Buying or selling an ATV is serious business. They cost thousands, and it makes great sense to do your homework ahead of time. Buying or selling, it's critical to get the legal ownership bit right.\n\n\n\nATVs have titles. It's not uncommon for ATVs to change ownership without a title. However, some states require a title for an ATV, even for off-highway use. Title documents detail the ATV and its legal owner. Having title documents gives complete confidence to both buyer and seller when transacting.\n\n\n\nIn this post, you'll learn why buying or selling an ATV without a title can be a gamble. You'll also learn if you do choose to transact without title, the one document you'll need to minimize risk.\n\n\n\nUnfortunately, most older ATVs just don't have titles, never did, or long since lost. It's just the way it is. Attitude to the title is changing. However, newer ATVs are more likely to have titles.\n\n\n\nSo What Is Title\n\n\n\nThe title is a document that lists all the details of the vehicle, like make model, color, VIN (Vehicle Identification Number), etc., and most important details, the name, and address of the legal owner.\n\n\n\nThe title document is also known as the "Pink sheet," it is issued by the dept of motor vehicles (DMV) to the legal owner and is a recognized legal document.\n\n\n\nIf you hold the pink sheet in your name, you are the owner of the ATV and are free to sell, trade, or borrow against it.\n\n\n\nAdvantages & Disadvantages of Title\n\n\n\nMost guys might say, "I'm not using my ATV on the highway why should I get it titled?" But there are some real advantages to having a proper title.\n\n\n\nAdvantages of title include:\n\n\n\nYou can ride in parks that insist on titled ATV's onlyProves ownership in a legal disputeEasier to sellHas a higher valueEasier to insure - some insurance insist on title before quoting insuranceEasier to make a loss claim - some insurance won't pay out unless titledLegal to transport throughout all states\n\n\n\nDisadvantages include:\n\n\n\nPaperwork to fill outPaperwork to file and keep safeCosts of titlingOn going taxes in some statesCould be fined and have to pay back taxes in some states\n\n\n\nBuying Without Title\n\n\n\nOK, so you have found the ATV for you. She's excellent mechanically has a few mods, looks good, and is your kind of dollar. The last thing most buyers check is the title.\n\n\n\nBut, if you think about it, it should be the first thing we check. Hey, I'm guilty, too\u2026get all giddy with the thoughts of ownership.\n\n\n\nThe reason we don't pay too much attention to the paperwork, I suspect, is because we intend to use it off-road. But the title is important, and here's why - stolen bikes.\n\n\n\nStolen Bikes\n\n\n\nIf you're buying a bike without any paperwork, you are putting complete trust in a total stranger, and not just with your money but also with your liberty.\n\n\n\nA ton of ATVs are stolen every year because they are easy to steal and easy to sell. And that's because purchasers are prepared to buy without a title.\n\n\n\nConsider this. If a stolen bike is found in your possession, it will be seized by the police and given back to the rightful owner. You lose your money and bike but worse. You may be prosecuted for stealing it or trading in stolen property.\n\n\n\nDo you think I'm getting carried away here? I say no, this is a possible scenario, especially if you met the seller in a parking lot.\n\n\n\nAnother scenario rarely considered is a bank lien on the ATV. The ATV may indeed have a pink slip, but it's held by a moneylender against a loan outstanding.\n\n\n\nThe lien owner will have a better right to the ATV than you, and you'll get the crappy end of the stick on this one too.\n\n\n\nBill Of Sale\n\n\n\nI don't suspect every owner of an untitled ATV to be a thief. If I did, I'd have no customers in the workshop. And, if you know the owner of an ATV, you don't have to worry, but it still makes sense to get a BOS (Bill Of Sale).\n\n\n\nBut do protect yourself. If you're buying an ATV without a title, ask to see any receipts for work done over their ownership. Check the VIN against stolen bikes by ringing the local police station. And always insist on a bill of sale. It's simple to prepare ahead of time, either by the buyer or seller.\n\n\n\nTake a sheet of paper and list the following:\n\n\n\nSellers name and addressBuyers name and addressDate and placeATV makeVIN numberColourPriceReason for title docs not presentSigned by both parties each has a copy\n\n\n\nHaving a BOS won't prevent you from losing the bike if it turns out stolen, but at least you'll be protected from the suspicion of stealing it. \n\n\n\nCheck your potential purchase by running the VIN here at NICB.Org. It's free and instant.\n\n\n\nHow To Get Title\n\n\n\nIf you already own the bike and lost the title or have owned it from new and never titled it, you need to reapply to the DMV.\n\n\n\nAs you know, it's not the law in every state to have your ATV titled, and the process varies, so check with your local DMV for the status of ATVs for off-highway use.\n\n\n\nIf you recently purchased the ATV, you'll need a bill of sale (BOS), and it may need to be witnessed by a notary.\n\n\n\nThe vehicle will need to be inspected and VINs checked before the title is finalized.\n\n\n\nYou may find the following posts helpful:\n\n\n\nHow often should I service an ATV?\n\n\n\nDoes ATV tire width matter?\n\n\n\nCan ATV go in the water?