How To Fill Out The Pink Slip When Selling Your Car

What Is a Pink Slip for a Car?

The name “pink slip” has a long history in the United States. According to American Title Loan, the state of California printed certificates of title on pink paper until 1988 — hence the term “pink slips.” DMV officials adopted this practice to keep car owners from accidentally throwing out this vital piece of paper with other trash like an outdated vehicle registration notice.

Because the Golden State is home to more cars than any other state, this slang term became a popular phrase and is widely known today. The phrase “pink slip” spread like wildfire thanks to a string of movies from the 1950s. These silver screen blockbusters depicted illegal street races in which the winner captured the loser’s car’s pink slip. This practice came to be known as “racing for pinks,” and eventually, the phrase stuck.


What Exactly Is a Pink Slip or Title?

No, we're not talking about getting a pink slip fr

No, we’re not talking about getting a pink slip from an employer during a layoff. That term is used to describe a termination notice when someone is no longer working for a company.

A vehicle’s title, otherwise known as a certificate of title, is the legal document that establishes its registered owner, whether that be an individual or a business. Titles are usually issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles, but the process through which the title is issued, its appearance, and the exact information contained within it vary slightly from state to state. In most cases, titles show:

  • The vehicle identification number (VIN), which is a 17-digit string of both letters and numbers that is unique to each vehicle.
  • The vehicle’s legal owner’s information, including name and address.
  • Any lienholder information, assuming the vehicle was purchased with a loan.
  • Financial information, including vehicle’s purchase price and any taxes to be paid.
  • The vehicle’s registration information, such as its license plate number.
  • The vehicle’s mileage (for both new and used cars).

If the new car was purchased using financing, either from a bank or other financial entity, the title is usually held by the lender until the loan has been repaid. The lender’s name and information also usually appear on the title.

What Is a Rebuilt Title?

A rebuilt title states that the vehicle was totaled and/or had a salvage title in the past, but it has since been certifiably repaired back to good operating condition. Read more in The Drive‘s guide, What Is a Rebuilt Title?

Beyond Pink Slip Signatures

Some states not only require a bill of sale, but also that it arrived notarized. Documents are notarized to deter fraud and to ensure proper execution. The Notary Public officiates at the signing and ensures that the documents are signed correctly. Some states will require multiple forms of identification from both buyer and seller at signing. Regardless of whether it’s legally required in your state, it’s a good idea to notarize your bill of sale, preferably at the buyer’s bank. To protect both parties in the sale, you should also download and complete the following forms:

Statement Of Facts Form

A statement of facts form details the condition of the vehicle and any warranties on it. Most private sales are “as-is,” which means the car doesn’t come with any guarantees. In some instances, if there’s a remaining warranty on the vehicle, it can be transferred to the new owner.

When you fill this form out, choose the options that apply to your sale. Some cars may qualify for a tax exemption or smog exemption, so select these options only if they apply to the car you’re selling.

Valid Smog Certificate

Some states require that vehicles pass a smog certification before they can be sold. Cars that pass the emissions test receive a document called a smog certificate. If you’re selling your vehicle, the buyer might demand that you get it tested and provide a current smog certificate before completing the sale. 

How Do Pink Slips Work?

Pink slips are proof of ownership that allow you to use your vehicle as collateral when acquiring a title loan. Title loans can be repaid in monthly installments that suit your expectations and lifestyle. The good news is that if you pay your car title loan off early you will not be charged any prepayment penalty fees.

When you receive a title loan, we will place our name to your qualifying vehicle’s title. After that, you can keep and use your vehicle while making regular monthly payments. When the title loan is paid completely, the name placed on the car title is removed from the title.

If you have a pink slip to your car, you can apply for a car title loan and get cash in a relatively short period of time. Once your application is approved, you will send over the required documentation such as a pay stub or proof of residence.

Get the funds you’ve invested in your vehicle even if you only have a few remaining payments on your initial loan. With equity in your car, you can easily get the funds you’ve invested into your vehicle by using your pink slip. We work hard to educate customers on the details and advantages associated with title loans.

What Happens If The Pink Slip Is Lost?

If it’s not clear already, your car’s pink slip is

If it’s not clear already, your car’s pink slip is one of the most important documents related to your vehicle. Like your social security card, it’s not a document that should be carried around daily. It should be kept safely at home. If you’ve lost your vehicle’s title or if it has been damaged or destroyed, you’ll need to get a new one. Like many other things automotive, the process of getting a new title is different from state to state, but in most cases, it involves contact with the DMV.

Getting a new title usually involves sending a notarized title application to the DMV along with some form of identification. Since there’s sensitive information involved, it’s usually best to deliver the documents in person, but registered mail is also acceptable. It’s also important to note that most states require an application fee.

No matter what you call it, the pink slip is one important piece of paper. You won’t think about it much at all until you need it, and when it’s not available things can become difficult in a hurry. You’ll need the pink slip to sell or transfer the vehicle to another person, so take care to keep it in a safe place. Just don’t enter into any high-stakes illegal street races, and you should be just fine.

What Is a Branded Title? 

A branded title is for a vehicle that has sustained some type of significant or notable damage. Examples include rebuilt title, salvage title, hail damage title, and water damage title. Read more in The Drive‘s guide, What Is a Branded Title?

Transferring a Vehicle’s Title to a New Owner

Driving sales says that whether you’re buying a car from a private party or a dealership, both the seller and buyer are involved in the transfer of a car’s pink slip. The seller signs over the certificate of title to the buyer, thereby releasing their claim to the vehicle and conveying it to the new owner. Most states typically print a form on the back of the certificate to document this transaction.

If you’re buying or selling your car through a private party, plan to transfer the title yourself. Make sure to read the fine print before you sign the bottom line. There may be additional directions that you must follow before the transfer is complete. The new owner must also sign the back of the pink slip, making the transfer official.

If you’re buying a new or used car from a licensed dealer, the sales staff generally takes care of all the necessary paperwork to reassign ownership over to you — or to the bank temporarily, if you’ve taken out a loan to pay for the car. The bank or credit union who gave you the loan is called a lienholder. This organization has an interest in your property. That’s why it’s on the pink slip.

You have to pay off the auto loan before you can sell the car and transfer the title. If you need to sell the vehicle or sign it over to the new owner before you’re free and clear of the loan, call your bank and ask for help handling the transaction. Each institution has its own set of requirements you’ll need to follow before you’re legally authorized to transfer ownership.

Once you’ve paid off the loan and it’s been discharged, your state’s DMV will mail you the vehicle title. This event is certainly exciting when you’ve been paying on your car loan for years.

Who Uses Pink Slips?

We provide car title loans to all customers without discrimination. Whether you are self-employed, employed by an organization, unemployed or retired you may still qualify for a title loan using your pink slip. We respect all state and federal laws.

If you have a car, then your pink slip is your car title. That’s it! We offer car title loans to all people even if their credit history is bad or credit scores are low. Our team will assess the equity value of your vehicle and ability to repay the loan to determine whether you qualify. Then, they will explain the available options to help you get a title loan that suits your unique conditions.

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