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What Does a Car Title Look Like?

It depends! Bear with us: We could just show you pictures of 51 sample car titles for the 50 U.S. states and Washington, D.C., but there’s always a possibility that the sample might change at a later date. You may know of a car title as a “pink slip” thanks to popular culture (think “Grease”), but the California car title on which that term is based hasn’t been pink since 1988.

Related: What Is a Salvage Title and Should I Buy a Car With One?

A car title is the legal document that establishes the legal owner of a particular vehicle. The process for registering a vehicle and receiving a title varies by state, as does the information contained on the document itself. Usually, however, these pieces of information will be included:

  • Information about the vehicle, such as make, model, year of manufacture and the vehicle identification number, or VIN
  • License plate number/letters/combination of both
  • Additional information about the vehicle such as its classification, type of engine or power source, and the original purchase price when the vehicle was new
  • Name and address of the registered owner
  • Any lienholder information if money is owed on the vehicle, i.e., if the vehicle purchase has been financed

Any additional information, and the specific information required, will vary depending on the specific agency issuing the title. Additionally, any process of transferring the title from one owner to another, or once any loans have been paid off, will vary. You can find more information about your specific state’s requirements by contacting the relevant agency — typically the state department of motor vehicles, though not always — that handles vehicle registrations.

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