How to Sell a Car in Kentucky

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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 Kentucky.

Whether you live in the Cumberland Plateau, the Bluegrass region, the Pennyroyal Plateau, the Jackson Purchase, or the Western Coal Fields of Kentucky, if you are thinking about privately selling your used car or truck, you’ve come to the right place. With an estimated 1.7 million registered trucks and cars in the state of Kentucky, it’s no wonder that thousands of private vehicle sellers from the Bluegrass State have used Autotrader to sell their car. Below, we’ve outlined the four steps and forms required for how to sell a car in the state of Kentucky so you can sell your car quickly for the most cash.. 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.

If you’re looking to gift a vehicle or transfer a title to a relative, you can follow the same process that is outlined below, and the owner will need to pay any applicable sales tax. As for inherited vehicles, that will be handled when the estate is ministered. In response to rising motor vehicle tax bills driven by pressure on the used car market, in January 2022 Kentucky lawmakers have proposed some changes in how those taxes are calculated.

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: Transfer the title
Step 4: Remove your plates and cancel your insurance

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

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. Kentucky 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.

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Step 2: Organize and gather all related vehicle documentation

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 the lienholder providing a letter of lien release. If you can’t pay off the car, then a lien termination statement from your lienholder must be submitted to your County Clerk.

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Step 3: Transfer the title

If the vehicle’s title has been lost, stolen or badly damaged, you can get a replacement/duplicate Kentucky title by filling out Form TC96-182 and checking the applicable box (Lost, Damaged, Illegible, etc.). With that form filled out plus a title number or license plate number, a valid photo ID, and $6 plus the cost of a notary, you can get a duplicate title. If the odometer needs to be corrected on the current title, the seller must complete an Affidavit of Mileage Correction, Form TC 96-322.

When selling a car privately in Kentucky, if both the buyer and the seller are state residents, they 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, the odometer reading, and the purchase price. When this is filled out accurately and legibly, it makes it easy for the buyer to transfer registration and acquire a new plate. If you’re selling a vehicle to an out-of-state resident, both the buyer and seller will need to fill out and sign an Affidavit of Incomplete Transfer (Form TC96-3) in front of a notary public. Kentucky, like the majority of states, collects a motor vehicle usage tax anytime a vehicle’s ownership is transferred. If there is more than one owner showing on the title, the following number of signatures will be required based on the connection between the names: And – All persons listed must sign. Or – Either person can sign, only one signature required. And/Or - Both sellers must sign. If no connection listed, it will default to ‘and’ and all owners (sellers) must sign.

In the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the seller is required to sign the title in the presence of a notary. If you’re not sure where to find a notary, you can find a local notary by city, county, or zip code here. From there, the buyer takes the assigned title plus proof of Kentucky insurance, their ID, and money for fees and applicable taxes to the county clerk’s office and transfers ownership of the vehicle.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) odometer disclosure requirements were updated in December 2020 impacting certain private vehicle sales in Kentucky: 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. Kentucky provides Odometer Disclosure form TC96-5 available on their website.

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Step 4: Remove your plates and cancel your insurance

The seller must remove their license plate 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. Kentucky requires you to return the plates to your local county clerk’s office and pay any property taxes due on that vehicle, if applicable. If you were a resident of Kentucky and owner of the vehicle January 1st of the current year, you may have property taxes due on that vehicle.

Make sure to cancel your insurance as soon as possible after the sale is made so you don’t continue paying to insure a car that you no longer own.

For more information, visit Kentucky’s official DMV website.

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

What paperwork do I need to privately sell a car in Kentucky?

Selling a car in Kentucky is a fairly straightforward process and only requires the following documents:

  1. Vehicle certificate of title
  2. Application for Kentucky Certificate of Title or Registration (Form TC96-182) may be required for older titles prior to 2000
  3. Affidavit of Incomplete Transfer (Form TC96-3) for selling a vehicle to an out-of-state resident.
  4. Odometer Disclosure Form TC 96-5, if applicable

Is a Bill of Sale required for selling a car in Kentucky?

No, Kentucky does not require a bill of sale for private party vehicle transactions. However, it’s always a good idea to have a bill of sale signed by the seller and the buyer with a copy for both to transfer ownership and give legal protection to both parties.

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

Yes, your license plate must be removed and returned to your local Kentucky county clerk’s office after you sell your car.

Does a vehicle Bill of Sale have to be notarized in Kentucky?

No. When you privately sell a vehicle in Kentucky, the Bill of Sale does not need to be notarized.

Does a vehicle title have to be notarized in Kentucky?

Yes. When you privately sell a vehicle in Kentucky, the seller is required to sign the vehicle title in the presence of a notary.

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