How to Sell a Car in Connecticut

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The steps and process for selling a vehicle online are different in every state. Learn how to sell your used car or truck privately in Connecticut.

Whether you live in Hartford, Bridgeport, New Haven, Rockville, Litchfield or Putnam, you’ve come to the right place. With an estimated 1.5 million registered trucks and cars in the state of Connecticut, it is no wonder that thousands of private car owners from the Constitution State have used Autotrader to sell their car. Below, we’ve outlined the five steps and forms required for how to sell a car in the state of Connecticut so you can sell your car quickly for the most cash. Remember, most U.S. states consider the vehicle title a legal document which is why it is advised to use the legal names (no nicknames) of both parties involved along with legible handwriting using a black or blue ink. Mistakes, errors and using White Out may void the document so be careful and take your time filling it out.

Step 1: Allow the buyer to have the car inspected by a third party
Step 2: Organize and gather all related vehicle documentation
Step 3: Bill of Sale
Step 4: Transfer the title and report the sale
Step 5: Remove your plates, cancel your registration and insurance

Step 1: Allow the buyer to have the car inspected by a third party

Most vehicle shoppers who buy a car privately pay for a pre-purchase vehicle inspection conducted by a qualified and licensed auto mechanic of their choosing. Although the buyer pays for this inspection, the seller and buyer must agree on when and where the inspection is to be held. If the inspection does find any issues with the car, it is a good idea for you as the seller to keep the report for your records.

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Step 2: Organize and gather all related vehicle documentation

Find all maintenance records, paper or electronic, owner’s manual and other paperwork related to the vehicle. If you can provide the buyer with extensive and detailed maintenance records, this will help provide the buyer with confidence that you’ve maintained the car in a proper and regular manner.

When a vehicle is financed, the financial institution – usually a bank - will be listed as a lienholder and retains the original title. When a lien has been satisfied on a paper title, the lienholder can issue a lien release either by signing off on the front of the title or with a letter on loan institution letterhead. In Connecticut, it is not required to obtain a new certificate of title removing your previous lien holder. The seller may retain the stamped paid certificate of the title from the lienholder and use this title for future sale or transfer of the vehicle. Connecticut does not participate in any electronic title or electronic lien holder program and therefore is not able to receive electronic title or lien holder messages.

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Step 3: Bill of Sale

Connecticut does not require residents to use a special Bill of Sale but the state DMV does make form H-31 available for use. If you don’t want to use the state’s provided form, private sellers can draft their own custom Bill of Sale as long as it contains at least the following Connecticut-required information:

  • Year, Make and Model of the vehicle
  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
  • Odometer reading on the date of sale
  • Printed legal name and address of the seller and buyer
  • Date of Sale
  • Sale Price

Vehicle purchases of passenger vehicles and light duty trucks model year 1991 and newer between private parties in Connecticut are subject to a 6.35% Connecticut Sales and Use Tax (or 7.75% for vehicles over $50,000) and is based on the NADA average trade-in-value or bill of sale value (whichever is higher). The buyer pays for this during the registration process.

If the vehicle is being gifted, the seller should include a purchase price of “GIFT / $0” on the Bill of Sale. Gifted vehicles are not subject to sale and use tax but the seller/donor and the buyer/donee of the vehicle are required to complete and sign a Motor Vehicle Gift Declaration (Form AU-463). Vehicle purchases between immediate family members (mother, father, spouse, children, siblings) are also exempt from Connecticut sales or use tax. Certain Hybrid vehicles are also exempt.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) odometer disclosure requirements were updated in December 2020 impacting certain private vehicle sales in Connecticut: For a vehicle transfer that occurs from January 1, 2021 through December 31, 2030, any vehicle of model year 2011 or newer (2012, 2013, etc.) will require an odometer disclosure. Starting on January 1, 2031, any vehicle that is less than 20 model years old will require an odometer disclosure. Previously, the NHTSA required disclosure was for only the first 10 years. Cars older than 2010 are exempt from odometer disclosures. Connecticut allows consumers to request an odometer reading verification for a small fee.

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Step 4: Transfer the title and report the sale

If the vehicle to be sold has delinquent tax owed on the vehicle or if the registration is suspended, it cannot be transferred. If the vehicle’s title has been lost, stolen or badly damaged, you can file for a replacement title and pay any related fees prior to selling the car. If a lien is listed on the title, a lien release letter must be submitted with the replacement title form H-6B. This can be done either online, by mail or by visiting a Connecticut DMV office.

If the title is lost but the buyer will be registering the vehicle in state, Connecticut provides these instructions of how to sell a vehicle with a missing title instead of requesting a replacement title. Replacement titles are not required for vehicles over 20 model years old.

In the case where the owner has passed away, if you are a surviving owner of a Connecticut titled vehicle and your name and the decedent’s name is separated by “or” on the title, the surviving owner acquires the interest of the deceased owner and you can sign as the sole owner for an auto title transfer. If the owner names on the vehicle title were separated by “and” as in the case of common ownership, distribution of the vehicle will be assigned by a probate court. When the owner names are not separated by a conjunction, either party can transfer ownership; only one seller signature is required.

If you have a clear title in hand, the seller must complete and sign the reverse side of the Certificate of Title and give it to the buyer along with a completed and signed Bill of Sale form H-31. The seller should keep a copy of the completed Title and the Bill of Sale.

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Step 5: Remove your plates, cancel your registration and insurance

Connecticut law states the seller must remove their license plates and cancel your registration with the DMV. Either return the plates or transfer them to a replacement vehicle. If canceling online, be sure to keep a copy of the receipt as it will be used to adjust your tax bill. State law requires sellers to maintain liability insurance until the vehicle registration has been cancelled. The buyer(s) will be required to register the vehicle in their name(s) and apply for a new title.

For more information, visit the Connecticut Driver and Motor Vehicles website.

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Questions about selling your car in Connecticut? We have answers.

Do I remove my license plate when I sell a car in Connecticut?

Yes. Connecticut law states that the seller must remove their license plates and then cancel their registration with the DMV when the vehicle sale is complete.

Can I sell a car without a vehile title in Connecticut?

Yes, vehicles 20 model years old or older do not require a title in order to be sold in Connecticut.

Do I need a Bill of Sale to sell a car in Connecticut?

Yes. The state provides form H-31 on the DMV website which you may download. Technically, you may draft your own Bill of Sale, as there is no special form required. If you are drafting your own bill of sale, it must contain the following information: name and address of purchaser, name and address of seller, description of vehicle (make, model, year, color, and vehicle identification number), sales price, date of sale, signature of seller. The seller should keep a copy of the completed Title and Bill of Sale.

Does a vehicle bill of sale have to be notarized in Connecticut?

No. When you privately sell a car in Connecticut, the Bill of Sale does not need to be notarized. Some buyers and sellers do so anyways as it can add another level of protection to both parties.

Does Connecticut require a notary for the transfer of a car title?

No. A notary does not need to witness the seller and the buyer signing the title for a private party sale.

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