03 October 2015

Fun with Vehicle Titles

My wife and I drove her Z4 M Coupe to retrieve LC61037 and drove the 2 coupes across back roads of Georgia to get home.  Great driving and lots of fun.  After we got back to South Carolina, I went to the DMV to register the “new” car and get plates.  First stop was at the county auditors office to pay vehicle taxes.  On my 08 M3, these are close to $350 per year.  About $300 for the Z4 M Coupe.  Not cool.  LC61037’s taxes came to a whopping $10.11.  For the whole year.  I was thrilled.  Apparently in SC, once a car is 15 years old or more, the taxes go way down.  So far so good in the registration process.

Next step was across the hall at the DMV.  When I finally get to the counter, all is going well.  The teller notes the original Alabama title says “Exempt” under the odometer field on the front of the title.  “OK, what does that mean?”  “It means we don’t need to know the mileage and we don't track it.”  I come to find out that in Alabama, and many other states, once a car is 10 years old, they stop recording the odometer reading when you title it.  Fine.  Then she looks at the back of the title.  “This box is checked" she says.  That doesn't sound good and I start to prepare for DMV Argument Mode.  I look and “odometer in excess of mechanical limits” is checked on the back of the Alabama title.  The seller must have checked it and this is a mistake, for sure.  It’s easy to make a mistake when selling a car… it’s not like us regular people deal with motor vehicle titles on a regular basis.  But, I cannot correct it now.  I cannot white it out or cross it out.  I don’t know what will happen with that.  On the South Carolina title application, I did not check any of the odometer boxes.

I wrote back to the seller.  As I have mentioned before, he is an enthusiast and that showed when I wrote to him.  He apologized profusely and offered to send a notarized letter explaining the mistake.  He offered to try to get a new Alabama title.  I don’t think a new title in needed, but I’d like to have a notarized letter for my records of this car.  So there is my DMV/title drama.  Hopefully I don't have to revisit this topic or post an update with more drama!!

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