Titling and Registering Vehicles
Tax and Title
Within 15 days of buying a vehicle, you must title it in your name at a Secretary of State branch office. Failure to transfer the title within that time will result in a $15 late fee. At the time of titling, a $15 title transfer fee will be collected as well as 6% use tax. Sales to father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, husband, wife, grandparents, grandchildren, stepfather, stepmother, stepchild, stepsister, stepbrother, father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, grandparent-in-law, grandchild-in-law, legal ward, or legal guardian of the previous owner are tax-exempt.
Obtaining an Instant Title
Individuals who need to obtain a title may process an application at any Secretary of State branch office. Title applications require proof of vehicle ownership and proper identification. Individuals who have lost an existing Michigan title and need to obtain a replacement title immediately can take advantage of instant title service at several branch offices. Locate the nearest instant title office.
In addition to the $15 title fee, there is a $5 instant title fee for this service. The vehicle owner must appear in person for instant title service. The owner cannot appoint an agent for an instant title transaction. If there are two owners of a vehicle, both owners must appear in person for instant title service.
NOTE: For duplicate title transactions when there are two owners on the title record, only one owner needs to appear and sign the title application. An appointment of agent is not needed from the other owner. Both owner names will appear on the duplicate title.
If you cannot find the title to your vehicle, you may request a replacement title online through ExpressSOS. The cost is $15 and your title will be mailed to you within 14 days. Replacement titles can only be issued to the owner listed on the title document. If you have submitted a change of address within the last 10 days or have an appointment of agent or power of attorney designation, you will need to visit a Secretary of State office to obtain a replacement title.
Buying a New License Plate
You must present a valid Michigan no-fault insurance certificate for the vehicle.
Transferring a License Plate
Your plate must be valid. Bring your registration or license plate number. Proof of insurance is not required unless you changed insurance companies since your last license plate renewal.
Michigan Law requires disclosure of the actual odometer reading at the time of transfer or assignment of the vehicle's title. Further, the seller must indicate if that reading is actual mileage, not actual mileage, or exceeds the maximum limit of the odometer (usually over 99,999 miles). This disclosure is not required if the vehicle has a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 16,000 pounds, is not self-propelled, or is 10 years old or older (MCL 257.233a).
Federal Law also requires sellers to state the odometer mileage when transferring ownership. Failure to complete a mileage disclosure of providing false information may make the seller liable for damages and fines and or imprisonment according to the Motor Vehicle Information and Cost Saving Act of 1972, Public Law 92-513.
Questions? Contact the Michigan Department of State Information Center at 888-SOS-MICH (767-6424) for assistance.