What is a Car Title?

Whenever you’re dealing with a car, you’re also dealing with a car title. It’s one of the most important documents, and you’ll want to know all there is to know about it. At Herrin-Gear Chevrolet, we’ll ensure that car titles are dealt with appropriately – and answer any questions that you might have along the way.

What is a Car Title?
A car title is the legal form that identifies who the owner of a vehicle is. When you have paid off a vehicle in full, you obtain this car title. Otherwise, it is held by the true owner – the bank to which you’re making your payments.

When you register a vehicle in Mississippi, you’ll want to ensure that your vehicle is registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles. If you move from another state, you’ll want to adhere to the state’s title process.

In many instances, when you’re still making payments, there is a lien on the vehicle. The lienholder’s information must be on the title.
Various details will be on the title:
• VIN, make, and model of the car
• License plate number
• Technical info
• Owner’s name and address

If the car is owned outright, the title is in your name. Similarly, when the vehicle is sold, the title has to be transferred to show the correct owners.

Types of Car Titles
It’s important to understand that there are various types of titles. Knowing the differences will ensure you know what you have and what you need.
Clean: This kind of title is issued once a car is manufactured. It shows that all is good and the car is in good condition.
Clear: There’s no debt or lien against the car.
Salvage: This kind of title is issued when you have totaled a car. It is often issued once you’ve turned a car into a salvage yard so that you aren’t required to carry insurance on it any longer.
Rebuilt/Reconstructed: If you’ve fixed a salvaged car, the title is upgraded from salvage to rebuilt or reconstructed.

How to Be Cautious When Buying a Car
If you buy a car, especially from a non-dealership, you’ll want to ensure you get the title. You have to do your due diligence to ensure you’re taking ownership of the car. Without a title, you could be buying a stolen car – and that can be extremely dangerous.
• Ask to see the title
• Run a full history using the VIN on the title
• Get the car inspected by a trusted mechanic

You’ll want to use the VIN for a full history to prevent buying a car where the title has been “washed” – this is what happens when the title is stripped away of information such as if it has been involved in a major crash or if there’s a lienholder on it.

Obtaining a Title and Caring for It
Owning a car means holding its title. Even if you’re financing a car, you’ll want to know who the lienholder is. That way, once you make your final payment, you can get your hands on the title.

The title is a document that you’ll want to protect. If you lose it, you’ll need to apply for a duplicate. In order to do that, you’ll need to know the form of payment that you made for the title, the VIN of the vehicle, your license information, and the state in which the car is registered.

Additionally, once you hold a car title, you’ll want to know how to legally record transactions such as selling or trading it. This way, you can be sure that the title is always in the hands of the rightful owner. Otherwise, loans can be taken against it and people can even identify a car as stolen if the title is not intact.

Shop for a Car Securely Today
Whether you’re buying a car outright or financing it, it’s important to do so from a reliable source. At Herrin-Gear Chevrolet, we have the professionalism and reliability that you can count on. We’ll ensure that a title is transferred properly from start to finish – and that includes dealing with any trade-in that you might have.

When you’re ready to start the car shopping process, schedule an appointment or stop into our dealership today.