Question: Can I sell a car that is on PNO (planned non-operation) status in California?

Answer: Yes, technically. You can sell a car listed as PNO, but it cannot be parked on a public street or test driven.

If you plan on selling it to someone who will test drive it and drive it away from where you have it stored, you will need to take the PNO off. This requires that you register and insure the car, so that it is back on the road legally. In other words, selling a car isn't considered use of the car, but the activities related to selling the car may be considered use. The DMV notes specifically that if at any time the vehicle is operated or parked where it may be subject to citation, then full registration fees and penalties for that year become due.

You should contact the California DMV to find out what steps you should take to remove the PNO. If you will need to register, insure and smog your vehicle, remember to compare car insurance rates in California to find the best deal for the short time you need insurance before the vehicle is sold. Remember to tell the insurance provider that the mileage will be limited on the vehicle, which may allow you to get a low-mileage discount and bring down your rates even lower.