Can You Sell A Car With Expired Registration In Colorado?

Trying to sell your used car in Colorado but just realized the registration is expired? This common scenario leaves many sellers wondering if they can still complete the sale legally.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Yes, it is possible to sell a car with an expired registration in Colorado, but there are specific steps that must be taken to transfer ownership legally and avoid penalties.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explain Colorado’s vehicle registration rules, outline the process for selling a car with expired plates, and highlight important titling and bill of sale requirements to properly handle the transaction.

Understanding Colorado Car Registration Laws and Renewal

When it comes to selling a car with expired registration in Colorado, it’s important to understand the state’s car registration laws and renewal process. Colorado requires all vehicles to be registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and to display valid license plates.

Let’s delve into the details of Colorado’s car registration laws and renewal requirements.

Registration Periods and Renewal Deadlines

In Colorado, vehicle registrations are valid for one year and must be renewed annually. The registration period typically begins on the first day of the vehicle’s registration month. For example, if a vehicle’s registration month is June, the registration period will run from June 1st to May 31st of the following year.

It’s crucial to be aware of the renewal deadlines in Colorado. The DMV sends out renewal notices to vehicle owners approximately one month before the expiration date. It is the responsibility of the vehicle owner to renew their registration before the deadline, even if they never received the renewal notice.

Failure to renew on time can result in penalties and fines.

Penalties for Late Registration Renewal

If you fail to renew your vehicle registration before the deadline, you may face penalties and fines in Colorado. The specific penalties can vary depending on the length of time the registration has expired and the vehicle’s weight class.

For vehicles weighing less than 16,000 pounds, the late fee for expired registration ranges from $25 to $100. Additionally, a $75 late fee may be imposed for vehicles that have been expired for more than 30 days.

For vehicles weighing 16,000 pounds or more, the late fee for expired registration ranges from $100 to $200. A $100 late fee may be imposed for vehicles that have been expired for more than 30 days.

Grace Periods and Options When Expired

Colorado does not have a grace period for expired vehicle registration. Once the registration has expired, it is considered illegal to drive the vehicle on public roads until the registration has been renewed. However, there are options available if you find yourself with an expired registration.

If you are selling a car with expired registration in Colorado, it’s important to inform potential buyers about the expired registration status. While it is possible to sell a car with expired registration, the buyer will need to take the necessary steps to renew the registration and obtain new license plates.

It’s always best to stay on top of your vehicle’s registration renewal to avoid penalties and legal issues. Make sure to mark your calendars and renew your registration on time to keep your vehicle legally registered in Colorado.

How to Legally Sell Your Car When Registration Is Expired

Informing the Buyer About Expired Registration

When selling a car with expired registration in Colorado, it is crucial to inform the buyer about the registration status. Transparency is key in any transaction, and buyers have a right to know the current condition of the vehicle they are purchasing.

Clearly communicate the expiration date of the registration and any potential penalties or fees that the buyer may need to address.

Providing Required DMV Paperwork

Even though the registration is expired, you still need to provide the buyer with the necessary Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) paperwork. This includes the vehicle’s title, bill of sale, and any other relevant documents.

These documents are essential for the buyer to transfer ownership and register the car in their name. Make sure all the paperwork is filled out correctly and provide any additional information that may be required by the DMV.

Removing or Transferring License Plates

Before selling your car, it is important to remove or transfer the license plates. In Colorado, license plates stay with the owner, not the vehicle. If you plan to keep your plates, remove them before completing the sale.

If the buyer wants to transfer the plates to the new vehicle, they will need to follow the necessary procedures with the DMV. Make sure to provide clear instructions to the buyer on how to handle the license plates.

Filing Necessary Transfer Documents

After completing the sale, it is crucial to file the necessary transfer documents with the DMV. This includes notifying the DMV of the change in ownership and providing them with the necessary paperwork, such as the bill of sale.

Failing to properly transfer ownership can lead to legal complications down the line. Make sure to guide the buyer through this process and provide any assistance they may need.

While selling a car with expired registration may require some additional steps, it is still possible to do so legally. By keeping the buyer informed, providing the required paperwork, handling license plates properly, and filing the necessary transfer documents, you can ensure a smooth and legal transaction.

Properly Handling the Title When Selling with Expired Registration

Selling a car with expired registration in Colorado can be a bit tricky, but it is not impossible. There are certain steps you need to follow to ensure a smooth transaction and avoid any legal complications.

One of the most important aspects of selling a car with expired registration is properly handling the title.

Signing Over the Title

When selling a car with expired registration, it is crucial to sign over the title to the buyer. This involves completing the necessary sections on the back of the title, including the seller’s signature, the buyer’s information, and the date of the sale.

It is important to ensure that all the required fields are filled out accurately to avoid any issues.

Odometer Disclosure Requirements

In Colorado, sellers are required to disclose the accurate mileage of the vehicle at the time of the sale. This is known as the odometer disclosure requirement. It is important to provide an accurate reading of the vehicle’s mileage to the buyer.

Failure to disclose the correct mileage can result in legal consequences.

Obtaining New Title in Buyer’s Name

After signing over the title, it is the buyer’s responsibility to obtain a new title in their name. As the seller, you need to inform the buyer about the expired registration and advise them to take the necessary steps to transfer the title and register the vehicle.

The buyer will need to visit the local Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office to complete the necessary paperwork and pay the required fees.

Note: It is always advisable to consult the official Colorado DMV website for the most up-to-date information regarding selling a car with expired registration. You can visit their website here.

How the Seller and Buyer Can Avoid Fines for Expired Registration

When selling a car with expired registration in Colorado, both the seller and the buyer need to be aware of the necessary steps to avoid fines and legal issues. Here are some important guidelines to follow:

Updating Registration Immediately

The seller should make it a priority to update the registration before completing the sale. This can be done by visiting the local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office or by utilizing the online registration renewal system.

By updating the registration, the seller ensures that the vehicle is in compliance with the law and prevents any potential fines.

Applying for Temporary Permits

If the seller is unable to update the registration immediately, they can apply for temporary permits to allow the buyer to legally operate the vehicle while the registration is being processed. Temporary permits are typically valid for a specific period of time, during which the buyer can drive the car without the risk of fines or penalties.

However, it’s important to note that temporary permits may have certain restrictions, so it’s crucial to familiarize oneself with the regulations.

Following Up with Mandatory Insurance

Regardless of the registration status, it is mandatory for all vehicles in Colorado to have valid insurance coverage. Both the seller and the buyer should ensure that the vehicle is adequately insured before finalizing the sale.

This not only protects both parties from potential financial liabilities but also keeps them in compliance with state law.

It’s worth mentioning that laws and regulations may change over time, so it’s always a good idea to consult the official Colorado DMV website ( for the most up-to-date information regarding registration requirements and procedures.


While trying to sell a car with expired plates in Colorado can add hassle, being aware of the proper transfer process helps avoid legal issues or penalties. Both buyers and sellers should ensure registration and titling requirements are handled correctly.

By providing necessary paperwork and following notification procedures, Colorado sellers can successfully navigate the sale of a vehicle with lapsed registration, making it a smooth and compliant transaction for all.

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