How do I title a vehicle in my name after I pay off the car loan?

If you’re like the majority of American drivers, you used an auto loan to purchase your vehicle. Until the loan is paid off, the lien holder maintains the car title. This is because the lien holder has the legal right to repossess the vehicle if you fail to make your payments on time.

Once you’ve paid off the car loan, the lien holder will notify your state DMV office. There may be a bit of a delay, since the lien holder will want to make sure there are no problems with your final payment before starting the title transfer process. However, if it takes more than a month for the lien holder to contact the DMV, you will want to make sure the lien holder isn’t trying any unsavory business practices. In the past, some drivers have found that the lien holder will try to keep the car title as security for other debts you may owe them.

After the DMV has been notified, they will complete the title transfer process. Some states will automatically mail the title to the address on file, while others will require that you visit the DMV office in person to pick up your vehicle title. If you’re not sure what laws apply in your state, contact your local DMV office with questions.

Although you should always keep your registration in your car, you need to keep your car title in a separate location. Most drivers keep their car title in a safe deposit box or a special secure spot within their home. You will need to have the title as proof of ownership when you want to sell your vehicle.

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