How to Transfer a Car Title in Michigan: Step-by-Step

A Michigan title transfer process is easier than you may think. When you buy or sell a car, you must transfer the title into the buyer’s name. The process will vary if you are buying or selling the car. For buyers, the process will also differ if the purchase is from a dealership or a private seller. Regardless, the title transfer is necessary.

Purchase from a Private Seller

When you purchase a car from a private seller, you are responsible for the car registration and title transfer. Before you submit any documents to the Michigan SOS, you must make sure the seller completes the title certificate. He or she must sign it as well and include the odometer discloser. Once this is done, you can visit the nearest SOS office to start the title transfer.

When you visit the SOS office, provide:

  • The completed title certificate
  • Proof of insurance
  • A completed Appointment of Agent form (Form TR-128)
  • Proof of lien satisfaction if applicable
  • Payment

The title transfer must be completed within15 days of purchase.

Purchase from a Dealership

If you purchase your vehicle from a dealership, the dealer will submit the documents to the SOS office. You will be given copies of the documents submitted. You can use the documents as proof of purchase until the title is sent to you in the mail.

Selling Your Vehicle

As a seller, you must complete the title assignment on the current title certificate. So, you must enter:

  • The mileage
  • Sale date
  • Selling price
  • Sign the title

If possible, you should accompany the new owner to the SOS office to complete the title transfer. If you are unable, keep copies of the vehicle until the change is completed.

Michigan Title Transfers for Gifted and Inherited Cars

Gifted Cars

If you received your car as a gift from a family member, you must register it like purchasing. The only thing about a gifted car is you do not pay a sales use tax. A family member includes:

  • Spouse
  • Parents (stepparents and in-laws)
  • Siblings (stepsiblings)
  • Children (stepchildren)
  • Grandparents
  • Grandchildren

At the time of registration, it is not required to provide proof of relationship. However, if proof is required, you must provide it or face serious consequences.

Inherited Cars

Inheriting a car does not exempt it from registration. The new owner must register it as soon as possible. If the car is subject to probate, the executor or administrator of the estate will be responsible for assigning the title to a new owner.

Michigan Title Transfer Fees

The fees related to a title transfer will vary. Here is a list of the fees:

  • Title: $15
  • Late fee: $15
  • Instant title: $5 additional
  • Title replacement: $15
  • Use tax: 6% of the purchase price when applicable

Michigan Duplicate Title Request

To replace a lost title, you must contact the SOS office and request a copy. You can apply online or in person.


You must provide:

  • The last four digits of your Social Security number
  • Driver’s license number
  • Eye color
  • The name of the business on file at the SOS (if applicable)
  • The zip code of the business (if applicable)
  • Title number
  • Pay fee

In Person

Visit the nearest SOS office and provide your driver’s license or State ID. Pay the fee and wait for the title.