Q: How can I check to see the current license status of businesses licensed by the Department of Motor Vehicles?

A: The DMV has license status information for the following business categories available online:

• ATV Schools

• Dismantlers

• Distributors

• Driving Schools

• Lessor-Retailers

• Manufacturers

• Mature Driver Programs

• Registration Services

• Remanufacturers

• Traffic Violator Schools

• Transporters

• Vehicle Dealers (including Auto brokers)

• Vessel Agents

Please visit the DMV’s Web site at https://mv.dmv.ca.gov/olinq2/welcome.do to begin your search.

Q: I lost my title and can’t find the seller who sold me the vehicle. Can I do a lien sale?

A: No. You cannot conduct a lien sale on a vehicle in which you have a monetary interest. You must contact the prior seller to obtain a bill of sale. The Application for Duplicate Title (REG 227) can also be used by the registered owner as a releasing document when the original title has been lost, stolen or mutilated. To download this form, please visit www.dmv.ca.gov and click on the Forms tab.

Q: Where do I sign my vehicle title transfer? I find the form a little confusing.

A: The registered owner of a vehicle releases the title by signing and dating line 1 on the face of the title. The DMV’s Web site now has a video available that walks you through signing your vehicle transfer, step by step. To view the video, please visit www.dmv.ca.gov, and click on Vehicle Registration, Buying and Selling and finally on Video: Title Transfer – Where Do We Sign. This video is not only convenient, but ensures that your vehicle title is filled out accurately and completely. To save time, go online at www.dmv.ca.gov.

Remember to also report the sale online or complete a Release of Liability (Reg 138) as well to notify the department you have sold the vehicle and protect you against any liability for its use after the sale. 


George Valverde is the director of the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

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