Sell My Car in Minnesota

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How to Sell a Car in Minnesota


Whether you live in the Red River Valley, the Twin Cities, the Iron Range or the Buffalo Ridge, if you are thinking about privately selling your used car or truck, you’ve come to the right place. With an estimated 7 million registered trucks and cars in the state of Minnesota, it is no wonder that thousands of private car owners from the Land of 10,000 Lakes have used Autotrader to sell their car. Below, we’ve outlined the 5 steps required to sell a car in the state of Minnesota. 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 correction fluid 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: Don’t remove the plates and report the sale



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, 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.

Private sellers in Minnesota do not need to provide buyers with any emission documents since the state does not conduct vehicle emission inspections although the Governor announced in 2019 stricter emission standards are on the horizon. Sellers must also provide a signed lien release card or notarized lien release form, if applicable.

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Step 3: Bill of Sale

Minnesota law states that private sellers of vehicles do not need a Bill of Sale. Some private owners opt to create a Bill of Sale to protect themselves and the buyer. At a minimum, a Bill of Sale should have the following information on it:

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

Alternatively, the buyer and the seller can submit an Application to Title and Register a Motor Vehicle (PS2000) instead of a Bill of Sale. If the vehicle is being gifted, the seller should include a purchase price of “GIFT / $0” on the Bill of Sale, fill out and sign an affidavit stating the vehicle is a gift. Private party vehicle transactions are subject to a 6.5% motor vehicle sales tax in Minnesota based on the total purchase price or fair market value of the vehicle, whichever is higher. Older vehicles which meet certain conditions are subject to a $10 flat in-lieu of sales tax. Inherited vehicles, transfers of vehicles upon death or gifted vehicles between spouses, parents and children and grandparents and grandchildren are nontaxable motor vehicle transfers and do not require an affidavit; gifted vehicles outside those cases are subject the motor vehicle sales tax. The Minnesota DMV website has a list of sales tax exemptions.

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Step 4: Transfer the title and report the sale

It is recommended to transfer the ownership of vehicle titles at any of the nearly 200 deputy registrar offices throughout Minnesota.

If the vehicle’s title has been lost or stolen or badly damaged, you’ll need to fill out and submit an Application for Duplicate Title or Registration (PS2067A) and pay any related fees prior to selling the car. If the title was held by more than one owner, only one owner’s signature is required.

Minnesota private vehicle transactions must provide the following information:

  • All sellers listed on the title must print and sign
  • Sale price
  • Date of sale
  • Odometer disclosure (required for all vehicles less than 10 years old)
  • Damage disclosure (required for all vehicles less than six years old)
  • Buyer(s) provide printed legal name, date of birth and signature

It is important to prove to the buyer that the VIN (vehicle identification number) matches what is printed on the title. If the vehicle has been issued a title, the transfer must take place on the title. If the vehicle has never been titled, the Minnesota registration card can serve as proof of ownership. In the case of where one of the co-owners of the vehicle has passed away, a new title may be transferred to the surviving owner by completing a notarized Affidavit of Surviving Spouse (PS2071) and providing proof of death. If the vehicle is gifted, document a $0.00 sales price on the title.

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Step 5: Don’t remove the plates and report the sale

In Minnesota, when you sell a vehicle the license plate and registration taxes are transferred and assigned to the buyer. Unless your plates are specialized or personalized, do not remove your license plates. All private owner vehicle transactions in Minnesota, including gifted or donated vehicles, must report the sale of the vehicle within 10 days after the sale has occurred. If you don’t want to report the sale online, all Minnesota titles have a Record of Sale stub which can be completed and mailed to a Driver and Vehicle Services office. Buyers do not need to report the sale.

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For more information, visit the Minnesota Driver and Vehicle Services website.

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

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

No, do not remove the license plate unless they are specialized or personalized. The plate and the registration are transferred to the buyer.

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

No. Alternatively, buyers and sellers can complete and sign an Application to Title and Register a Motor Vehicle (PS2000) form in place of a Bill of Sale.

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

There are several documents which sellers of vehicles will need:

  1. A Bill of Sale or Application to Title and Register a Motor Vehicle filled out and signed by both parties.
  2. Current maintenance and vehicle records.
  3. The vehicle’s original or replacement certificate of title.
  4. Notarized lien release form, if applicable.
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