Washington State University

Revised 9-12
Motor Pool
Purchasing Services
Risk Management

Vehicle Acquisition and Disposal

PDF link


This policy sets forth University requirements regarding the acquisition of vehicles.

In addition to acquisition of vehicles, this policy also establishes responsibilities and procedures which WSU departments must follow to ensure proper inventory tracking, maintenance, and disposal of University vehicles.

Cost/Benefit Analysis

Each department should consider performing a cost/benefit analysis before deciding whether or not to purchase or lease a vehicle. There are a number of options available, including monthly or annual vehicle rental from the Motor Pool. The cost/benefit analysis assists the department with determining which option is the most cost effective.

A Cost/Benefit Analysis form is available on 70.40.13. (Refer to the sample in the PDF version of 70.40.2.) The department may contact the Motor Pool Director and Purchasing Services to assist with this analysis.


The acquisition of all University vehicles is processed through Purchasing Services. (See below for vehicle definitions.) All vehicles with an expected cost over the direct buy limit are bid according to University policy or purchased on state contracts. See 70.10 and 70.13.

License and Title

WSU departments are responsible for obtaining applicable licenses and titles for vehicles, as required by the Washington State Department of Licensing. See below regarding license and title exceptions for farm equipment and heavy machinery. Departments must obtain licenses and titles through Purchasing Services.

WSU departments should refer to SPPM 7.10 concerning vehicle insurance.


University Vehicle

For the purposes of this policy, a University vehicle is any vehicle owned by the University or leased by duly-authorized University employees or departments. A University vehicle is used for official University business to transport people or property on roads, highways, waterways, or University property. See below and SPPM 7.10.

Motor Vehicles

Motor vehicles include any vehicle used on public highways, e.g., automobiles, trucks, vans, motorcycles.


Vessels include vehicles used on waterways, e.g., houseboats, motor boats, sailboats, jet skis, racing/rowing sculls.


Trailers include unpowered vehicles used for transporting vehicles, boats, equipment, or other items.


Aircraft include flying vehicles, e.g., small planes, small jets, helicopters.

Farm Equipment and Heavy Machinery

Farm equipment and heavy machinery include vehicles used in farm or construction operations, e.g., combines, tractors, hay bailers, cranes, backhoes.

NOTE: These vehicles may be used on open roads within 15 miles of the point of departure. If these vehicles travel more than 15 miles on the open road, departments must purchase a Farm Exempt decal with the vehicle license from the Department of Licensing.

The state of Washington does not require titles or licenses for many types of farm equipment and heavy machinery. However, if the acquisition cost is more than $5000, departments must add the equipment and/or machinery item into the University's Property Inventory system. See 20.50 and below.


Vehicles may be acquired through purchase, state or federal surplus, lease, or donation. Purchasing Services orders vehicles and establishes contracts for leased vehicles. The department sends an approved Departmental Requisition and the requested vehicle specifications to Purchasing Services.

Departments may not use purchasing cards or Department Orders to acquire vehicles.

New and Used Vehicles

A state contract offering a wide range of new vehicles is available.

To view the state contract, see the Department of Enterprise Services Contracts website at:


If the cost of a new vehicle is to be reduced by trade-in of a University-owned vehicle, the department must include the following information on the Departmental Requisition:

The Surplus Supervisor must approve all proposed vehicle and equipment trade-ins to ensure adequate trade-in value. See also 70.12 regarding trade-ins.

Surplus Vehicles

Federal and state surplus inventories may offer low-cost vehicles suitable for some departmental requirements. The department must send the approved Departmental Requisition or an e-mail from the authorized expenditure authority to Surplus Stores, which works with the department to acquire surplus vehicles.

The department must notify Property Inventory by e-mail or campus mail when acquiring a federal or state surplus vehicle. The department must include the following information in the written notice to Property Inventory:

Donated Vehicles

To acquire a donated vehicle, the department must complete a Noncash Gift Transmittal and Acknowledgement to report an in-kind gift. The department must obtain verification of the value of the vehicle from a car dealership or other appropriate valuation source.

