Buying and Selling a Motorcycle in South Carolina

From the scenic routes of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the historic streets of Charleston, South Carolina offers a diverse and captivating landscape for motorcycle enthusiasts. The Palmetto State’s beautiful setting provides a thrilling riding experience for approximately 150,000 registered motorcyclists.

Buying and selling a motorcycle in South Carolina has its own set of rules and guidelines. It’s essential to understand these steps and which documents to prepare in order to ensure a smooth transaction.

Here’s our guide to navigating this process in South Carolina.

Bill of Sale

In South Carolina, a Bill of Sale is not legally required (in most cases) when buying or selling a motorcycle. If the back of the seller’s title does not have a section to list the sales price and the odometer reading, a Bill of Sale is required for the transaction.

However, it is recommended to use one in any situation to protect both the buyer and the seller. This document can be essential in settling any disputes that may arise in the future.

The Bill of Sale should be drafted by the seller and include the motorcycle’s year, make, model, mileage, and Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). It should also list the names and addresses of both the buyer and seller, along with their signatures. The sales price must be clearly written.

Mileage disclosure is important when selling a motorcycle in South Carolina. Both parties should double check that all information is accurate and agreed upon before signing.

Notarizing the Bill of Sale in South Carolina is not a requirement, but is recommended for added security. Both the buyer and seller should keep a copy of the notarized document.

Title Transfer

Transferring the Certificate of Title is a critical step in legally establishing motorcycle ownership in South Carolina. Once the sale is agreed upon, the seller signs the title over to the buyer.

Both parties should verify that the buyer’s name, sale price, and mileage are correctly filled out before the seller signs it over. It’s a good practice for the seller to keep a photo or copy of the completed title.

If the title is missing, the seller can obtain a duplicate from the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The buyer must complete a Title Application (SCDMV Form 400) and submit it to the DMV, along with the signed-over title.

For motorcycles manufactured in the model year 2011 or newer, South Carolina requires an Odometer Disclosure Statement to be completed and accurate at the time of title transfer.

If there is a lien on the motorcycle title, the seller must inform the buyer. The buyer needs a lien release document to title the motorcycle in their name. Additional steps may be needed based on the specific lien situation.

When selling a motorcycle in South Carolina, the seller must notify the South Carolina DMV of the sale. This can be officially done by filling out the Notice of Vehicle Sold (SCDMV Form 416) and handing it off to a local branch or mailing it to their PO Box.

The buyer should complete the title transfer within 45 days of purchase to avoid late fees.


After the title transfer, the buyer is required to register the motorcycle at a local DMV office in South Carolina. The following documents are needed to complete registration:

  • The signed Certificate of Title.
  • A valid South Carolina motorcycle license.
  • Proof of valid motorcycle insurance.
  • Property tax bill generated from your county office.
  • Payment for title and registration fees.

South Carolina mandates the following minimums for auto insurance coverage: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident for bodily injury, and $25,000 for property damage.


There are fees associated with titling and registering a motorcycle in South Carolina. These fees vary based on individual circumstances, but typically include:

  • Vehicle plate (or registration transfer) fee
  • Title fee
  • Infrastructure maintenance fee (replacing sales tax)
  • Property tax (generated from the county office bill)

For specific fee amounts, consult the South Carolina DMV website.


With this information, we hope buying or selling a motorcycle in South Carolina feels like a  straightforward process. For detailed queries, it’s best to contact your local DMV office.

What are your favorite South Carolina motorcycle trips? Let us know!

For more comprehensive advice, explore our detailed guides on how to buy a motorcycle and how to sell a motorcycle.

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