Out-of-State Replacement Car Title? (IL & CA)

Here’s the scenario that I’m trying to clear up. A friend of mine bought a car from her brother in San Fransisco (CA). She then moved to Chicago (IL) and brought the car with. Because it was family they were pretty lax about tracking down the title. Now the car resides in Illinois with her and she’s considering trading it in and buying a new car, but her brother is unable to find the title. According to her the car needs to have a CA smog check in order to get a new title issued in CA. And it doesn’t seem like IL is able to issue a new/replacement title for a used car that wasn’t bought in IL.

Right now it looks like the only solution is going to be driving the car cross country back to CA to get the smog check and new title in her name. Does she really need to get a Smog Check in CA to get a replacement title? I argued that there has to be an easier way, but based on some Googling it looks like that’s not the case. I figured as my last resort I’d ask the Dope.

Thoughts? Anyone deal with this type of situation? Rick, Gary or any other auto professionals have any insight into this type of problem?

That doesn’t sound right, has she called the CA DMV? (800) 777-0133

Vehicle REGISTRATION results in getting CA plates and the right of a CA resident to operate a vehicle. CA has some pretty strict emissions laws and they will not grant that right if the car isn’t up to snuff.

Vehicle TITLE is merely a certificate of ownership and has little to do with the drivability of the car. Yes, the title will sometimes reflect information stating that the car has been too badly damaged to ever be registered, but even then you will have a “Nonrebuildable” brand on the title.

Point being, CA should offer a title for pretty much any kind of car with nothing more than a title application, provided the car was titled in CA under the previous owner (i.e. her brother). At the very least, her brother should be able to apply for a “Duplicate” title. This is a simple matter of him going to the DMV and filling out a CA form REG 262, maybe paying a small admin fee. He then gets a paper title in his name which he can endorse and give to sis, who then takes the title to her IL DMV and proceeds to get herself a title.