Colorado Title Transfer: A Step-by-Step Guide

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Want to sell a vehicle? Buying one? Or, perhaps you’re gifting or inheriting it? You’ll need to complete a title transfer to pass ownership if the vehicle.

The two parties exchange the title, file the appropriate paperwork, and pay any necessary fees. This process doesn’t take long given you’re prepared. Or, if both parties go to the DMV (recommended).

Below, you’ll learn how the Colorado title transfer process works for private transactions. Plus, learn the alternative title transfers and how you’ll bring a vehicle from out of the state, too.

Transferring Your Title in Colorado: How It’s Done

It’s recommended that both parties go to the DMV, as this clears any confusion and potential issues when passing ownership of the vehicle. However, you’re more than welcome to exchange the title on your own time and later visit the DMV to complete the process.

You will visit a Colorado Division of Motor Vehicle office (see our directory).

Here is what you’ll do to complete a title transfer in Colorado (including the seller and buyer):

  1. Retrieve the vehicle’s title or request a duplicate title
    1. Buyers: You may need a lien release from the current owner
    2. Sellers: Provide a lien release to the buyer if needed
  2. Fill in the Colorado certificate of title – including:
    1. Full legal name and address of the buyer and current owner
    2. Date of sale (month, day, and year)
    3. Vehicle price the buyer paid
    4. An odometer recording
    5. Signatures from both parties
  3. Complete an emissions inspection if required
  4. Get a Bill of Sale if there isn’t an odometer reading on the title, and if you need a receipt
  5. Submit the Application for Title and/or Registration (DR 2395)
  6. Bring any necessary documents:
    1. Proof of identification
    2. Proof of CO residency
    3. Proof of CO auto insurance
  7. Pay the variable taxes and fees
    1. Suggestion: Contact your local DMV for a full breakdown of your fees

You should register your vehicle after titling it to avoid any complications. See our Colorado vehicle registration guide to learn how the process is done. If you haven’t got it yet, do consider adding or dropping auto insurance. Or, shopping around for a new policy as you may find new discounts.

Alternative Title Transfers in Colorado

Colorado wants to know when titles are transferred outside of private sales whether buying from a car lot or passing the vehicle & title around family and friends. See each section below for the alternative title transfer process you require.

Buying from Dealerships

Dealerships will process your title & registration, sending documents to their appropriate locations. If they don’t, request the forms and deliver them to a CO DMV. The DMV will process your information, and you’ll be soon on your way.

If your dealer doesn’t provide this service:

Retrieve the Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin. Then, file a Bill of Sale and get the necessary proofs (like inspection, emissions, etc.). Turn in the documents along with the application, then pay your fees.

Moving to Colorado (Out-of-State Vehicle)

Bringing your vehicle from another state because you’re moving to Colorado? You’ll want to get it registered within 90 days. The process is simple.

You will:

  • File the title application
  • Show proofs: ID, residency, insurance
  • Show the weight of the vehicle
  • Submit the VIN as verified by a professional (use form DR 2688)
  • Pay your transfer and fees

Inheriting a Vehicle

Inheriting a vehicle typically involves the following:

  • Getting the current title and death certificate of the deceased
  • Filing and signing the vehicle’s title

Check with your local DMV as this process varies depending on how it’s inherited.

Gifted/Donated Vehicles

Gifting the vehicle includes doing the following:

  1. Signing the title
    1. Include: The odometer reading
    2. Writing “Gift” in the purchase price
  2. As the new owner – show proofs:
    1. ID
    2. Residency
    3. Insurance
    4. Odometer
  3. Pay your fees and taxes

The process is largely the same as transferring ownership through a private transaction. Check with your local DMV for the complete process if you have questions.


Transferring or inheriting a vehicle involves many steps and fees. Be sure to check with your local DMV for the exact process that applies in your state. Fees can vary depending on the type of transfer as well as the taxes applicable to your area. It is important to research all paperwork and fees required before making a transfer, so you can understand what it will cost. You should also have the vehicle’s odometer reading recorded at the time of transfer, to indicate the current mileage and avoid any potential legal consequences. Lastly, it’s important to remember that you are responsible for any fees or taxes due when transferring or inheriting a vehicle.