What is a Car Lien?

Key Takeaways

  • A lien is the right to possess property belonging to another person until the borrowed amount is paid back. The lienholder in the case of a vehicle lien is typically your auto loan lender.
  • If you’re planning to sell your car and it has a lien on it, there may be a few extra steps to take in order to sell your vehicle.
  • If you’re planning to buy a car from a private seller, be sure to check the vehicle’s lien status before making the purchase to ensure ownership can be transferred to you.


      • Fast Cash Today • Any Car, Any Year • High Approval Rates • Past Bankruptcies & Bad Credit OK • You Can Keep Driving Your Car •

      car lein for new car buyer

      What You Need to Know about Car Liens

      A car lien is your lender’s, or lien holder’s, legal right to possess your financed vehicle until the debt is paid back in full. If you took out a loan when you purchased your vehicle, you’ll have a lien on it until you pay off the borrowed amount.

      A lien may also be put on your vehicle if you borrowed money against it for repairs, used your vehicle as collateral to get a loan, or you owe money for fines or unpaid parking tickets. From a legal standpoint, you don’t have full ownership rights to your vehicle until you pay off the borrowed amount and the lien is removed.


      How Do I Get a Title for a Car With a Lien (in Most States)?

      Once you make your final loan payment, your lien will be released. You’ll either be notified by proof sent by your lender or it will be released electronically if your state and lender have an electronic lien and title program.

       Here are the steps involved in getting a vehicle title with a lien:


      Step 1: Understand the Lien Status

      It’s important to know the exact nature of the vehicle’s lien. A vehicle may have a lien due to an outstanding loan, unpaid repairs, parking tickets, or other financial obligations.


      Step 2: Contact the Lienholder

      Contact the financial institution or individual who placed the lien on the vehicle. The lienholder could be a credit union, bank, or private lender.


      Step 3: Pay Off the Lien

      Work with the lienholder to determine the best way to pay off the borrowed amount or debt. This could involve a payment arrangement or negotiating a payoff amount.


      Step 4: Obtain a Release of Lien

      Once the owed amount is paid off, you’ll need to request a release of lien form from the lienholder. This document confirms the car lien has been released.


      Step 5: Submit Documentation to the DMV

      Gather all necessary documents, including vehicle registration, proof of ID, and release of lien documents, then visit your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).


      Step 6: Complete Title Application

      At the DMV, you’ll need to fill out the application for a new title and provide all required information and documents needed, such as proof of insurance or emissions testing if applicable.


      Step 7: Pay Fees

      There may be fees involved for transferring your title and registration. Fees vary by state, but they may include taxes, processing fees, or other charges.


      Step 8: Wait for Processing

      The DMV will need time to process your application and verify the lien release. The DMV’s workload and any additional requirements may impact the processing time.


      Step 7: Receive the Title

      Once the DMV approves and processes your application, you’ll receive the new title for your vehicle. Your new title will reflect the car’s lien has been lifted.


      Step 8: Update Vehicle Records

      Make sure your insurance, registration, and all other vehicle records are updated with your new title information. This will help you avoid any future issues.


      Step 9: Store Documents Safely

      Make copies of all documents related to the lien release and title transfer and keep them in a safe, accessible place. You may need to reference these documents in the future if you decide to sell your vehicle.


      Step 10: Verify Title Accuracy

      Check over the new title carefully and note that all the information is correct. This includes the vehicle identification number (VIN) and owner details. If you see any errors, notify the DMV immediately.


      If you have a title loan or title pawn with another company, Auto Money may pay it off at a lower interest rate!



      Who holds a lien on a car?

      The individual or institution that holds the lien on your car is called the lienholder and is typically your auto loan lender. Depending on your state’s laws, your lienholder will file your lien with the DMV or state’s transportation agency.

      In some states, a mechanic may also be able to place a lien on a vehicle if they perform work and are not paid for that work within a specific amount of time.

      Where can I go to get information on a specific vehicle lien?

      It’s important to know the status of a vehicle’s lien before you purchase it from a private seller.

      Here’s how you can do this:

      • Check with your state’s DMV or transportation agency. Some states allow online lien searches using the vehicle identification number (VIN). You can locate this 17-digit number on the lower left side of a car’s windshield, inside the hood, on the engine, or where the driver’s side door closes. You may also find this number on the vehicle’s registration card and insurance documents.
      • Look at the vehicle’s title. If there’s a lien, the title might have the lienholder listed.
      • Get a vehicle history report. This report can provide a lien history and other key vehicle information, like previous owners or major damage. Vehicle history report providers include the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System, Autocheck and Carfax.
      What happens if I want to sell my car but don't own the title yet?

      If you’re looking to sell your vehicle and it isn’t paid off, you’ll likely have to pay off the outstanding loan to get the title transferred to you. Then, you can transfer the title to the new buyer.

      If you live in a non-title-holding state, you will have possession of your title, not the lienholder. In some states, the lienholder’s information may be listed on the title, and it may require specific actions to release the lien once you’ve satisfied your loan.

