Whether you live on the Big Island, Honolulu, Kauai, or Maui if you are thinking about privately selling your used car or truck in Hawaii, you’ve come to the right place. With an estimated half-million registered trucks and cars in the state of Hawaii, it’s no wonder that thousands of private vehicle sellers from the Aloha State have used Autotrader to sell their car. Below, we’ve outlined the six steps and forms required for how to sell a car in the state of Hawaii so you can sell your car quickly for the most cash. Since Hawaii is a chain of small islands, there are some unique rules to selling a car that we’ll also cover.
Remember, most states consider the vehicle title a legal document, so the legal names (no nicknames) of both parties involved should be used, along with legible handwriting using 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
Step 5: File a Notice of Transfer
Step 6: Remove your plates and cancel your insurance
Many 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. Hawaii does not require this inspection and doesn’t have any forms that need to be filled out, but it’s a good idea for the buyer to have the inspection performed prior to the purchase.
Find all maintenance records, the 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. You may even want to consider including a vehicle history report from a service like CarFax or AutoCheck.
The most important document when selling a car is the certificate of title. If there is a lien on the title, the lienholder must release interest in the vehicle before the car is sold. This can be achieved either by the seller paying off the car or by getting a lien release from the lienholder. For cars with a lien, Section B on the back of the title must be filled out by the lienholder.
For most private party car sales in Hawaii, a bill of sale is not required. However, if you’re selling a car that is not titled in your name in Honolulu county, then a notarized bill of sale is required. The official document for this is form CS-L(MVR)40. You can legally skip this step if your name is on the title of the vehicle you’re selling, but it’s always a good idea to have a signed bill of sale and for the seller to hold on to a copy of it as evidence that the car has legally changed hands.
If the vehicle’s title has been lost, stolen or badly damaged, you can apply for a duplicate/replacement title by filing form CS-L (MVR) 10 for Honolulu county with a $10 fee, form DMVL580 for Maui county (must be notarized) with a $10 fee, or the Application For Duplicate form for Hawaii county with a $5 fee. In Kauai county, all forms are available at your local DMV office only.
The buyer and the seller both need to fill out the relevant sections on the back of the title. This information includes the legal name, address, and signature of the buyer and the seller(s) along with the date of the sale, and the odometer reading. When this is filled out accurately and legibly, it makes it easy for the buyer to transfer registration and acquire a new plate. If there are joint owners (sellers), both owners must date, print and sign their name.
If you possess the Oahu, Maui, or Kauai certificate of title, the registered owners must complete section A on the front of the title. Hawaii County will verify signatures of all sellers. The signature(s) must match, or the transfer will not be allowed. It is recommended that Section A (on the Seller’s title) be completed by the seller in front of a Notary Public or that the seller accompanies the buyer to complete the title transfer. The seller will give the new owner the endorsed certificate of title, the current certificate of registration and certificate of safety inspection.
When gifting a car to a relative, you can follow the same process that is outlined here to transfer the title. For inheriting a car, it’s mostly the same process, but you’ll need to file documentation of the inheritance with the county along with the title of the vehicle in question.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) odometer disclosure requirements were updated in December 2020 impacting certain private vehicle sales in Hawaii: 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.
Hawaii requires that a Notice of Transfer form CS-L (MVR) 53 for Honolulu county, form DMVL565-2-09 for Maui county, this form for Hawaii county, and this form for Kauai county be filled out and sent to the DMV. This form just needs some basic information about the car being sold, the name and address of the buyer and seller, and the signature of the seller. Mail the completed document to the address noted on the form within 10 days of the date of the sale. Failure to do so will result in a fine of up to $100.
The seller must remove their license plates before handing the vehicle over to the buyer. If you do not do so, you may be liable for any violations after the buyer has taken possession of the vehicle. Make sure to cancel your insurance as soon as possible after you’ve removed your plates so you don’t continue paying to insure a car that you no longer own.
For more information, visit the Hawaii DOT website.
There are a few documents which sellers of vehicles in Hawaii will need:
No, a bill of sale is not required for most private car sales in Hawaii. An exception to this is if you’re selling a car that does not have your name on the title in Honolulu county, which requires form CS-L(MVR)40.
Yes, your license plate must be removed upon the sale of the car.
Notarization of a seller’s signature is optional in Honolulu County but doing so will prevent the rejection for irregular signature when transfer is recorded in another county.
It is highly suggested you do so, if you are selling a car with an Oahu, Maui, or Kauai vehicle title. Fill out and sign Section A on your title in front of a notary. If the signatures don’t match, there is a possibility the transfer will not be completed so signing in front of a notary will eliminate any issues.
Yes. A notice of transfer must be submitted within 10 days from the date of sale within the counties of Honolulu, Maui, Hawaii, and Kauai.
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