What Do I Need for a Colorado Title Transfer?

To do a vehicle title transfer in Colorado, there are a few steps you need to follow, such as:

  • Obtain the vehicle’s title and other documents from the vehicle’s seller
  • Take the vehicle documents and other required forms, including the title application, to your local county title office
  • Pay the necessary fees, such as the title and registration fees, and taxes

Smog Certification/Vehicle Inspection

Vehicle owners who reside in Colorado are required to take their car for regular vehicle inspections, which can be completed at the CO DMV. Emissions tests are part of the vehicle inspections in California to ensure the vehicles on the road are not emitting high levels of smog. Your vehicle is required to pass a smog check before your vehicle registration can be renewed.

The requirements your vehicle is expected to meet for a smog inspection depend on the vehicle’s fuel type, model, and year.

Colorado Emissions and Smog Check Requirements in Colorado

The CA emission test requirements vary depending on your vehicle’s model year and fuel type. The type of inspection that’s performed will be based on the vehicle’s factors. There are five standard types of smog checks that are performed in Colorado, such as:

  • Two-speed idle test
  • Onboard diagnostics (OBD)
  • Diesel emissions test
  • I/M 240 dynamometer (treadmill) test
  • Rapid Screen roadside test

The onboard diagnostics emission test is performed on gasoline-fueled or hybrid vehicles that are between 8 and 11 years old. This type of emission test is the same for gasoline-fueled and hybrid vehicles, and with this inspection, vehicles that display a “check engine” light or notification will automatically fail the inspection.

Vehicle inspections that are at least 12 years old but have a model year no earlier than 1982 will have an I/M 240 dynamometer test performed. Vehicles can pass this test if the “check engine” light is on. Vehicles that were manufactured before 1982 and gasoline-fueled will have a two-speed idle test performed.

The Rapid Screen Roadside test is for low-emissions vehicles. This type of vehicle inspection does not require you to take your car for a physical inspection. Since the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment doesn’t perform vehicle/smog inspections for diesel-powered vehicles, independent smog certification providers are required to perform such inspections. 

Smog Check Exemptions in Colorado

The state of Colorado does not require all vehicles to have emissions testing. Emissions/vehicle testing is only mandatory in Colorado cities that have high smog levels.

Colorado residents who live outside counties who require vehicle inspections are also subject to emissions testing, with special cases being the only exemption. If you live in one of the following Colorado counties, you are required to have a smog inspection performed on your vehicle:

  • Boulder County
  • Broomfield County
  • Denver County
  • Douglas County
  • Jefferson County
  • Some parts of Adams, Arapahoe, Larimer, and Weld County

The state of Colorado does not require emissions testing for vehicles if the vehicle is:

  • 7 model years old or less
  • A motorcycle, farm vehicle, horseless carriage, or moped
  • A collector’s vehicle with the model year of 1975 or older
  • Completely run by electric power

Make sure you review these counties carefully to ensure you remain compliant with Colorado’s emissions testing regulations.

How to Transfer Your Vehicle Title in Colorado?

Once you move to Colorado, you have 90 days to register and title your vehicle with the CO Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). You will need to apply for an out-of-state vehicle title. To  do so, you’ll need:

  • An Application for Title and/or Registration (Form DR 2395). You are required to complete the page titled “Joint Tenancy with Rights of Survivorship Acknowledgement of Intent” IF there are multiple vehicle owners.
  • Proof of a valid Colorado auto insurance policy
  • Verifiable identification
  • Secure and verifiable identification
  • Documentation that verifies the weight of your vehicle, such as:
    • The vehicle’s title
    • A valid registration certificate
    • A certified weight slip
  • A Verification of Vehicle Identification Number (Form DR 2698). This form must be completed by a licensed Colorado professional, such as a law enforcement office, vehicle dealer, or emissions inspection station. (There is an exception in this situation. If you purchased a brand new vehicle, and you have documentation that states the vehicle was a new purchase, you are exempt from this step).
  • Payment for the DMV title transfer taxes and fees. Keep in mind, the title and registration fee differ according to the vehicle and county. Allow 6 weeks for your vehicle title to arrive in the mail. If there is a lien on your vehicle, the lien holder will receive the vehicle title. 

