Transferring Your Car Ownership in Singapore: Step-by-Step Guide

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Whether you’re doing it as a gift to someone or to give up the wheels altogether, the following ensures a seamless transition.

Maybe your green guilt has caught up with your polluting ways and you’re looking to switch to an electric car. Or maybe you’ve decided to give up driving altogether in favour of more eco-friendly ways to get around. In any case, you’re looking to transfer ownership of your vehicle to another driver who will love it just as you do.

Here’s everything you need to know about transferring ownership of your car in Singapore. 

Things to note before transferring your car

Transferring car ownership in Singapore is a relatively simple affair, with only a few criteria to fulfill. You can even easily carry out the transfer yourself using online tools, as long as both parties have SingPass or CorpPass.

Here’s what you should take note of if you’re looking to transfer your car to another party. 

  1. Cars to be transferred should not be under financing. All outstanding fees, taxes, fines and such must be paid up.
  2. Cars registered under COE Categories A (up to 1600 cc & 97kW) or B (anything over) must be at least 3 months old before ownership can be transferred.
  3. Cars between 4 and 6 months old may incur an additional levy, payable by the party taking over. This additional levy will apply in cases where the COE was lower than the COE at the time of transfer. 
  4. Once initiated, both parties have a maximum of 7 days to complete the transfer.
  5. You can perform the transfer online with SingPass or CorpPass, or by filling out a form. 

Step-by-step guide to transferring your car

Now that you’ve got a grasp on what’s involved in transferring your ownership, follow this step-by-step guide for a detailed look at the entire process. 

Under normal circumstances, transferring your ownership comes as part of selling your car, so that is the context within which we will discuss the procedure. Of course, it is entirely possible to gift someone else your car, in this case, skip directly to Step 3. 

Step 1: Find a buyer or party to accept your car

The first step in transferring your car ownership is to find a buyer for your car. You can choose to work with a car dealer to help you sell your car, or find a buyer yourself. There are pros and cons to each option. 

For car dealers, the main advantage they can offer is the ability to pay off your outstanding car loan for you when putting your car on the market. Your outstanding loan will then be deducted from the final selling price of your car. Car dealers may also have a ready pool of buyers for certain models, which may result in a quicker sale. 

However, it is almost a given that dealers will take a sales commission to cover their services. Be sure to shop around for the best package before committing to a dealer. If your model is a specialised one, your best bet may be to go with a licensed dealer familiar with that model. For extra peace of mind, choose dealers with CASETRUST-SVTA certification. 

If you choose to find your own buyer, there are many channels to do so. Take your pick from online car forums such as sgCarMart.com, OneShift.com, carro.sg, stcars.sg and more to find a suitable buyer for your car. 

While you’ll be able to sidestep dealer commission fees this way, you’ll also have to take the time and trouble to hold viewing and test drive sessions with potential buyers. Also, you may be drawn into haggling by bargain hunters, which can be stressful if you’re not comfortable with that.

Step 2: Clear any outstanding loans or fees

Once you’ve found someone who’s agreed to take over ownership of your car, the next step is to clear any outstanding loans or fees. This is because of LTA regulations that stipulate a car must be clear of financial issues before ownership may be transferred. 

This means paying up the remainder of your car loan, if any (or having the dealer pay it up for you), and settling any outstanding fines, taxes, arrears or fees. 

Step 3: Perform the transfer (online or filling a form)

Before you initiate the transfer, as the owner of the car, you need to decide if you are going to keep your car license plate number. If you are keeping it, you must apply to do so before you transfer the ownership. 

Once both you and the buyer are ready to transfer the car’s ownership, you may do so in one of two ways. 

  1. Online via SingPass or CorpPass, or
  2. At the LTA Customer Service Centre 

Method 1 is by far the more convenient way to do the transfer, and is eligible for the vast majority of car owners. The only exceptions are if you’re trying to transfer ownership of a diplomatic car, or a vehicle that is registered to a deceased owner. In both these cases, Method 2 applies.

Here’s a handy little video that illustrates how Method 1 works. 

But in case you can’t view the video, here’s a quick summary of the steps involved:

  • Initiate the vehicle transfer at onemotoring.com.sg. You’ll need the vehicle’s registration number, next owner’s NRIC, FIN or company registration number as well as mobile number.
  • The next owner will receive an SMS informing them of the transfer. They have 5 days to confirm the transfer of the ownership.
  • The next owner should log in to onemotoring.com.sg to accept the ownership transfer. They will also need to pay a $25 fee. 
  • An SMS will be sent to both parties once the vehicle ownership has been successfully transferred.
  • You should then arrange to deliver the car keys to the next owner. 

For buyers: What to look out for before taking over the car 

While the process of transferring ownership is simple, there are some things you should take note of before committing to taking over a pre-owned car. Being clear about the following can help ensure a stress-free transfer. 

Taxes and rebates 

Any taxes paid and rebates the vehicle is eligible for will be transferred along with the ownership of the car. This includes any remaining road tax and PARF/COE rebates, although the seller may ask you to compensate for them.

Motor insurance

You must have valid motor insurance under your name, covering the full period of your vehicle’s valid road tax.

Additional levy

As mentioned above, you may have to pay an additional levy if the car you are taking over is between 4 and 6 months old. This additional levy will apply in cases where the COE was lower than the COE at the time of transfer.

Engine and chassis

To prevent fraud or possible future problems, check that the engine and chassis number of the car you are taking over matches LTA’s records. 

Verify the transfer

Upon completion of the transfer, remember to verify the transfer by checking that the vehicle is now registered under your name. You should also look out for letter and SMS confirmation from the LTA upon the completion of the transfer. 

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By Alevin Chan
An ex-Financial Planner with a curiosity about what makes people tick, Alevin’s mission is to help readers understand the psychology of money. He’s also on an ongoing quest to optimise happiness and enjoyment in his life.