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7.025 Vehicles with Unavailable Records (CVC §5911)

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Vehicle Industry Registration Procedures Manual

Chapter 7 Miscellaneous Originals

7.025 Vehicles with Unavailable Records (CVC §5911)

  • Vehicles which have not been registered within the department's four-year file record and no longer appear in the department's database, are referred to as "unavailable records."
    • Nonresident applications are not included in this category.
  • The unavailable records procedure can not be used for a vehicle located out-of-state.
    • The vehicle must be physically located in California.

Applications with original California title and/or registration card

Unavailable record applications submitted with a California title and/or an original (not a photocopy) expired registration card are processed as an original registration transaction.

The requirements are:

  • The Certificate of Title or an Application for Duplicate Title (REG 227).
    • If an Application for Duplicate Title is being submitted and the registration card shows a legal owner, a notarized lien satisfied must be obtained from the legal owner.
    • If applicable, the title or Application for Duplicate Title must be endorsed for transfer if the applicant is not the owner shown on the certificates.
  • Completed Application for Title or Registration (REG 343).
  • Vehicle Verification (REG 31/REG 343).
Note: A vehicle verification is not required for a vehicle to be dismantled by a licensed dismantler.
  • Used motorcycles with unavailable records or with documents from a foreign country, must be referred to the CHP for verification.
    Exceptions:
  • Non-resident used motorcycles with documents from another state.
  • Motorcycles that will be registered off-highway (OHV) only, including requests for "Title Only" for OHV motorcycle.
  • Certificate of Non-Operation (REG 102) or aStatement of Facts (REG 256) regarding non-operation of the vehicle up to the date of application, may be accepted unless the vehicle is a trailer coach.
    • Trailer coaches must be currently registered at all times.
  • Weight certificate for a commercial vehicle weighing less than 10,001 pounds.
    • If the vehicle weighs 10,001 pounds or more, or if the vehicle is a trailer in the PTI program, the estimated unladen weight is required and must be shown on a Statement of Facts (REG 256).
    • The unladen weight shown on the title or registration card may be used if the owner certifies on a Statement of Facts (REG 256) that the weight has not changed.
  • Declaration of Gross Vehicle Weight/Combined Gross Vehicle Weight (REG 4008) completed and signed by the owner for a commercial vehicle weighing 6,001 pounds or more unladen (not required for pickups).
  • Odometer mileage disclosure on a Vehicle/Vessel Transfer and Reassignment form (REG 262), if applicable.
    • See Chapter 5, Odometer Mileage Reporting, for odometer disclosure requirements.
  • Report of Sale, Used Vehicle (REG 51), if sold by a California dealer
  • Smog certification, if appropriate.
  • Surrender of the old license plates. Under certain conditions, the owner of a collector vehicle may be permitted to retain old license plates that are no longer on the database. See the following section for more information.
  • Collect all fees due from the date of first operation. If ownership of the vehicle:
    • is not changing, retain the VLF class on the surrendered California title or the original registration card.
    • is changing, reclassify the vehicle based on the new owner's purchase price.
Note: Transfer fees are not due.

Retention of old license plates on collector vehicles

Under specific circumstances, the department may allow a car collector to retain the old plates on the vehicle.

  • The original California title or registration showing the plate number originally assigned to that vehicle must be submitted with the application.
  • The plate configuration must be available and not in a series reserved for issuance as a special interest or other plate series.
  • Check with your local DMV office.

Applications without original California title and/or registration card

Unavailable record applications submitted without a California title or with only a photocopy of an expired registration card are processed as an original registration transaction. The requirements are:

  • Completed Application for Title or Registration (REG 343).
  • Vehicle Verification (REG 31/REG 343).
Note: Used motorcycles with unavailable records, or with documents from a foreign country must be referred to the CHP for verification.
Exceptions:
  • Non-resident used motorcycles with documents from another state.
  • Motorcycles that will be registered off-highway (OHV) only, including requests for "Title Only" for OHV motorcycle.
  • Statement of Facts (REG 256) completed by the applicant stating:
    • how, when, and from whom the vehicle was acquired, and
    • what effort was made to contact the last owner to obtain evidence of ownership, why it was unobtainable, and
    • the current value of the vehicle. Refer to Chapter 23, Bonds and Certifications, to determine if a bond is required.
  • Certificate of Non-Operation (REG 102), or Statement of Facts (REG 256) regarding non-operation of the vehicle, may be accepted up to the date of application unless the vehicle is a trailer coach.
    • Trailer coaches must be currently registered at all times.
  • Report of Sale, Used Vehicle (REG 51), if sold by a California dealer.
  • Odometer mileage disclosure on a Vehicle/Vessel Transfer and Reassignment Form (REG 262), if applicable.
    • See Chapter 5, Odometer Mileage Reporting, for odometer disclosure requirements.
  • Weight certificate for a commercial vehicle weighing less than 10,001 pounds.
    • If the vehicle weighs 10,001 pounds or more, or if the vehicle is a trailer in the PTI program, the estimated unladen weight is required and must be shown on a Statement of Facts (REG 256).
  • Declaration of Gross Vehicle Weight/Combined Gross Vehicle Weight (REG 4008) completed and signed by the owner for a commercial vehicle weighing 6,001 pounds or more unladen. (Not required for pickups)
  • Smog certification, if appropriate.
  • Surrender of the old license plates, if available.
    • The license plates that may be on the vehicle cannot be retained unless the paperwork shows that the plates were originally assigned to the vehicle and the owner wishes to keep the plates.
  • Collect all fees due from date of first operation.
    • Use the cost information on the REG 343 to establish the new asterisk year and VLF class.
Note: Transfer fees are not due.

Motorcycles with unavailable records

  • Used motorcycles with no record on the department's files must be referred to the CHP for verification of the identification and engine numbers.
  • The CHP completes the verification of the motorcycle using the back of the Application for Title or Registration (REG 343/31).
  • Applications for registration of a nonresident motorcycle with an out-of-state title or registration card do not require CHP verification and can be verified by a department employee or a licensed vehicle verifier.

Vehicle verification alternative

  • Where vehicle verification services are not available, and verification would require moving the vehicle to the DMV office by trailer, a tracing of the VIN may be accepted with the DMV manager's approval.
  • A Statement of Facts (REG 256) from the owner must be submitted with the tracing that explains the steps taken to obtain a vehicle verification, and why the vehicle cannot be brought to a DMV office.

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