Can I legally drive my car?

Asked by Feb 03, 2017 at 09:19 PM

Question type: Shopping & Pricing

Hey, everybody.
I bought myself my first car (a 2000 Honda Civic) this week and wanted to
ask whether I can legally drive it or not.
For clarification, I have the signed title in-hand, the current registration,
current tags, insurance, and have completed the smog check. All that's left
for me to do is complete the change of ownership (title transfer) at the
DMV, which I know must be done within 10 days of the sale.
What I really want to ask is, is it within my legal boundaries to drive it during
these 10 days if everything else is good to go? The DMV won t be open
again until Monday, but I was already considering making a couple trips
over the weekend.
Thanks in advance.
I live in California, by the way.

10 Answers


Yes you can drive it. I take it this is a private sale as a dealer would have issued you temporary tags. Just get an appointment at the DMV and complete the transfer of title.

1 people found this helpful.

If you have a AAA membership they can do the paper work for you but I don't know if they are open weekends.

1 people found this helpful.

Just to clarify, you cannot legally drive on the previous owner's plates, not even on the way home from buying it. You have to at a minimum get temporary tags, which the notarized title you have will allow you to do, your name, signature, and address as buyer will need to be on it, either sign it in front of a notary OR sign it at the DMV in front of the clerk, don't just sign it and walk in there, they need to witness it. You can transfer the title into your name at a later date.


No you have 10 days. 1dmy&urile=wcm:path:/dmv_content_en/dmv/vr/vr_info#BM2522


Sellers need to report the sale to protect themselves.


I have never needed a notary and I have bought and sold a lot of cars in Kalifornia.


FoR, the 10 days is for transfer of title. But in order to drive the car, the buyer needs to get either temporary tags OR do the title xfer and new plates. They can't drive on the previous owners plates.


How about backing that claim with a DMV regulation?


From the DMV ---- What do I do with the license plates when I sell my car? Most vehicles have sequentially issued "standard" license plates that remain with the vehicle when ownership is transferred. If the vehicle has a special interest or personalized license plate, these plates belong to the plate owner, not the vehicle. Aas the seller you must decide if you want to retain the license plate for use on another vehicle, or release your interest in the license plate. You may remove the plates for reassignment to another vehicle or retain for future use and apply for a no-fee Regular Series License Plate. This should be done prior to obtaining the smog certification (if required). Depending on the type of license plate, complete a Special Interest License Plate Application (REG 17) form or a Special License Plate Application (REG 17A) form to indicate retention or release of the special license plate and give the form to the buyer. If you are releasing the plate ownership to the buyer, the buyer would also complete a separate REG 17 form.

1 people found this helpful.

Got it, I stand corrected. I bought several cars from CA but as an out-of-state buyer I was expressly told by CA DMV clerk not to use previous owner's plates, but I see from their site you can do that if you are a CA resident, still need to file a form though, otherwise seller is responsible for any tickets.

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