The department routes copies of the Noncash Gift Transmittal form and the vehicle value verification to the Gift Accounting division of the WSU Foundation and the Property Inventory Section of the Controller's Office. See 30.70 for gift transmittal form instructions.

Property Inventory

All licensed vehicles must be added into the University's Property Inventory system and affixed with an inventory number tag, regardless of cost. All vehicles, farm equipment, and heavy machinery with an acquisition cost that exceeds $5000 must be inventoried and tagged. See 20.50 and below.

Title and License Overview

The department must apply for the title and license, if required by the Washington State Department of Licensing, as soon as vehicle is received. The department must submit all documentation pertaining to the purchase to Purchasing Services with a Departmental Requisition to cover the title and license costs. (See 70.10.)

Purchasing Services reviews and ensures that all submitted paperwork is complete and issues a check payable to the Department of Licensing (DOL). The department takes the check to the DOL and obtains the license and registration.

See below regarding the procedures for completing the required documents to obtain the title.

Titling and Exempt Licensing

As a state agency, the University is exempt from paying annual licensing fees on most vehicles. Contact Risk Management Services for exceptions. License plates issued to the University indicate exempt status. The license fee and any related charges are one-time costs.


To apply for vehicle titles, departments must complete and submit the following documents, as appropriate, to the offices indicated below.

All Vehicles

Departmental Requisition

A departmental representative sends a completed Departmental Requisition to Purchasing Services along with any other pertinent documents indicated in this section.

See 70.10 for general instructions regarding the Departmental Requisition form. See the PDF version of 70.40.7 for a completed example.

Under Item, include the vehicle identification number (VIN), year, make, model, and original purchase order number.

Under Vendor Names, indicate the Department of Licensing.

Contact Purchasing Services for the current schedule of fees and related charges.

Vehicle Title Application

The department must complete and submit a Vehicle Certificate of Ownership (Title) Application to Purchasing Services. The vendor usually provides the title application. If not, the department may obtain a blank application from Purchasing Services or from the DOL website at:


If the University owns the vehicle, enter Washington State University in the first Name field under New registered owner and Risk Management/Department name in the second Name field. ("Department name" is the name of the department that purchases and includes the vehicle on the departmental property inventory list.) Enter the University's UBI number (385000328) under First owner's Washington driver license, ID card, or UBI number. In the Name field under New legal owner or lienholder, place the words "SAME AS ABOVE." See example below.

Review the title application prepared by the vendor to ensure that it lists the required information correctly, including the purchasing department name. Purchasing Services must review, sign, and have all title applications notarized.

To view a sample title application, see the PDF version of 70.40.6.

Other Documents

Submit the following additional documents to Purchasing Services with the Departmental Requisition:

NOTE: The MSO, the odometer certification, a vendor's invoice, and the title application usually come with the vehicle.

To view a sample Departmental Requisition, see the PDF version of 70.40.7.

Non-Pullman Departments

Non-Pullman departments may file title applications at local area licensing offices if the department presents the following documentation:

Used Out-of-State Vehicle

In addition to the required documentation described above, a used out-of-state vehicle purchase requires an inspection in order to complete the title application process. The Washington State Patrol must inspect the vehicle. NOTE: New vehicles do not need to be inspected.

The department adds the inspection fee to the Departmental Requisition. Inspection must occur before licensing, but the inspection fee is paid at the same time as the licensing fee.

Surplus Vehicles

State Surplus Property Documents

To title State Surplus Property acquired through Surplus Stores, the department completes and submits to Purchasing Services all documents received from Surplus Stores.

Declaration of Use Tax

Purchasing Services obtains a Declaration of Use Tax form from the Department of Revenue to request exemption from the requirement to pay state sales/use tax. Purchasing Services completes the form and submits it to the Department of Revenue.

