What is a Pink Slip for a Car? | Autance

Nearly everyone has seen a movie or television show where people decide to race each other for ownership of one…

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What is a Pink Slip for a Car? | Autance © What is a Pink Slip for a Car? | Autance

Nearly everyone has seen a movie or television show where people decide to race each other for ownership of one of the vehicles involved. The idea is that the loser has to sign their car over to the winner by handing over the car’s pink slip. That term has roots in reality, but it’s unlikely that many people today actually race each other “for pinks.”

The car’s pink slip is actually a very important part of its documentation, though it’s a not-so-glamorous document that just happened to be pink in color in some states at various points in history. Car Autance’ editors have not, in fact, raced each other for pinks to research this article, but we do know our way around a DMV. Let’s jump in to find out what pink slips are all about.

What Is a Pink Slip For a Car?

This is one situation when real life actually mirrors what happens in the movies. Your car’s “pink slip” is its title. The term came from the state of California, where titles were printed on pink paper up until the late 1980s. 

Throughout the years, many movies have depicted the act of “racing for pink slips,” which actually happened. Drivers would race each other for possession of the loser’s vehicle. The loser would be required to hand over the pink slip to the winning driver to pass ownership of the vehicle.

What’s Actually On The Pink Slip?

Even if your car’s title isn’t pink, the information contained on the document is fairly standard stuff:

  • Name of vehicle’s legal owner
  • Name of lender or lienholder
  • Name of registered owner
  • The VIN
  • Make, model, and production year
  • Car’s value or purchase price

Steps To Recover Lost Pink Slip

Losing your vehicle’s title is a big deal, but it’s not the end of the world. If you find yourself without a title, take these steps:

  • Start by researching your state’s DMV website. Most have helpful information on how and where you can get a new title printed.
  • If the website does not answer all of your questions, head to your local office for personal help.
    • To get a new title, you’ll need to gather all the information that you can about the vehicle, including registration and loan documents.
    • You might also be required to pay a fee for the issuance of a new title. This fee varies depending on the state.

To prevent losing the pink slip, you should avoid keeping it in the car’s glove box. Instead, keep it in a safe place at home where it can be accessed when needed to sell or service the vehicle. Some people even keep them in safety deposit boxes.

Car Autance’s Glossary for Pink Slips

Welcome to Autance school!


A vehicle’s registration is the document that ties it to a person for use on a roadway in a specific state. The license plate(s) and accompanying documentation are part of the registration.


A vehicle’s title is the document that shows who actually owns it. This can also be referred to as the pink slip. 


Insurance is a financial service that vehicle owners must have to protect themselves and others against property damage and physical harm due to an accident, theft, vandalism, or natural disaster. Vehicle insurance is required in most cases.


A state’s DMV, or Department of Motor Vehicles, handles everything from issuing driver’s licenses to vehicle registration. Some states have different names for the DMV, and the department may perform different tasks from state to state.

The Car Autance Questionnaire 

Car Autance answers all your burning questions!

Q: Can Someone Steal and Use My Pink Slip?

A: If you report the vehicle title stolen as soon as you realize it’s missing, there’s a great chance that it will stop the thief from forging your signature and trying to take ownership of the vehicle. If they do actually get through that process, you’ll need to contact law enforcement to take action to recover the vehicle.

Q: Is It Legal To Race For Pinks?

A: What are you, on television now? Despite what you may think from watching a reality show, it’s illegal to race for ownership of a vehicle in almost all circumstances. Not only that, it’s an incredibly stupid way to relieve yourself of a valuable asset.

Q: What If I Have A Loan On My Car?

A: In most cases, the lender (bank, credit union, etc.) will hold the title until you’ve finished paying for the vehicle. When that happens, you’ll receive the title in the mail, free and clear, once you’ve paid it off.

Video on Pink Slips And Car Titles

Car Autance’s Favorite Pink Slip Related Products

The world is full of products to help you store and access your vehicle’s title and related documents. That’s why we’ve chosen a few of our favorites to get you started. They include the Wisdompro Document Holder, the Canopus Registration Holder, and the Sterling Wallet Document Holder.

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