Transfer ownership when buying from a dealer
Starting January 1, 2023, vehicle registrations allow the removal of your address. New registrations have your address located on the bottom. There's a dotted line showing where to cut it. This is optional and intended to provide address privacy in case of theft.
How to transfer ownership
If you buy a vehicle from a dealership, they'll transfer ownership into your name for you.
You'll need to show your unexpired WA driver license so they can register the vehicle in your name, unless you're exempt from getting a driver license under.
How long does a dealer have to transfer title?
A dealer should transfer a vehicle's title within 45 days of the date of delivery. For more information please refer to the Buying a Vehicle guide.
What to do if a WA state car dealer goes out of business
We can't provide legal advice, but the following may help you resolve matters on transferring title and registration.
File a complaint
You may file against a dealer if you:
- Paid for a vehicle (without financing) and the dealer didn't give you the title within 45 days of the date of delivery.
- Finished making payments on a vehicle but the dealer didn't release the title to you.
- Are in the process of making payments to the dealer for a vehicle but you can't locate the dealer.
How to file a complaint
Here are your options:
- Call us: 360.664.6475.
- Submit a Complaint against Business or Individual online and upload available supporting documents.
- Send a Dealer, Manufacturer Services and For Hire Complaint form and include copies of available supporting documents.
Complaint supporting documents
Provide as many of the supporting documents as possible to help us resolve your complaint:
- Copy of purchase agreement.
- Proof of payments – If paid by:
- Check – copy front and back of the canceled check.
- Cash – a receipt from the dealer showing that the vehicle has been paid in full.
- Your copy of the title application. (It must show the legal owner of record if you financed it.)
- Any documentation of your attempts to obtain the vehicle title or release of interest.
After we receive your complaint
We'll review it to see if there's enough information to transfer ownership to you. We may ask you for additional documentation, and we'll discuss all possible titling options at that time. Completing a complaint form doesn't guarantee you'll be issued a title.