How to Sell a Car in Los Angeles: Laws, Paperwork, and Methods to Consider

January 27, 2012

If you want to sell your car in Los Angeles, you need to consider all your options so that you make a profitable sale. The easiest way to sell your vehicle is to contact dealers in your area and find out what they’re willing to offer you. Although this is the quickest way, you may strike a better deal by selling your vehicle privately. To sell the vehicle quickly and make a good sum of money, you need to follow the guidelines listed below.


  • To start off, you need to find out the value of your used vehicle. This will allow you to determine a reasonable selling price. You could refer to the Kelley Blue Book and get your vehicle inspected by a mechanic to find out if it needs any repairs. If it does, you will have to adjust your sales price accordingly.
  • If you choose not to directly sell your vehicle to a dealer, you could still take advantage of dealer services to sell the vehicle to other buyers. Most dealers will charge you a fee or a small percentage of the sales price to display your vehicle for sale on the dealer’s lot. This attracts a lot of customers and you’re likely to get a good deal.
  • Alternatively, you could choose to sell the vehicle on your own, by advertising it for sale on the Internet, in newspapers and local bulletins. Make sure you take good pictures of your vehicle so you attract potential buyers.
  • One important thing you need to do is maintain all relevant documents. Since most buyers are interested in finding out the vehicle history report, consider obtaining the car’s history report to show it to potential buyers when they come to inspect the vehicle. Also keep vehicle service and maintenance records ready. If you have purchased an extended warranty that’s transferable to the new buyer, keep a copy of the warranty contract with you, to show to interested buyers.
  • The vehicle you’re selling shouldn’t have any title issues. According to the law in Los Angeles, you need to give the new buyer certain documents so the title can be legally transferred.
  • To transfer the title, get a hold of your California Certificate of Title and write down your odometer mileage reading. This document has to be signed and dated by both you and the new owner. If your vehicle isn’t a hybrid or electric car, you will also have to give the new buyer a smog certificate.
  • Although you don’t necessarily have to provide a Bill of Sale to a buyer, the buyer may request you to do so.
  • If your car has a lien, you will have to pay off the loan and get a lien release document before selling the vehicle. If not, you will have to follow the legal procedure to sell your car that has a lien.

To sell your vehicle quickly, consider posting an ad on various automotive websites for a small fee. Irrespective of whether you want to sell your car in Orange County or Torrance, you need to keep these guidelines in mind to ensure a smooth transaction.