Missouri Laws About Selling Used Cars

By Kara Chance
Missouri has several laws regulating the sale of used cars.

yellow car, a honda japanese sport car model image by alma_sacra from Fotolia.com

Many people buy and sell used cars in Missouri every year. While it is a fairly simple transaction to sell a used car, there are several regulations that people who sell their cars should know so they are not fined by the Missouri Department of Motor Vehicles. There are certain legal responsibilities and requirements for people who plan to sell a used car.

Information Needed

Someone who is selling a used car must provide plenty of information to the vehicle buyer before the transaction is official. One item the seller must provide to the buyer is the Certificate of Title, which must be signed over to the new buyer. The seller must also provide a copy of a safety inspection certificate, which must be no more than 60 days old. If the seller lives in St. Louis City or Franklin, Jefferson, St. Charles or St. Louis counties, she must also provide an emissions inspection that is not more than 60 days old.

Lien Release

If the seller owes money on the car, is leasing the car or used the car as collateral for a loan, the seller must finish paying off the loan before selling the car. If he cannot pay off the loan, he must inform the lender that he is selling the car to make new arrangements for paying off the lender. Once the seller has paid off the car loan, he should obtain a Missouri Lien Release (Missouri document DOR-4809). This document must be properly notarized. When selling the car, the former owner must provide a copy of this Lien Release to the new owner.

Honest Disclosure

The seller of the car must be careful to follow the Missouri Unfair and Deceptive Acts and Practices Act. This law states that sellers of goods, such as a used car, must not lie to the new owner about the state of the car. For example, a seller cannot say that she just replaced the brakes if the brakes are actually 15 years old.

Other Requirements

When transferring title, all sellers and buyers should print their names and sign the back of the title in the area marked "assignment." The signatures do not have to be notarized. The seller must also record the odometer reading on the title and include the date. This should be done carefully, because sellers may not use correction fluid or erase marks on the title. Once the transaction is complete, the seller should remove the license plates from the car. Finally, the seller must take the bill of sale to a Missouri Motor Vehicle office within 30 days in order to register the sale.

About the Author

Based in San Francisco, Kara Chance is currently a researcher and legal assistant. She started writing professionally in 2002, and her articles have appeared in "Business Wire," "Ecology Law Quarterly" and the "Daily O'Collegian." She has a Master of Arts in English from University College-Dublin, and a Bachelor of Arts in literature from Oklahoma State University.

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