How to Turn Over a Car Title When Someone Has a Lien on it


Turning over a car title with a lien does not relieve you from the loan outstanding on the car. If you are selling a car (and handing the title to the new owner), the purchase price must cover the full amount due on the car loan. If not, you'll need to cover the shortfall--the amount leftover after the purchase price is applied to the loan. In either case, a lien must be paid and removed before transfer of ownership can occur.

Things You'll Need

  • Loan statement
  • Car title
  • Review the car title if you have it in your possession. This will likely occur if you have a title loan, not an auto loan. Contact your auto lender to discuss the liens outstanding on your car title. Likely the only lien is your auto loan.

  • Ask the person receiving the title to cover the lien on the title. If you are selling the car, you'll need to obtain a payoff statement from your lender and list the purchase price of the vehicle accordingly. Make sure you have some funds to cover any shortfall, if applicable.

  • Return the car and the title if you are surrendering the vehicle to your lender or dealer. While they will accept them, it will not release you from the loan obligation. You'll need to continue making payments until the loan is paid in full.

  • Request a payoff statement on any title loan, if that is the lien on the title. Title loans are short-term, high-interest accounts offered by payday-type lenders. These lenders will give you a loan and secure it with a lien on your car title. To remove this lien, you'll need to pay the balance in full.

  • Hand over the title and the vehicle to a son or daughter with a lien still on it. This will give him or her access to the vehicle, but you will still be obligated to the loan on the title, and you will still be the legal owner of the vehicle.

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