A Complete Guide to Car Titles

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Car Titles

When you are selling or buying a vehicle, the title is an essential part of that transaction. A car’s title can tell you what that car has endured and if it is defective. There are several types of titles out there that your vehicle may have.

We know car titles are one of the most important documents that a vehicle owner can possess. But how do they work?

Keep reading to find out.

Table of Contents

What Are Car Titles?

A car title’s primary purpose is to identify the legal owner of a vehicle. This may be a physical piece of paper that you keep in a safe place or an electronic document.

Without your car’s title, you have no proof that your vehicle is yours. It is vital to have if your car is stolen, impounded, used illegally before or after you bought it, or you want to sell it.

What Information Is on Vehicle Titles?

Car titles state who the legal owner of the vehicle is.

On your car’s title, you can also find other information, including the following:

  • The car’s make, model, colour, and year
  • The lienholder
  • The odometer reading at the time of sale
  • The owner and owner’s address
  • The title’s issue date
  • The vehicle identification number, also known as the VIN

All this is essential information you need when buying or selling a car. Your car title may have more or less information depending on the year it was issued and the state you live in.

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Many states will require that the title says if the car has flood damage or if the vehicle was salvaged. Yet, some do not.

How Does a Certificate of Title Work?

When you buy a new car, you must submit your information to the DMV to receive a valid title. But, if you are purchasing a used car, you must be sure to get the car’s title from the seller.

To transfer a used car title into your name, you will still need to go through the correct DMV channels.

What Types of Titles Are There?

There are multiple types of car titles depending on the damage a vehicle has endured. This complete guide will go over a few of these different titles. An accident, a flood, serious defects, and more can easily change a car’s title from clean to something else.

Clean Title

A clean title means that the car has sustained little to no damage. It was never totalled for any reason.

Salvage Title

A salvage title usually means that the car was in a wreck and got totalled. A title such as this means that this vehicle may not be sold or driven.

Rebuilt Title

A rebuilt title often means that the car was totalled at some point, but someone fixed it, so it runs properly now. The vehicle must pass the DMV’s inspection standards to have a rebuilt title instead of a salvage title.

Got It?

Car titles are not something that everyone knows about. If you own a car, you should know where your car title is, whose name is on it, and what you might need it for.

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