Title Transfer Requirements When Selling a Car

When you purchase a vehicle from a dealership, the dealership usually processes the DMV title transfer and registration paperwork on your behalf.

When you purchase or sell a vehicle in a private sale in Colorado, you are responsible for completing the auto title transfer process through the Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles.

Selling a Vehicle

When you sell your vehicle or other types of motor vehicles, you are required to provide the buyer with:

  • The Colorado vehicle title, including:
    • All vehicle owner’s signatures
    • The date of the sale
    • The price of the vehicle
    • The odometer reading
    • The name and address of the buyer
  • An emissions inspection certificate if applicable in the buyer’s county
  • A bill of sale if:
    • The buyer of the vehicle has to drive the car before it can be registered because the sale has occurred after normal business hours.
    • There is no space for the odometer reading on the vehicle title, and/or you and/or the buyer want proof that the vehicle was purchased.

Make sure you keep your license plates. You may be able to transfer your current license plates to your new vehicle. The buyer is responsible for completing the vehicle title transfer with the Colorado DMV AND paying the vehicle title transfer fee.

How to Transfer a Car Title When the Owner is Deceased?

Transferring a vehicle title when the owner is deceased is necessary for beneficiaries who want to keep the vehicle, gift the vehicle to a family member, or sell the vehicle to someone else.

Who is Responsible for Transferring a Car Title of a Deceased Person?

Joint-owners, a surviving spouse, or a beneficiary has the legal authority to transfer the title of the vehicle to another person after the owner passes away.

Is the Vehicle Part of a Probated Estate?

Once a vehicle’s owner passes away, the process for transferring the car title varies depending on whether the vehicle title was in the individual’s name as a descendant or whether the vehicle title was in joint ownership. If the vehicle title was solely in the decedent’s name, you need to determine if the estate is being probated.

Probate is the legal process of administering the estate of an individual who has passed away. This process occurs if there is no beneficiary or living spouse listed on the will. The probate is proof that the last will and testament are legitimate. The Probate Court will determine how you need to proceed with the deceased person’s belongings. During the probate process, the deceased individual’s property will be distributed based on their will.

If the vehicle is part of a probated estate, you need to follow these steps to transfer the car title of a deceased person:

Contact Probate Court and Attorney

A vehicle’s title can’t be transferred until the probate is completed. The administrator or the executor of the deceased individual needs to contact Probate Court or an attorney in a timely manner to receive further instructions. Once the probate is complete, the heir receives the vehicle, or the executor can decide to sell the vehicle if he/she was given the vehicle.

Gather the Required Documents to Transfer the Car Title of a Deceased Person

In Colorado, you are required to have the following documents in order to transfer a vehicle’s title:

  • Order from Probate Court to transfer the vehicle’s title
  • Certificate of the title
  • Odometer disclosure statement
  • Death certificate
  • Transfer fee

Visit the Title Office

Beneficiaries or administrators of the deceased individual’s estate can visit their local CO title office with the above-stated documents to begin the vehicle title transfer.

How to Transfer a Car Title Without Probate

In Colorado, the deceased individual’s property must not exceed a specific amount and a certain amount of time needs to pass since the individual passed away before the vehicle title transfer can be initiated. Beneficiaries, spouses, and joint-owners only need to submit a death certificate and the vehicle’s title at their local title office to retitle the vehicle’s title. A court order or attorney is not required in this situation.

Transferring a Title After a Lease Buyout

You can transfer a title after a lease buyout.

