Sell My Car in North Carolina

Select a city in North Carolina below to sell your used car or truck.

How to Sell a Car in North Carolina


Whether you live in the Coastal Plain, Piedmont or Mountain region of North Carolina, if you are thinking about privately selling your used car or truck, you’ve come to the right place. With an estimated 8 million registered trucks and cars in the state of North Carolina, it is no wonder that thousands of private car owners from the Tar Heel state have used Autotrader to sell their car. Below, we’ve outlined the 6 steps required to sell a car in the state of North Carolina. 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: Odometer and Damage Disclosure
Step 5: Notarize and transfer the title
Step 6: Remove your license plates and cancel your 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, owner’s manual and other paperwork related to the vehicle. This needs to include a current and valid North Carolina Emissions and Safety Inspection Reports. All used vehicles purchased from a private sale in North Carolina must be inspected before it is registered unless the vehicle has received a passing inspection within the previous 12 months.

North Carolina law requires all private sellers of motor vehicles within 22 counties to pass an emissions inspection. Vehicles less than 3 years old or manufactured prior to 1995 or which are diesel-operated are exempt. Vehicles more than 35 years old are exempt from their annual safety inspection.

It is the responsibility of the seller to provide a lien release verification to the buyer. North Carolina provides form MVR-46D, Affidavit by North Carolina lienholder and form MVR-8, Application for Removal of Lien from the Certificate of Title. Other forms can be found here.

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Step 3: Bill of Sale

A Bill of Sale is not legally required for selling a vehicle in North Carolina, but it’s a good idea to create one for both you and the buyer. The Bill of Sale can be helpful if problems arise when the buyer goes to transfer the title or register the vehicle in their name. Many private owners notarize their Bill of Sale as a best practice. 

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Step 4: Odometer and Damage Disclosure

If the vehicle is less than 10 years old, the seller will need to complete Odometer Disclosure Statement form MVR-180. The seller will also need to fill out the Damage Disclosure Statement form MVR-181.

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Step 5: Notarize and transfer the title

If the original title is lost or stolen, the seller will need to complete and sign a lost or stolen title application and pay the associated fees prior to selling the car. If the vehicle is being transferred between family members, as in the case of an inherited or gifted vehicle, you’ll need to complete the Highway-Used Tax Exemption Certificate form MVR-613.

For a title transfer to occur, both the seller and buyer will need the following:

  • Buyer and recipient's name and address
  • Date of sale or date of delivery
  • Seller's signature and hand-printed name
  • Odometer reading (if required)
  • Damage disclosure statement

In North Carolina, vehicle titles must be notarized. Buyers will need to complete a Title Application form MVR-1. If there are co-owners to be recorded on a title, all signatures on required documents must be notarized and accompanied by a black and white copy of the alternate owner’s valid driver license/ID or a Power of Attorney’s signature.

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Step 6: Remove your license plates and cancel your insurance

North Carolina law requires the license plate to be removed and turned into the DMV, unless you are transferring the plate to another vehicle. If you are not transferring the plate, you must return the plate to a local DMV office or mailed to:

NCDMV Vehicle Registration Section
Renewal Title & Plate Unit
3148 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27697-3148

Because North Carolina law requires continuous liability insurance on all registered vehicles, a vehicle owner should cancel their insurance coverage only after they have turned in their North Carolina license plate to the North Carolina DMW. Canceling insurance before returning the license plate will result in a fine for failure to maintain continuous insurance coverage.

For any license plate issued or renewed after June 30, 2020, car and truck owners will need to turn in their North Carolina license plate in exchange for a new one every seven years.

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For more information, visit the North Carolina official DMV website.

Questions about selling your car in North Carolina? We have answers.

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

Yes. The license plate should be removed and transferred to your replacement vehicle or turned into the North Carolina DMV.

Is a Bill of Sale required for selling a car in North Carolina?

A Bill of Sale is not legally required for selling a vehicle in North Carolina, but it’s a good idea to create one for both you and the buyer. The Bill of Sale can be helpful if problems arise when the buyer goes to transfer the title or register the vehicle in their name. Many private owners notarize their Bill of Sale as a best practice.

What documents do I need to privately sell a car in North Carolina?

There are several forms and documents you’ll need:

  1. A valid and current proof of identification
  2. Current maintenance and vehicle records
  3. The vehicle’s original or replacement title
  4. Lien Release, if liens are shown on the vehicle title
  5. Odometer Disclosure Statement form MVR-180
  6. Notarized Title Application form MVR-1
  7. Damage Disclosure Statement form MVR-181
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