is required in the Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability when a California DMV selling a motorcycle is taking place?

A:When you are selling a motorcycle in the jurisdiction of the California DMV, there are certain very important pieces of information that need to be stated on the Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability. These include the name and address of both the seller and the new owner/buyer, the date on which the sale was made, the odometer reading of the motorcycle being sold, the motorcycle's make, model, VIN as well as the license plate.

Q:While searching on selling motorcycle in California to Arizona, I came across the requirement of California certification. Can you tell me more about it?

A:While buying a motorcycle from another state, you must ensure that it is certified to realize California smog laws. Federal emission standards are different from California standards and California certified motorcycles specifically meet the requirements of this state. The frame or the owner's manual will mention whether the motorcycle is California Certified or not. You will not be able to register it if it is not.