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1512 Technology Drive Ste 101, Chesapeake, VA 23320

Wisdom & Authority Title Solutions


Liens on Vehicles & Titles : Part One

Posted on May 25, 2011 at 10:09 AM
Vehicle Titling SolutionistYou bought a vehicle, but there's a lien on the title?  A lien? No, I don't have a lien I hear you saying. 
From my experience with titles, I often hear people say that they don't have a lien on their vehicle; but in reality a lien or multiple liens are present.  When some people think of a lien, they automatically think of a tax lien (on a home) or some sort of garnishment.  In the world of auto finance, a lien simply means that you are getting your vehicle financed, you are making payments on the vehicle and in essence you still owe a balance on your vehicle.  The following will provide you with some insight if A. you have a lien on your vehicle but shouldn't, B. You are a private seller of a vehicle and are accepting payment arrangements from the buyer of the vehicle
You Have a Lien on Your Vehicle But One Shouldn't Be Present: (Dealers Error)?
  • Though rare, but not unheard of; lien errors can occur in the titlework at the dealership where you bought your vehicle.  If you paid for your vehicle in full and on the spot, there shouldn't be a lien on your vehicle or on the title work.
  • If in fact an error is present, and your vehicle was paid in full, present your buyer's order and bill of sale to the title department and have them to give you a corrected title, or an MSO/MCO.  NOTE: This will take a few days because corrections must be made in the paperwork and through the DMV.
You Are a Private Seller of a Vehicle and Are Accepting Payment Arrangements From the Buyer of the Vehicle:
  • If you give the buyer the title to take to DMV (to get the vehicle titled in their name), that's fine, but if they owe on the vehicle, you owe it to yourself to put a lien on the title.
  • If a lien is on the title (the lienholder's name, address and sometimes stamp), shows that the vehicle isn't fully paid for and discourages others from "touching it" and getting involved in "title skipping" as well.
  • If the vehicle is being titled in the state of Virginia and a lien is present,  DMV will mail the title to the lienholder.
  • If you are due payments from a buyer that you sold a vehicle to, and you fail to put a lien on the title, then you put yourself at risk for financial loss of monies due you, and or the buyer of the vehicle can get a clear title in his or her name.
Check back for Liens on Vehicles & Titles: Part Two as Wisdom & Authority Titling Solutions gives you more lien advice regarding vehicles and titles.


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Reply Margretta
5:48 PM on June 13, 2012 
I found this information both helpful and useful. Somehow, I was unaware that a title is a legal document. I recently experience a negative situation involving the "wording"on my title. In an attempt to purchase license plates I was told that I was not the owner of my vehicle. Astonishly, mistakes where made by the dealership and Division of Motor Vehicles that indicated liens of Ford Motor Company and Lexus dealership were the ownwers. Who ever heard of Ford Motor Company selling a Lexus? My Lexus is totally paid off! However, at this point in time,I am being denied of the purchase of my license plates. Presently, I am driving my car with a bill of sales, expired license, plates, and incorrect liens. Where is the justice in this senario?
Reply Shanel White
9:10 PM on June 13, 2012 
Hi Margretta,

Thanks for your response. The bulk of the situation is that something went wrong with the title work at the dealership. You mentioned that a Lexus dealership and Ford Motor Company were involved. For simplicity is it fair to say that you purchased the vehicle from the Lexus Dealership (if not, which dealership)? If you paid for the vehicle upfront and in full, then there shouldn't have been a lien on the vehicle from the start, unless there is a second part to this story and you were refinancing the vehicle. I'm really curious though as to how Ford Motor Company got into the mix. In regards to your plates, technically the plates are to be registered to the "owner" of the vehicle. While you are waiting for your title work to be corrected at the dealership, you might want to ask them to supply you with temporary tags and registration. I hope this helps!
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