A car lien holder is usually the financial institution you borrowed from to finance a car. We review what you can do to remove the lien if you need to sell the vehicle.
Find your lien holder information
Your preferred creditor is the lender who gave you a loan to buy the car. If you don’t know who the lien holder is, it could be as simple as removing the title from the vehicle. Car titles have the owner’s name and the lien holder information written on it.
If you don’t have the title, you may be in a title-holding state. The majority of states are, meaning the state holds title until the loan is paid in full.
If you want to know who the lien holder is but you don’t have the title, you can contact your local DMV or the Secretary of State (SOS) and give them your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), as well as the make and model.
Your VIN is usually located on the driver’s side dash where it meets the windshield, where it’s etched on a metal plate. It’s a unique sequence that only your car has. In some states, you can also request a replacement title from the DMV or SOS, for a fee.
Remove the title lien holder from your car
Privilege can be removed after the loan is repaid, and you cannot sell or transfer ownership to anyone until the lien is removed. This is because the lien holder, like you, has ownership rights to the vehicle. Until the loan is paid off, the car remains the property of the lender, as they loaned you the funds to purchase the vehicle. It also means that if you loan defaultor miss payments, the lien holder may take the car back.
Once you have paid for your vehicle, the lien is removed and you get a lien release letter from the lender. Once you have release, you are in the clear! You can either get a new title with the lien holder removed or keep the lien release letter with the car title.
If you haven’t repaid your auto loan and want to trade in or sell a vehicle, you need to ask the lender for a refund. This amount contains your remaining balance on the loan, and usually 10 days of additional interest (to give the lender time to receive the refund). Once you’ve secured payment, you or the buyer can write a check to the lender so the lien can be released. Once the lien is removed, ownership of the car can be transferred.
Looking to trade in your car?
Now that you know how to find out who your lien holder is, you can work towards successfully selling or trading in your vehicle. And if you have credit problems but need another car, we want to help!
AT Auto Express Credit, we connect borrowers with bad credit to specialist dealers who work with subprime lenders. These lenders use more than just a credit score to make lending decisions, and they help borrowers in all types of unique credit situations.
To get matched with a dealership with bad credit loan options, fill out our free form car loan application form. We will immediately look for a dealer in your area!