Selling a Car in Tennessee

If you’re looking to sell a car in Tennessee, you’ll need to complete the necessary paperwork and sign the title over to the new owner.
Written by Claire Beaney
Reviewed by Carrie Adkins
selling a car
, you’ll need to fill out the required paperwork, sign your title over to the buyer, and pay any applicable fees.

What you need to sell a car in Tennessee

If you’re looking to sell your car in Tennessee, make sure to check with your county office for the specific requirements in your area.
You’ll then have to organize and gather the necessary documentation, which includes:
  • Maintenance records or vehicle history report (if needed)
  • An odometer disclosure if the vehicle transfer is occurring between 1/1/2021 and 12/31/2030 and the car is newer than model year 2011
bill of sale
isn’t required but is always useful to have.
Once the transfer of title is complete, you’ll need to remove your plates and cancel your insurance policy (remember that
insurance follows the car, not the driver

Getting a pre-sale inspection

A smog certificate or emissions test is not required to sell a vehicle in Tennessee.
That said, you may want to consider getting a
safety inspection
done so that you and the buyer can have a transparent discussion about any mechanical issues with the car. 
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Documenting the sale

Selling a car in Tennessee is sometimes simpler than buying one. The seller has to fill out the back of the title with the necessary information and sign it.
The Tennessee Motor Vehicle Commission only regulates licensed, professional sellers in the state, so a bill of sale is not required—but it’s definitely in the seller’s best interest to get one!
If you’re a private seller, you can sell up to five vehicles a year titled in your name without needing a sales license.
The exception to this rule is if you are completing a tax-exempt DMV title transfer—for example, if the car is a gift or is being sold to a family member. In such a case, you’ll need to fill out a Non-Dealer Transfer Affidavit (form RV-F1301201).

Signing the title over

To sign the title to the new owner, ensure you have a properly assigned title and Odometer Disclosure Statement (if applicable).
The buyer must bring this documentation to the local county clerk’s office with the following information on the back of the title:
  • Legal name, address, and signature of the buyer and seller
  • Selling price
  • Date of sale
  • Odometer reading
  • Odometer Disclosure Statement, if applicable
the title has a lien on it
, the lienholder must give up their interest in the vehicle before it can be sold. Either the current owner can pay off the loan, or the lienholder can relinquish their claim to the car. 
You can receive a replacement or duplicate Tennessee title if yours is lost, stolen, or badly damaged by filling out form RV-F1315201 and paying $11 to the DMV.

Reporting the sale

Private and unlicensed sellers don’t have to report their sales to any clerk’s office or DMV as long as they sell no more than five vehicles in a year.

Finding affordable car insurance 

When you sell a car, you’ll need to redo your
car insurance
to find coverage for your new vehicle. With
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Resources such as
Kelley Blue Book
can help you figure out what your car is worth so you can determine a fair price based on its make, model, year, and condition.
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