If you want to try the Vermont route, use the search button above and search for How to Vermont title. You'll get a post that I wrote up.
I just got finished registering a scoot with the California DMV and its an absolute bitch. My story is I bought an old scooter cash with just a bill of sale on March 7th. The owner had lost the paperwork and it checked out as not stolen. So I paid the cash, started the paperwork and documented what you need to do for the future. This is not an easy or fast process, but read this before you go buy a new scoot and need to register it in California. Im finally done with this two months later FYI.
If you're a Triple A member, some offices will do the initial DMV paperwork portion of this for you. I've had luck in the past at my local office but something has changed and they now only do the paperwork part of this, but the inspections you'll still have to go to the DMV and CHP. Call ahead and see what they'll do.
BEFORE YOU GO BUY THE SCOOT
Step 1. Go to the California DMV's website and schedule an appointment for a future date. This will save you time at the DMV instead of walking up and dealing with all the last minute unfortunate souls. If you don't want to do this, I recommend going to a DMV way the hell out in the middle of nowhere thats not going to be busy. Dont try to expect quick or friendly service at a DMV in a major city!
Step 2. Get the vin and go to your local Police station and ask them to check the vin to see if its stolen. If you buy a stolen scooter and try to register it, they will collect it from you and report it back to the last known owner and you will not get any money or scooter back.
Step 3. Take the VIN to your local DMV or AAA office and ask if any back fees are owed on the scooter. Liens, unpaid tickets and back registration fees all transfer with the scooter. If the previous owner didnt pay his fees its you're problem now! The DMV will make you pay for them regardless. You might be able to talk the fees down, but you will have to pay them before you can even get this legal!
Step 4. All the above look good? Time to print out forms Reg 135 (Bill of Sale) and forms Reg 256 (Statement of Facts). Take these down with you when you go buy the scooter. I had a cool seller nearby who I was able to stay in touch with and see after the fact, but not everyone will have that luxury if the DMV says they need more signatures and your seller has moved on.
Step 5. Buy the scooter and have the seller fill out the Bill of Sale and Statement of Facts. Have them include why there's no paperwork, how long they've owned it, sale price, how they acquired it and any other details pertinent to the condition of the sale. Since the DMV will charge sales tax on the purchase price of the scoot, nows a good time to figure out with the seller if they're willing to lie about the sale price on paper so you don't get taxed a shit load.
Step 6. Fill out a Statement of Facts form for yourself and again put who, how, why, when, AND the key words "it has not been ridden on highways and has been in storage." If they find out someone was riding this and the registration hasnt been paid they will freak.
Step 7. Fill out form REG 31 Application for Title or Registration. Fill out the Sections per the image below and only those sections. Look closely at Section 5. Date entered or will Enter California. I put Unknown for the date entered since the seller had no paperwork, and for date first operated I put the sale date. Then the date vehicle was purchased or aquired I put the sale date that matches the Bill of Sale and Statement of Facts.
Step 8. Load the scooter up and take it to the AAA office OR DMV and present all your paperwork to them. They will go through your paperwork and ask you some questions, have you fix any problems on the forms, charge you for processing fees, a years worth of registration and whatever bullshit taxes and fees the state charges (I had to pay $94).
Step 9. Go see the VIN inspector at the DMV. He'll ask you to show him -VIN in two spots (frame and legshield)
-engine serial number
-Vehicle Emissions Information Sticker (mine didnt have it so I had to argue with them and say its an old scooter and they never came with them)
-Possibly more depending how much of a dick the inspector is.
Then they'll send you back inside the DMV for some more paperwork checking and they will fill out a portion of Form REG 124 Application for Assigned Vehicle Identification Number Plate. Its a 3 page carbon copy form that you fill out part of, the DMV fills out the middle and then you take the rest to CHP. Since youre going to be operating your scooter on the roads, CHP is in charge of that so you need to make them happy.
Step 9. Go immediately to the CHP office and try to get a VIN inspection. If the office is busy, you might have to make an appointment for a later date. My local office wouldnt let me schedule an appointment without the Reg 124 so once I had it, my wait time was a month and a half. If you have the option, go to a less crowded CHP office and see if you can get a quicker VIN inspection appointment.
Step 10. Get a DMV appointment or AAA office shortly after your future CHP inspection so you get this whole process over.
Step 11. Take the scooter and all your paperwork to CHP. Show the inspecting officer the Reg 124 form and be polite and answer any questions. Be cool in case they find problems with missing shit. They sadly have all the power and could make your registering problems a bitch. They might take pics to aid in the paperwork process but once the inspections done they'll go in the office and make you wait a half hour while they fill out paperwork and look up stuff. Fingers crossed you get your paperwork and bail.
Step 12. Go back to DMV or AAA with all your paperwork and present them with it. They'll inspect it all and do the usual DMV process and give you either a physical license plate, license plate stickers, temporary registration paperwork or tell you its all in the mail and you'll receive it soon.
Then wait a few weeks and you'll get your pink slip separate from the license plate.
Thats it. Its a real bitch with a lot of back and forth. It took me over two months and I had some professional help with this one. If you're going in blind its gonna be even more of a hassle. If you have any problems during this entire process you might want to check out how to get a Vermont title instead and save yourself the hassle of having a California title.
How to Guide- Apply for a Vermont plate
⚠️ Last edited by MJRally on UTC; edited 1 time