Paying Off a Loan (Removing a Lien)

Once you pay off your car loan, the lien holder will release the lien on the front of the title then mail it to you. You can remove the lien holder’s name from the title by providing the following items to a local Denver, Colorado DMV branch offices:

  • Vehicle title
  • Payment of $7.20

How to Properly Endorse a Colorado Vehicle Title

Make sure you properly endorse the vehicle’s title if you plan on transferring it to a buyer, family member, or other parties as a gift or sale. Keep these factors in mind when you are endorsing a Colorado vehicle title:

  • If the vehicle is less than 10 years old, an odometer reading (without decimals) is required to be provided in the “odometer reading” section of the title. The odometer indicator checkbox must be checked. If the vehicle exceeds 10 years old, an odometer reading and buyer signature is not required.
  • The seller of the vehicle must legibly, hand print the names of all vehicle owners that are listed on the front of the title in the “seller’s” area.
  • All vehicle owners on the title are required to sign their name in the designated “sellers signature” area.
  • All vehicle owners must print their name in the “buyer’s hand printed name” section of the title.
  • Only one vehicle buyer needs to provide their signature in the designated “seller’s signature” section of the title.
  • Only one vehicle buyer is required to provide their signature in the “buyer’s signature” area of the title to acknowledge the odometer reading.
  • The price and purchase date of the vehicle is required to be entered in the appropriate section of the vehicle title. If the vehicle is being gifted to a family member for free or is a gift, write “gift” in this section.

Title reassignments are prohibited for private party purchases. A title reassignment can only be initiated by dealers.

How to Transfer Ownership of a Vehicle Without a Title in Colorado?

If you plan on registering or selling your vehicle in Colorado, a certificate of title is required. If you’ve lost or damaged the vehicle’s title, you will need a replacement title, which can be obtained at a CO DMV. You can also visit the Colorado Department of Revenue if your vehicle’s title is lost, illegible, stolen, altered, or mutilated.

Can I Gift a Car to a Family Member?

If you plan on donating a vehicle as a gift, you will follow the same process as transferring a vehicle title to a family member. The new owner of the vehicle has 60 days to either register the vehicle or present the certificate of title with an application for a title to the Denver County DMV. This step is required for Denver County motorists only. If you are not a resident of Denver County, you can visit your local Colorado DMV office for further instructions.

How to Proceed with Title Assignment

There are specific steps you are required to take to proceed with a Colorado title assignment.

Endorse the Title

The title has to be endorsed properly by the vehicle owner(s) that are listed on the title.

New Owner Identification

Make sure you bring a document that proves owner identification or designated power of attorney. Any document you use to prove owner identification must be completed and notarized. This applies to Denver, Colorado residents only.

Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) Verification

If you have an out-of-state vehicle, a VIN verification is required. A qualified VIN inspector is required to complete a VIN verification form (Form DR2698). The fee for this VIN inspection is $20 per vehicle.

If you’re registering a vehicle as a gift, you are required to provide additional information, such as valid proof of auto insurance, standard emissions test, and other essential documents.

Transferring a Vehicle Title When You Have an Out-of-State Title

When you change residents from one state to another, you are required to transfer your vehicle title. In Colorado, you may be required to complete a vehicle identification number (VIN) verification and purchase a Colorado liability auto insurance policy.

To successfully complete a vehicle transfer of certificate of title when moving to Colorado, you need to follow these steps:

  • Test your vehicle for emissions (if applicable)
  • Visit your local CO DMV location
  • Complete the corresponding application forms
  • Submit your out-of-state documents, which can include the vehicle’s title and registration
  • Provide proof of a valid CO auto insurance policy, VIN verification, and odometer reading
  • Pay all applicable vehicle title transfer fees and related costs

Transferring Out-of-State Car Titles With Liens or Lease Agreements

If you are changing car titles with a lien holder, you can complete this process by filling out and mailing a title release form from the lien holder. Once the title release form is complete, the lien holder will send the title to the DMV in your new state of residence.

Once the DMV in your new state of residence receives the title release form, you will be notified to visit your local CO DMV to complete the remaining steps in this process. If you pay off the vehicle loan before you initiate the vehicle title transfer, you will avoid transferring your lien holder on the new vehicle title.

If you need to complete the vehicle title transfer of a leased vehicle, you are required to obtain power of attorney from your leasing agency before you can complete the remaining steps in this process.

