Sell My Car in South Carolina

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

How to Sell a Car in South Carolina


Whether you live in the Low Country by the coast, Greenville-Spartanburg, the Blue Ridge mountains or near Clemson University, you’ve come to the right place. With an estimated 1.75 million registered trucks and cars in the state of South Carolina, it is no wonder that thousands of private car owners from the Palmetto State have used Autotrader to sell their car. Below, we’ve outlined the 5 steps required to sell a car in the state of South 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: Transfer the title
Step 5: Remove your 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.

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 release ownership either by signing off on the front of the title or with a letter on company letterhead. When a lien on a digital title has been paid in full, the lienholder sends an electronic message to the South Carolina DMV and the title is mailed to the owner.

If the person who purchased the vehicle from the seller is making payments on it, the seller must complete Section F of the Title Application (SCDMV Form 400) along with the buyer. The seller will then be the lienholder for the vehicle and the title will be mailed to the seller. Only after the buyer pays off the car in full, the seller will sign off on the lien and the buyer will have a clean title.

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Step 3: Bill of Sale

South Carolina law requires a Bill of Sale only when the sales price and odometer reading cannot be included on the back of the vehicle title. If this is the case, then 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 on the date of sale
  • Printed legal name and address of the seller and buyer
  • Signature of the seller and buyer

If the vehicle is being gifted, the seller should include a purchase price of “GIFT / $0” on the Bill of Sale stating the vehicle is a gift.

If you are a surviving owner of a vehicle and your name and the decedent’s name is separated by “or” on the title, you can sign as the sole owner for an auto title transfer. If the names on the vehicle title were separated by “and” or if sole owner on the title has died, distribution of the vehicle will be assigned by a probate court.

Starting in 2017, private party vehicle transactions in South Carolina are subject to an Infrastructure Maintenance Fee (IMF) instead of a sales tax. The IMF is in addition to applicable title and registration fees. The IMF is 5% of the sales price up to a maximum of $500. South Carolina provides exemptions to the IMF on Title Application (SCDMV Form 400) if the vehicle was

  • sold between family members such as parents, spouse, children, siblings, grandparents or grandchildren
  • inherited by or transferred to a beneficiary
  • a gift
  • purchased by an active duty armed forces personnel

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Step 4: Transfer the title

If the vehicle’s title has been lost, stolen or badly damaged, you’ll need to file for a replacement title and pay any related fees prior to selling the car. This can be done either online, by mail or by visiting a SCDMV office branch.

If you have a clear title in hand, the seller must sign the title over to the buyer and include the following on the back of the title:

  • Odometer reading on the date of sale
  • Purchase date
  • Sale price

If these fields are not on the back of the title, see the Bill of Sale section above. If there is more than one seller named on the title and their names are separated by “or” then only one of the sellers needs to sign vehicle title in order to transfer it to the buyer. If there is more than one seller named on the title and their names are separated by “and” then both sellers need to sign the title before it is transferred to the buyer. The same applies to multiple buyers. If the vehicle is gifted to the buyer, place a $0.00 sales price on the title.

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Step 5: Remove your plates and report the sale

South Carolina law states that the seller must remove their license plates before the vehicle sale is completed. The plates should never remain on the vehicle and be given to the buyer. If are returning you license plate because you sold the vehicle and it is not being transferred to another vehicle, then you must do all the following:

SCDMV
Plate Turn-In
PO Box 1498
Blythewood, SC 29016-0024

Important: Completing the Notice of Vehicle Sold form does not show a legal transfer of ownership. It is intended to protect the seller until the actual transfer of ownership is completed by the buyer. This explains why you should always remove your license plate from the sold vehicle, so you won’t be held liable for any vehicle infractions caused by the buyer. Buyers can apply for a 30-day temporary license plate using SCDMV Form 433. After the sale is completed, cancel your insurance.

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

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

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

Yes. South Carolina law states that the seller must remove their license plates before the vehicle sale is completed.

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

South Carolina law requires a Bill of Sale only when the sales price and odometer reading cannot be included on the back of the vehicle title.

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

There are several documents which sellers of vehicles will need:

  1. A Bill of Sale, applicable only when the sales price and odometer reading cannot be included on the back of the vehicle title
  2. Current maintenance and vehicle records
  3. The vehicle’s original or replacement certificate of title
  4. A Notice of Sale Form 416
  5. A License Plate Turn-In Form 452, if applicable
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