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Fillable Form REG 138 - Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability

DMV REG 138 is to ensure your liability has been release on vehicle which has transferred interest. You may have sold, gifted or donated the vehicle. This form must be complete and sent to DMV within five calendar of transfer.

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What is Form REG 138?

The Department of Motor Vehicles’ (DMV) Form REG-138 is used when a vehicle is being purchased or sold but also applies if you are gifted or donated the vehicle. It is basically a document used for changing ownership of the vehicle from the seller to the buyer.

Under the law, the seller is still honored as the legal owner of the vehicle until the proper forms and documents are filed, transferring their ownership of it onto the buyer. Only then is the vehicle registered under the buyer. Form REG 138 is responsible for protecting and releasing the seller of the vehicle from any and all liabilities the buyer may commit. For example, if the buyer of the vehicle breaks any laws - like illegal parking - or destroys property before re-registration of ownership, the seller may be held liable for damages.

It is only when Form REG 138 is accomplished by both seller and buyer and is submitted to the DMV that the seller is deemed not liable for any problems or illegal activities the buyer of the car may commit, since the vehicle is re-registered as owned by someone else.

What is the purpose of Form REG 138?

In the DMV of California, Form REG 138 is a requirement when one chooses to put their vehicle/s on sale since it informs the DMV of any pertinent information regarding the buyer. The information detailed and reported on the form, once submitted, will be kept and stored in the record of the vehicle. This let’s any and all liabilities caused by the buyer, the new legal owner of the vehicle, to be responsible for them. Some legal liabilities include but are not limited to illegal parking, vehicle abandonment, or any illegal operation of the vehicle after the date of transferred ownership.

Who should accomplish Form REG 138?

The seller of the vehicle must file for Form REG 138, but both the buyer and the seller of the vehicle are required to accomplish Form REG 138.

Where should you complete and submit Form REG 138?

You can file your Form REG 138 in three ways: online, in-person, or through the mail.

You may access Form REG 138 above and fill it out using our PDF Editing Software or you may print it out and accomplish it using blank ink.

For online submissions, you may submit your completed Form REG 138 through the DMV website. For in-person submissions, visit your local field office. If you choose to submit your Form REG 138 through the mail, mail it to this address:

Department of Motor Vehicles

Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability

Motor Vehicle Division Unit

P.O. Box 942859

Sacramento, CA 94259-0001

When should you file and submit Form REG 138?

Form REG 138 should be accomplished and submitted to the DMV within five (5) calendar days of transfer.

How do you fill out Form REG 138?

First and foremost, it is important that you keep in mind that Form REG 138 should be submitted to the DMV within five (5) days from the date you have sold the vehicle. Make sure you submit this form completely and accurately, with all information asked filled out with correct and honest statements to avoid penalties. Make sure to accomplish Form REG 138 legibly and with accuracy; please be advised that forms with false or incorrect information will not be retained nor updated.

Before you file for Form REG 138, it is also important first to find out if your current state requires you to have a liability release form. You will usually get a notice for this.

Next, prepare some documents and files you may need to complete this form. You will need the license plate number of the vehicle, the full name and the full address of the seller (old owner) and buyer (the new owner). You will also need to know the date of sale of the vehicle, the selling price of the vehicle, the vehicle’s odometer reading, and the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).

Once you have retrieved and gathered all these necessary information regarding the seller, burer, and the vehicle, start filling out the form by supplying the following information in black ink and CAPITALIZED.

  1. Type/print the full name of the vehicle’s new owner (buyer). Indicate the company name (if any or if the buyer of the vehicle is a business)
  2. Write down the new owner’s full address, including City, State, Zip Code, and apartment number (if any)
  3. Report the current odometer reading of the vehicle
  4. State the date of sale, transfer, or lease return (use mm/dd/yyyy format)
  5. Type/print the full name of the vehicle’s current owner (seller).
  6. Write down the current owner’s full address, including City, State, Zip Code, and apartment number (if any)
  7. Indicate the selling price (no cents) of the vehicle being sold; if the vehicle was a gift, please enter a 0
  8. State the vehicle’s license number of CF number (for watercraft vehicles)
  9. Report the make or builder of the vehicle
  10. Indicate the year model of the vehicle
  11. State the vehicle ID or Vessel Hull Number
  12. Once completed, the seller of the vehicle must sign the form

Additional notes:

  • You may opt to accomplish the form by hand or by electronically typing it out but please use only black ink and make sure that you are capitalizing the needed information, as per the instructions given.
  • If you wish to mail the notice, kindly record the necessary information of the transaction on the second page of Form REG 138 and then detach the bottom half of the page for your own keeping. It is recommended that you make or keep a copy of Form REG 138 for your own documentation and recording in case of any liability issues.
  • You can mail Form REG 138 with an attached pre-filled envelope or you may drop the form off at your local DMV office. If you opt to do this, please double-check and make sure that the envelope containing your form is properly sealed and stamped.

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