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This page will cover the used motorcycle registration and title process in California and provide some tips on how to register if you bought the motorcycle with no title.
California Title & Inspection Requirements for Used Motorcycles
- Does California have an equipment/safety inspection?
- No, though a safety inspections may be performed randomly.
- Does California require VIN Inspections for motorcycles bought out of state?
- Yes, a Verification of Vehicle (REG 31) form will need to be completed by a DMV VIN Checker, law enforcement office, or licensed verifier.
- Does California require a title for old motorcycles?
- Yes, all motorcycle are titled in California.
Title and Register an Old Motorcycle in California
To title and register your motorcycle in CA, you’ll need:
- Signed title/pink slip
- Bill of sale and old registration if bought in a state that doesn’t issue titles.
- Application for Title or Registration (REG 343)
- Odometer reading is not required for motorcycles more than 10 years old.
- Transfer fees, registration fees, sales tax.
- Verification of Vehicle (REG 31) if you bought it out of state.
- A Bill of Sale if you bought the motorcycle from a different owner than the one on the title.
How to Register a Motorcycle with No Title in California
Option 1: Bikes from CA
Before sale is complete, ask previous owner to get a duplicate title:
- Fill out Application for Duplicate Title if the bike was last titled in CA.
- Notarize seller’s signature.
- Submit with the forms/documents above.
Option 2: Bikes from Out of State
If the bike was purchased out of state from a state that requires titles:
- Ask the owner to request a duplicate title in their state.
- Find motorcycle registration and title details for all states here.
Option 3: Register in a No-Title State
Register the bike in a non-title, no residency requirement, mail-in registration application state, such as Vermont.
- Follow the registration requirements in Vermont.
- Transfer your registration to your own state.
California Street Legal Motorcycle Equipment Requirements
Motorcycles in California must have:
- Rearview mirrors.
- Handlebar height maximum of 6” above shoulders.
- Passenger footrest is carrying a passenger.
- Turn signals required for motorcycles manufactured after 1972.
- Daytime headlights required for motorcycles manufactured after 1977.
- Brakes lights may flash no more than 4 times within 4 seconds. when applying the brakes.
This information was correct at the time of writing it, but state laws are subject to change.