At VINsmart, we partner with the National Motor Vehicle Titling Information System (NMVTIS) and National Vehicle Service (NVS) to surpass our competitors. Our partnerships with these organizations enable us to provide accurate information on your vehicle's status and guarantee the discovery of all publicly available vehicle lien information.
Our vehicle history reports identify lienholders on record and any vehicles owned by leasing companies for greater reporting accuracy. Additionally, when we check your car lien with NVS, we will also provide alerts for vehicle impoundment and allow you to respond quickly to prevent additional fees and fines.
What Is a Car Lien?
Most buyers need a loan to purchase a car. When a lender helps someone buy a vehicle, they are putting a significant amount of money into an asset that may drive away.
A car lien is similar to an insurance policy for the lender who provided the funds for you to purchase your vehicle. Whether you receive funds from a bank, dealership, or private lender, that lien holder wants to know their money is not at risk if you default on the loan. Your car will have a lien to protect the lender's investment until you pay off the original loan.
If a car title has a lien, you still owe the loan provider money from the purchase. Therefore, the car does not belong to you, and a creditor can reclaim your vehicle to serve as collateral if you default on your loan. Lenders are lienholders on a car title and will file all necessary registration documents with the department of motor vehicles.
How to Tell if a Car Title Has a Lien
At VINsmart, we will locate any liens on your vehicle to help you avoid any costly or stressful surprises. Simply enter your vehicle's VIN number into VINsmart's system and we will release a detailed report that tells you the lien status of your vehicle as well as additional title information. Each car title search by VIN is $12.95 per report, and we offer discounts for multiple report orders.
Why Check my Car Title Status and Lien?
There are two situations in which you may wish to verify if there is a lien on your car title:
You Want to Buy a Used Vehicle
When buying a used car, it's vital to know how to search for a lien on a vehicle. If you bought a car with a lien on it, the lender can legally hold you responsible for any portion of the loan left unpaid by the person who originally financed the vehicle, which can lead to an expensive surprise.
Correcting a car lien after purchasing a vehicle is also inconvenient for many car owners. It can take months of costly negotiations to correct a lease, especially if the original owner is unwilling to cooperate. In addition, correcting a car lien requires numerous visits to the department of motor vehicles to sign purchase documentation and release forms, as well as typical car paperwork and registration.
You Want to Sell Your Car
If you had a lien on your car when you initially financed it but have doubts about whether your lien is still valid, it's essential to check the lien status before selling. Several reasons to check your VIN number for a lien before selling include:
- Buyer assurance: A buyer is more likely to trust you if you reveal your car's lien status as soon as possible
- Guaranteeing your status: Sometimes, a car owner may pay off their loan, but not complete their lien paperwork. By checking if the previous owner was released from their lien, you will know if you need to acquire a title
- Documenting a known lien: You may wish to sell regardless of your car's lien status. If this is the case, you will want to know how much is left on your loan