How to Transfer a Car Title in Pennsylvania

I recently purchased a new car and needed to transfer the title from the previous owner.

For anyone else who hates digging through state and government websites or wasting time on the phone trying to determine the correct process, here is the cliff notes of how to transfer ownership of a car in Pennsylvania:

How it works:

  • You and the current owner of the car need to go to a tag/title notary service.
  • Interestingly enough, you can transfer title without getting new license plates if the transfer is mother/son or father/son, but not between siblings.
  • You must pay state & local sales tax based on the recorded sale price for the vehicle
  • They will take the current title, give you a temporary title, and mail you a new title for the vehicle
  • Most notary services are old-school. They accept check and cash, but not debit or credit cards.

Information you’ll need:

  • Current title
  • Proof of insurance
  • Odometer reading
  • License

Cost:

  • $50 title transfer fee
  • $36 yearly registration fee
  • 6% of recorded sale price
  • ~$40 service fee to the notary
  • Colin

    Hey Mike, nice to see this all in one place. Do you know how the recorded sale price between private parties is verified? What’s to stop people from recording a lower price to pay less tax?

  • StudsMommy

    Hi, what if the car is not paid off and I want to put it in someone else’s name? In PA.

  • Roger Adams

    Thanks for the info; was worried when I left the mom pop car dealership/notary without the title; reading here it is mailed to me is a relief.

  • William Burger

    Hey Michael, I was just wondering where you went to transfer the title and register the car? Curious because the fees you listed are MUCH cheaper than the ones I always get stuck paying at the place I go. Thanks in advance man.

  • Dominique Locy

    Can I get a car transferred into my name in Pennsylvania without having car insurance?