Buying and Selling a Motorcycle in Texas

motorcycle in front of sunset

Motorcycles are a way of life for many Texans. There are more than 300,000 registered motorcycles in the state. Buying and selling one in the Lone Star State can be a very exciting experience. However, each state has different rules and requirements for transferring motorcycle ownership. It’s important to know the steps to complete and which documents to gather.

Here’s our guide to navigating this process in the vast and vibrant state of Texas.

1. Bill of Sale 

A Bill of Sale is not required when buying or selling a motorcycle in Texas. However, it is strongly encouraged to use one when transferring ownership. It may be imperative, especially if either party disputes any aspect of the sale down the road.

The seller is typically responsible for bringing the Bill of Sale to the transaction. Consider making a copy for the buyer.

The Bill of Sale should include the motorcycle’s year, make, model, color and Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). It should also detail the current mileage, method of payment and final sales price. Include the names and addresses of both the buyer and seller, with space for signatures from both.

After the seller has filled out the form, the buyer should ensure that all of the information on the Bill of Sale is accurate before signing and dating it.

In Texas, the Bill of Sale document does not need to be notarized.

2. Title Transfer

The Certificate of Title is a document that legally establishes vehicle ownership. After the Bill of Sale is completed and the seller has received payment, the seller transfers ownership of the motorcycle by signing over the title. The buyer then becomes the legal owner of the motorcycle.

As the seller, sign the back of the title and provide the buyer with a properly assigned title. Ensure that all the information, including the VIN, matches the motorcycle. Take a picture of the title after you’ve filled out and signed the back, before you hand it over to the buyer.

If the title is missing, the seller must complete an Application for a Certified Copy of Title (Form VTR-34).

The buyer must complete an Application for Texas Title (Form 130-U) and submit it to the DMV or local county tax office along with the signed title and any fees. This must be done within 30 days of the date of sale. The office will process the application and issue a new title in the buyer’s name.

If there is a lien on the motorcycle, additional steps may be required to satisfy the lienholder and transfer the title to the buyer.

According to the Texas DMV’s official website, the seller should also complete a Vehicle Transfer Notification (Form VTR-346) to release themselves from further liabilities. This should be done regardless of if you are selling to a private seller or a dealership.

If you are selling or trading in your motorcycle to a licensed dealer in Texas, they are not required to title the vehicle in the dealership’s name. The motorcycle will stay in your name until it is sold to another person. This can potentially take months or years.

When the notification is received by the DMV, they update their records to show the motorcycle as sold. If you file the notification within 30 days of the sale date, you will not be held responsible for any violations the rider who purchased the motorcycle may have committed. This can include unpaid parking tickets, toll infractions and other offenses.

As the seller, it is advisable to keep a copy of the notification for your records.

3. Registration

After the title transfer has been approved, it’s time to register your motorcycle. As the buyer, you are required to bring some documents to the DMV for motorcycle registration. As listed on the Texas DMV website, these items are:

Texas requires the following minimums for insurance coverage: $30,000 per injured person, up to $60,000 for everyone injured in an accident, and $25,000 for property damage.

Motorcycles do not require a smog check before registration, but do need to pass the annual safety inspection.


Some general fees come along with registering your motorcycle. The amounts will vary based on your situation, but this is what you can expect:

  • Registration fee
  • Local fee
  • Special plates fee
  • Inspection fee
  • Processing fee

The annual registration fee for motorcycles in Texas is $30. The local fee is dependent on your county of registration. A special plates fee will only apply if your motorcycle has specialty license plates.

The inspection fee to the DMV is the state’s portion of the charge. When receiving your report from the station, you only pay their portion at that time. You will pay the rest when registering your motorcycle with Texas. The processing and handling fee covers the cost of generating registration renewals.

Off-highway motorcycles (OHM) used exclusively off public roads need to be titled, but are exempt from registration.


With these insights, we hope the process of buying or selling a motorcycle in Texas becomes more approachable. For additional personalized assistance, reach out to your local DMV.

So, what kind of motorcycle are you thinking of buying or selling? Share your thoughts below! For a more detailed guide through the entire process, check out our comprehensive guides on how to sell a motorcycle and how to buy a motorcycle!

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