Paid Off Your Car Loan? Here’s How To Get Your Title

  • 3 min read

Congratulations on paying off your car loan! Now that your car loan is paid off, you can apply for a new clean title in your name. With a clean title, you can do with your vehicle as you wish, sell it, trade it in, or simply keep it. Even if you decide to sell your car after paying off the loan, it’s important to make sure that you get your title cleared before doing so. Keep reading to learn how to get your title after paying off your car loan.

Title-holding vs. non-title-holding states

Each U.S. state is either a title-holding state or a non-title-holding state. When a car is financed, the lender will hold on to the title for the duration of the loan (non-title-holding) or mail the title with the lien directly to the buyer/owner to hold until the loan is paid off (title-holding). 

In non-title-holding states, upon loan satisfaction, the lender will stamp the title as paid and send it to you in the mail with a lien release letter. In title-holding states, upon loan satisfaction, the lender will only mail you a lien release letter. 

If you live in a title-holding state and cannot locate your original title upon receipt of the lien release letter, apply for a duplicate title with the DMV in your state. Once you have the title certificate and lien release letter or letter of non-interest in hand, take these documents, along with your ID and any other documents pertaining to ownership, to the DMV to remove the lien and get a clean title.

What happens if the lender doesn’t mail the title?

This tends to be a common occurrence among vehicle owners who have paid off their car loans. If your lender doesn’t send you your title after the loan is satisfied, reach out to them via mail requesting they return the signed title and a lien release letter, or a letter of non-interest on their letterhead. Once received, take the signed title and lien release or letter of non-interest to the DMV office in your state to remove the lien and apply for a clean title. 

What happens if the lender goes out of business?

If your lender goes out of business, this doesn’t automatically mean that your loan is discharged. When lenders go out of business, they will transfer any active loans to another financial institution. Essentially, the loan is still out there, you just have to find it. Start by researching your lender to see if they were bought out. If they were, contact the new lending company to request your title and lien release or letter of non-interest. Additionally, search for your lender in your state’s Secretary of State database to learn about their entity status and whereabouts.

Paying off your car loan is a huge accomplishment, but it can be overshadowed by title trouble with your lender. If you’ve paid off your loan, do not wait to get your title transferred. As long as your lender is still listed on your title, they still have a security interest in your car. If it’s your car, you deserve a clean title in your name.

The Solution for Your Court-Ordered Title

Need a court-ordered title transfer? provides everything you need to file your paperwork and get your court-ordered vehicle title.

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