      If you need to sell your vehicle and can’t afford to pay off the loan, talk to your lienholder. The potential buyer may be able to make a check out to the lienholder for your loan’s remaining amount to transfer the title.

      What happens to the title if I buy a used car from a private seller?

      If you’re purchasing a used vehicle from a private seller who doesn’t own the car outright, typically, you won’t be able to get the title until the seller pays off the borrowed amount and the lienholder transfers the title.

      How do I get a lien removed after paying off my vehicle?

      After you’ve paid off your car loan, obtain a vehicle title lien release from your lender to get the DMV to transfer the title to your name.

      Why choose Auto Money?

      Simple. Because we care about our customers. We understand that unexpected situations arise that require cash in a hurry – and they don’t always coincide with your payday!

      At Auto Money, everyday can be a payday! We get you the cash you need fast so you can pay bills, home repairs, auto repairs or whatever else life throws at you.

      Over 80+ locations in the Southeast, you get the most cash for your title and you keep your car. Plus, you’re instantly approved, regardless of your credit! Inquire now!

      title loan salesperson offering money

      Need Fast Cash for Last Minute Expenses? Get Same Day Cash at Auto Money Today!


      Auto Repairs, Wedding Expenses, Healthcare Bills, Home Fixes, etc.

      Auto Money Can Help with a Fast Cash Loan Quicker Than Traditional Bank!

      Auto Money is always here to help, so don’t hesitate to reach out. Whether you need guidance on budgeting or fast cash after an emergency, our team is standing by. We’re proud to serve our local communities, and to offer the money you need when you need it most – faster than traditional banks and other lenders! To get started, visit an Auto Money location near you today!


      auto money stores, title loan near me, title pawn near me,


      Ashley W.

      Amazing customer service and very sweet employees. They helped me through the process for the first time and was able to get me as much as they could so great full to them.

      Lakisha S.

      I came in asking for a certain amount & they met that price. Very nice, very professional. Even gave my children a snack. Highly recommend them. 

      Shannon B.

      Great service! Appreciate Amanda for all her help!

      Zackary L.

      Great crew, great people. Wish I could give 10 stars!

      Donte H.

      I came in when the store was about to close, but the ladies at the store stayed after their shift and assisted us with such kindness. They were very courteous. Please go see them at the north main location.

      Brittney A.

      Amazing customer service. Made me feel right at home. Easy to communicate with and Shaina is the BEST and QUICKEST to go to. In and out in about 45 mins.

      Stanton M.

      Good people to do business with.


      Shatasia S.

      Only place I will ever come and get a title loan. Quick, Easy and Honest.


      • Fast Cash Today • Any Car, Any Year • High Approval Rates • Past Bankruptcies & Bad Credit OK • You Can Keep Driving Your Car •


      If you have a title loan or title pawn with another company, Auto Money may pay it off at a lower interest rate!


      Title Loans in South Carolina

      A title loan is a quick and easy way to get the cash you need, using your vehicle’s title for collateral instead of your credit score. The amount will be determined by our expert appraisers. Auto Money offers competitive interest rates and gives you the most money for your title with instant approval. And the best part is, you get to keep driving your vehicle!

      SC Consumer Loans: Your Rights and Responsibilities

      Disclaimer: This is a high interest loan. You should go to another source if you have the ability to borrow at a lower rate of interest. You are placing your vehicle at risk if you default on this loan.

      Title Pawns in Georgia

      A title pawn is a quick and easy way to get the cash you need, using your vehicle’s title as collateral towards borrowing money. At our Georgia Auto Money stores, you have 30 days to repay the title pawn. If you are unable to pay off the balance within 30 days, Auto Money’s professional and courteous staff is available to discuss repayment options with you.

      Title Loans in North Carolina

      Disclaimer: At Auto Money, we uphold all federal and state laws related to Title Loans. Title loan transactions are prohibited within the state of North Carolina.

      Disclosure: This website is a solicitation for an auto title loan or pawn. This solicitation is not a unilateral contract or a guaranteed offer. All title loans and title pawns and the amount of the title loans or title pawns are subject to Auto Money’s approval that is contingent on several underwriting factors such as a completed loan or pawn application, your employment status, monthly income, and a vehicle evaluation.

      * $20,000 instant approval loan or pawn amount is the maximum an applicant can receive. Actual amount of title loan or title pawn is subject to vehicle appraisal by an Auto Money employee and a complete application is required to be submitted and approved in-person by the party requesting a title loan or title pawn. Certain limitations apply. All title loans or title pawns issued by Auto Money are subject to the customer’s ability to repay the title loan or title pawn.

      ** www.automoneytitle.com is not an online lender. Applications are not processed or approved online. Personal information other than resumes that you submit to this website is an inquiry to receive more information regarding a title loan or title pawn from Auto Money. Any information you submit to this website will be forwarded to the Auto Money office closest to the ZIP code you have provided for the purposes of contacting you about a title loan or title pawn. Once your information is received and processed, you will be contacted by an Auto Money representative. Submitting your application is an agreement to be contacted by a member of our staff.

      To see more of our Terms & Conditions, click here. For any further details, speak with us directly in-store