Just yesterday I was asked how to document the sale of a used car to a third person and what words to use to limit the seller's liability. The Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles has a vehicle Bill of Sale form that is helpful. Other states probably have created similar bills of sale. The Oregon Bill of Sale has spaces for the names of the parties and for information to identify the vehicle. It also uses language to transfer ownership of the vehicle to the buyer.
The Oregon Bill of Sale form is sufficient with one exception, you need language to protect you as seller from liability to the buyer. There are key words you can use. Those words are:
Sold AS IS, WHERE IS, WITH ALL FAULTS
This language is self explanatory. It puts the other party on notice that there are no warranties of any kind.
This disclaimer language does not, however, mean that you can mislead the buyer about the vehicle. If a question is asked, you need to answer it. Bill Clinton type answers probably will not work. If you have answered questions truthfully, not made any misstatements about the vehicle and do not know of any serious problems, the language used above should help you if the vehicle falls apart ten yards from your driveway or ten years later.
We have revised the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles' Bill of Sale form to include the disclaimer language discussed above. The next time you sell a used car, go to our Client Downloads Page to download the form we revised at no charge.
I wish you luck the next time you sell a used vehicle.