Car Selling Advice - Potentially complicated scenario

dsjohnson84dsjohnson84 Member Posts: 1
edited September 2016 in Nissan
The short story is. I moved to California a couple of years ago and right after I moved I never used my car again and it eventually became un-drivable and abandoned in my back yard. I now am moving and have to get rid of my car. I'm wanting to give it away for free on Craigslist but I'm concerned about how to rid myself of my car "correctly" since this is my first time... Here are the potential complications:

State I live in: California
Plates & Registration: Florida (not currently registered, hasn't been for years)
Title: Florida, but has my old Missouri mailing address, which is when I received my title
Insurance: Hasn't been insured in years

I've been doing some research...


The DMV of CA says:

You will always need:

California Certificate of Title or Application for Duplicate Title (REG 227) (PDF)
Signature(s) of seller(s) and lienholder, if any
Signature(s) of buyer(s)
Transfer fee

You may also need:

Smog certification
Use tax and/or various other fees
Additional documentation


My car (on paper) essentially has no connection to California, and I'm giving the car away for free. So does anyone have any advice on what I would need to do to be free and clear of this car given my situation. I'm a bit out of my depth here. Thank you.


  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    You may want to donate it to a non-profit instead. This outfit seems legit and they say they are expert at title issues. Your main concern, I think, would be to cut off all liability so that anyone moving the vehicle, even on a flatbed, doesn't have a wreck that causes an injured party to sue you for damages.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    If you have a valid title from any state, you're good to go here. Just take off the plates, sign the title (and notarize it if FLA requires a notary stamp) and then give the new owner a BILL OF SALE that has "AS IS WHERE IS" written on it, along with your signature and the car's year, make and VIN. That will release you from any smog obligation.

    Personally, I'd recommend junking it--it's safer and easier than giving it away. A recycler will take the car if it has a valid title.

    Donation might be okay but again, take off the plates.
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