Available Makes

How To Transfer A Car Title in Ohio

in Car Buying Tips

Image by Jay Lamping from Pixabay 

Are you trying to figure out how to transfer a car title in Ohio? Fret not for this article will walk you through the process step by step for each car-selling situation. We will cover what needs to happen to transfer a title when selling, buying, donating, or gifting a vehicle.

If you are purchasing a car at a dealership, they will handle the title process for you. In any other situation, you are responsible. As we guide you through the steps for each case, we’ll let you know what forms need filling out and filing, where you need to go, and what you need to bring. Buying, selling, donating, or gifting a car involves enough research as it is before you reach the title transfer phase. You’ve gotten this far; let’s work together from here.

Transferring a Paper Title When Selling Privately in Ohio

If you’re a seller and need to transfer your title to your buyer, make sure not to complete the ownership assignment portion on the title’s back until the sale is complete. Remember to have both parties complete and sign this section in front of a notary or deputy clerk. Do not sign the title until the buyer fills in their full legal name and current address.

The signature must be complete, as the state will reject initials. As the seller, you need to complete the mileage section by providing the odometer reading. Your buyer must sign this too. Make sure to remove your plates from the vehicle and give a lien release to your buyer.

Once all of this takes place, give the title to the buyer to complete the steps required to finalize the transfer (more on this later). If you’ve lost your current title, you must apply to secure a duplicate title before a transfer can occur before the sale can occur, followed by a transfer of the title.


The CoPilot car shopping app is the smartest way to buy a car. Get a curated list of the best cars for sale in your area, as well as notifications if a similar vehicle is listed nearby at a lower price. CoPilot is the smartest way to shop for used cars. 

Transferring a Paper Title When Buying Privately in Ohio

First, once the title is in your hands, make sure not to alter it in any way. Once this transpires, the title is null and void, and a replacement title is needed. Before the title is in your hands, as previously stated, make sure a notary or deputy clerk is present when you fill in any information or sign the document. If the title has two names, the State of Ohio required both signatures to complete the transfer. You must present a state ID card or Ohio driver’s license to the title bureau at the time of transfer. This is an essential step when determining how to transfer a car title in Ohio. 

Transferring a Title for Vehicles Registered Out of State

After purchasing a vehicle registered out of state from a private party, the seller must sign the title over to you and have it notarized after the sale. All out-of-state vehicles transferred to an Ohio title must pass an inspection by a new car dealer in Ohio authorized to do so. You must also have the VIN verified. You can complete the VIN inspection by taking the vehicle to any Ohio deputy registrar license agency.

You have 30 days until the inspection form expires. You must bring this form and the out-of-state title to the title bureau as soon as possible to beat the expiration date.


If you’re a savvy car shopper, you know that buying a ‘nearly new’ car is the best value for your money. CoPilot Compare is the search engine for nearly-new cars.

Transferring a Title When Donating a Car in Ohio

When donating a vehicle in Ohio, the first thing you need to do to transfer the title is discharge your ownership of the car by signing line 1 of section 3 on the back of the title. If there is (or was) a lien on the vehicle, the lienholder must sign under the lien discharge section on the title’s front.

 Next, you want to make sure to release yourself from any future liability with the vehicle. This happens by completing the Customer Request to Cancel Vehicle Registration form. Take this form along with your plates and the bill of sale to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles office. You can also mail these.

Transferring a Title When Inheriting or Gifting a Car

Continuing down our checklist of how to transfer a car title in Ohio is gifting or inheriting a car. When transferring a title after gifting a vehicle, follow the same steps as a seller. If you are inheriting, the process is different. In all cases of car inheritance, you must present a death certificate. There is a limit of two cars that a spouse can inherit from the deceased. In the case of a probated will, the court becomes involved in deciding who owns the vehicle(s).

 The spouse of the deceased must complete and turn in a surviving spouse affidavit from the title office. If the vehicle was jointly owned and the surviving spouse is on the title, they can complete the transfer themselves though they are still required to deliver a death certificate to the title office.


In the market for a used car? Find the best used Hyundai Sonatas in Cleveland, Ohio. Built using the same technology that dealerships use, CoPilot searches the inventories of every dealership in your area to intelligently find the best deals. 


  • $5 late fee if the buyer does not submit the title within 30 days of notarization
  • $4.50 total for the out-of-state vehicle inspection (pay this to the title bureau)
  • $15 for title certificate
  • $15 for duplicate title

$15 for lien notation


The process of transferring a title in Ohio is one of the easiest in the country, but that doesn’t mean you can take any of the steps involved for granted. Each must happen as outlined by the state. The best practice is to always call ahead or visit the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles website to see if any of the steps in transferring a car title in Ohio have changed.

Note: During the COVID-19 pandemic, for the most up-to-date information, please call or visit the websites of any physical location you plan to visit while completing any of the steps required to transfer a vehicle title.

Get a curated list of the best used cars near you

The CoPilot car shopping app is the easiest way to buy a car. Tell us what you’re looking for and we’ll search the inventories of every dealership in your area to make you a personalized list of the best car listings in your area.

Only looking for newer models? CoPilot Compare is the search engine for nearly-new cars. Only see cars five years or newer with low mileage — CoPilot Compare is the best way to find off-lease, early trade-in, and CPO cars.

The best part? CoPilot is built using the same technology that dealerships use to buy and sell their inventories, so we have more info on each vehicle than competitors. CoPilot doesn’t work with dealerships, so there are no sponsored posts or other shady practices — just the most info on the best cars. Check out our About Us page to see how CoPilot works.