Federal Excess Property

Surplus Stores Documents

To title Federal Excess Property acquired through Surplus Stores, the department completes and submits to Purchasing Services all documents received from Surplus Stores.

Declaration of Use Tax

Purchasing Services completes and submits a Declaration of Use Tax form to the Department of Revenue. See above.

Federal Agency Issue Document

The department submits the issue document received from the federal agency to Purchasing Services. (See 20.78 for more about federal excess property.)

Title Application

On the Vehicle Certificate of Ownership (Title) Application enter:

("Department" is the name of the department that purchases and includes the vehicle on the departmental property inventory list.)

Donated Vehicles

To title a donated vehicle, submit documentation to Purchasing Services from a car dealership or other appropriate valuation source verifying the value of the vehicle.

NOTE: The department must complete gift transmittal documentation as indicated above for each donated vehicle.

Other Modes of Transportation

Contact Purchasing Services for additional instructions on titling and licensing aircraft or other modes of transportation not addressed above.



Pullman Locations

For Pullman units, a department representative picks up the check for the license fees and related charges from Purchasing Services, French 220.

The department representative delivers the check and applicable documentation (see below) to the Department of Licensing (DOL) in person.

Non-Pullman Locations

For non-Pullman units, the responsible department representative processes payment for the license fees and related charges. He or she delivers the payment with all applicable and required documentation (see below) to the Department of Licensing (DOL) in person.


The departmental representative delivers the following items to the Department of Licensing in person:

If applicable, the departmental representative also takes the inspection slip and/or the Declaration of Use Tax form. See above and above.

Department of Licensing

Whitman County

In Whitman County, Department of Licensing offices are located at:

Outside Whitman County

Departments located outside Whitman County contact the local office of the state of Washington Department of Licensing.


The Department of Licensing provides the departmental representative with the vehicle license plates and the vehicle registration.

Securely attach the license plates to the vehicle. NOTE: Do not move plates from one vehicle to another.

Immediately submit copies of the Department of Licensing's Certificate of Registration to Purchasing Services.

Place the original Certificate of Registration inside the vehicle glove compartment, along with the vehicle accident forms. See SPPM 7.20 for vehicle accident form requirements.


The state of Washington Department of Licensing sends the vehicle title to the legal owner (WSU Risk Management Services, federal agency, or other) for filing.

Risk Management Services maintains the titles for all University vehicles.


The Property Inventory Section of the Controller's Office updates the University's AIS Property Inventory Application when it receives notification of acquisition or transfer of a vehicle. See 20.50 for property inventory procedures.

All licensed University vehicles, regardless of cost, and all farm equipment and heavy machinery with an acquisition cost that exceeds $5000 must be tagged and inventoried.

Vehicle Inventory System

Once Property Inventory updates the Property Inventory Application, the information appears in the Vehicle Information System.

Risk Management Services maintains the Vehicle Information System database.

Inventory Tags

Property Inventory issues the department a Property Inventory Card and inventory tag after entering the information into the system.

Departmental personnel are to secure the tag to the inside of the driver's door post.


Contact Risk Management Services with questions regarding the titling of University vehicles.


Contact Risk Management Services to determine if insurance is required on the vehicle. See SPPM 7.10.


Before selling, transferring, trading in, dismantling for parts, or otherwise disposing of a vehicle, the department must notify Surplus Stores and complete the required documents. See 20.76 for proper disposal procedures. When a vehicle is sold, transferred, or disposed of, the transferring department must formally notify the Property Inventory Division.

Surplus Stores notifies Risk Management Services of sold vehicles. Purchasing Services notifies Risk Management Services of trade-ins.

See 20.76 for procedures and required documentation to dispose of a motor vehicle.

See 20.80 for procedures and required documentation to sell a motor vehicle to another WSU department.

See 70.12 regarding trading in a vehicle.

See 20.50 for additional procedures for handling University property.

See the PDF form:
70.40.13: Cost/Benefit Analysis
Complete and/or print as needed.