Transferring a Vehicle From a State That Does Not Issue Vehicle Titles

You will not be able to complete the vehicle certificate of title transfer process when you move to another state if your former state does not issue titles for your type of vehicle. As a driver with a non-titled vehicle, you are required to apply for a new car title with the CO DMV.

In these circumstances, the pink slip procedure does not apply. In this case, you are required to submit valid documents that prove the transfer of ownership, such as the registration card of the previous owner, as well as the bill of sale. The bill of sale must be notarized and contain specific information, such as contact information and signatures of both the seller and the buyer. You also need to provide information about the vehicle, such as the vehicle’s make, year, price, date of sale, and VIN number.

Requesting a Duplicate Vehicle Title in Colorado

If you have lost your title or it has been stolen or damaged, you need to apply for a replacement vehicle title in person at your local county office in Colorado.

When requesting a duplicate vehicle title in Colorado, you need to make sure you have the following materials:

  • Valid identification if you purchased your vehicle on or after 7/1/2006.
  • The VIN number and title number of your vehicle
  • Payment for the duplicate title fee of $8.20 (If you are mailing a check or money order, make sure it is made payable to “Colorado Department of Revenue”. Also, if you choose to mail your payment, make sure you include a self-addressed stamped envelope for the CO DMV to send the duplicate vehicle title.

If you live outside of Colorado, you can download the Duplicate Title Request and Receipt (Form DR 2539A) and mail it to:

Colorado Department of Revenue
DMV – Titles Section
Denver, CO 80217

The CO DMV requires you to provide a valid photocopy of acceptable documents. Acceptable documents can include:

  • Valid driver’s license
  • Photo identification card
  • U.S. passport or passport card
  • Valid U.S. military ID

Click here to learn more about the acceptable documents you can submit to the CO DMV. Walk-in requests can be processed at this address:

Colorado Department of Revenue
DMV – Titles Section
1881 Pierce Street
Lakewood, CO 80214

How Much Does a Title Transfer Cost in Colorado?

The state of Colorado charges a title fee of $7.20. There is a fee of $45 for passenger vehicles and $90 for light truck vehicles and an additional fee of $50 for specialty fees.

Where Can I Go to Transfer a Vehicle Title in Colorado?

Denver Motor Vehicle Department – Northwest Branch
3698 W 44th Ave
Denver, CO 80211
(720) 865-4600

Monday-Friday (8:30 AM – 4:30 PM)
Saturday and Sunday (Closed)

Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles – Colorado Springs
2447 N Union Blvd
Colorado Springs, CO 80909
(303) 205-5694

Monday-Friday (7 AM – 5 PM)
Saturday and Sunday (Closed)

Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles – Centennial
6954 S Lima St.
Centennial CO 80112
(303) 205-5600

Monday-Friday (7 AM – 4 PM)
Saturday and Sunday (Closed)

How to Fill Out the Colorado Title and Title Transfer Forms

First, you need to fill out the standard information regarding the sale of the vehicle. In Colorado, you may need to provide information on the front and back of the vehicle title. Once you fill out the form, provide the buyer of the vehicle with the form. You are required to provide the following information on a vehicle title:

  • Names of both the buyer and seller
  • Signatures of the buyer and seller
  • Notary’s signature (if applicable)
  • Date of the sale
  • Price of the vehicle
  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
  • Odometer reading (you may be required to use a separate form to provide this information)

Make sure you have provided all the above-stated information before heading to your local DMV.

My Car Title Was Signed But Never Transferred. What Do I Do?

If your vehicle’s title was signed but never transferred, this means the seller didn’t transfer ownership or register the vehicle in their name. Vehicles that have a title that is not transferred are considered open titles. A vehicle with an open title means the seller is not legally responsible for the vehicle, such as paying the vehicle taxes and other fees.

If you lose the vehicle title, the title is temporarily open. You can fix this problem by requesting a duplicate vehicle title. The person whose name is listed on the title is responsible for requesting a duplicate vehicle title and signing it over to the buyer to put in their name.

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