Buying and Selling a Motorcycle in North Carolina

Rider on motorcycle

From the majestic Blue Ridge Parkway to the speedways of Charlotte, North Carolina presents an exhilarating landscape for motorcycle enthusiasts. The Tar Heel State and its varied terrain offer many adventures for over 200,000 registered motorcyclists.

Buying and selling a motorcycle in North Carolina comes with its own set of guidelines. Knowing these steps and the required documents are keys to a smooth transaction.

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

Bill of Sale

In North Carolina, a Bill of Sale is not required by law when buying or selling a motorcycle. However, it is strongly recommended to use one when transferring motorcycle ownership for the protection of both the buyer and seller. It can be crucial in resolving any potential future disputes.

The seller is usually responsible for creating the Bill of Sale. It should include the motorcycle’s year, make, model, mileage, and Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). List the names and addresses of both parties, and include signatures for each. The final sale price should be clearly stated.

Accurately disclosing the mileage is important when selling a motorcycle in North Carolina. Both parties should verify that all the information filled in is correct before signing.

Notarization of the Bill of Sale is not mandatory in North Carolina, but adds a layer of security to the transaction. Keeping a copy of the notarized document is a good practice for both parties.

Title Transfer

Transferring the Certificate of Title is the next step in establishing legal motorcycle ownership in North Carolina. After the sale is finalized, the seller signs the title over to the buyer. 

Both parties should ensure that the buyer’s name and sale price are correctly filled in. The mileage needs to be accurately recorded as well before the seller signs their name. It’s best practice for the seller to take a photo or make a copy of the completed title before handing it over to the buyer.

If the title is missing, the seller can request a duplicate from the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The buyer must then complete a Title Application (Form MVR-1) and submit it to the DMV with the signed-over title.

For motorcycles manufactured in model year 2010 and newer, an Odometer Disclosure Statement (Form MVR-180) must be completed and accurate when transferring the title. The seller will also need to fill out a Damage Disclosure Statement (Form MVR-181) for all motorcycle sales.

If there’s a lien on the motorcycle title, the seller should inform the buyer of the situation. The buyer will need a lien release document before they’re able to title the motorcycle in their name. Additional steps may apply depending on your lien situation.

The buyer must submit the title transfer within 28 days of purchase to avoid late fees.


After the title transfer, the buyer needs to register the motorcycle in their name at a local DMV office. The following is required in North Carolina:

  • The signed Certificate of Title.
  • A valid North Carolina motorcycle license.
  • Proof of valid motorcycle insurance.
  • Payment for title and registration fees.

North Carolina requires the following minimums for insurance coverage: $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident for bodily injury, and $25,000 for property damage.


Some fees come along with registering your motorcycle in North Carolina. The exact amount will vary based on your personal situation, but these are the types of fees you can expect to pay:

  • Vehicle plate (or registration transfer) fee
  • Title fee
  • Highway-use tax

The amount due will vary based on your county of residence. Check the North Carolina DMV website for your exact fee structure.


With this knowledge, we hope the process of buying or selling a motorcycle in North Carolina becomes more manageable. For specific questions, contact your local DMV office.

Do you have any North Carolina motorcycle trips or routes on your bucket list? Share them with us!

Explore our extensive guides on how to buy a motorcycle and how to sell a motorcycle for more detailed information on both topics.

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