3 Ways How to Legally Get Rid of a Junk Car With a Lien

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Edgar Moulton.


Edgar Moulton. Car Expert

If you have a lien on your car, it will be difficult (if not impossible) for you to sell without first getting the lien off the title. Read on how you can do that and what to do next now that you have a clean title for your junk car. 

What’s a Car With a Lien?

A car with a lien (lien title) is a car that you don’t fully own, as you owe money to someone — most likely a lender. A lien is essentially insurance to the lender that says they own part of the car as collateral so that if the person defaults, they receive the value they lent out in the form of their car. 

If you borrow money to buy the car, the lender or creditor wants to know they’ll get their money back. And if you can’t pay it back, they have the legal right to repossess your car, so they will eventually get the money back — often by taking your car from you and selling it to make their money back. The lien gives the lender the upper hand in a legal battle over who owns the vehicle until the debt is paid off in full. 

How to Check If a Car Has a Lien?

The first step in finding out if your car has a lien is to check the title. Every state is different, but in most states, if a car has a lien on it, it will say so on the title. The title will give you insight into the current owner, previous owners, and any information regarding a lien — past or present — on the car. You can also use certain online databases (usually through your state’s DMV) and run the VIN (vehicle identification number), which is a 17-digit number imprinted into a metal label attached to the car’s dashboard. Most DMV websites have a title checker feature. Use it and find out to see if your car has a lien on it. 

How Do You Junk A Car With A Title Loan?

Unfortunately, because you do not own the vehicle outright, you cannot scrap or junk it. To scrap the vehicle, you must either pay off the outstanding sum on your loan or contact your lender to work out a solution that is satisfactory to both of you. A junkyard won't be able to simply scrap a car with a lien. They cannot accept and demolish vehicles that aren't registered to you, and having a lien means your name isn't on the title.

3 Ways How to Get Rid of a Junk Car With a Lien

If you find yourself googling “Can you scrap a car with a title loan?” surely you’ve discovered that it’s illegal to scrap or junk your car with a lien on it. This is because you’re not the sole owner of the car, and thus, it’s not entirely your property, and you can’t scrap a car with a lien because it’s at least partially someone else's property. 

So to sell your car, you must remove the lien first. No matter how often you search “How to get rid of a junk car with a lien?” the answer will always be to get rid of the lien first. So how can you do that?

1.Pay back the lender. Because the car is not owned entirely by you, scrapping a car with a lien is illegal because it’s giving away someone else’s property. The lienholder has legal rights to repossess your vehicle if you don’t pay back what you owe, so technically, they are part owner. 

The only way to get this lien removed is to pay back what you owe (often plus taxes and interest). So, find out how much you owe and who you owe it to and make the payment to pay off the loan in full, and then you can go to the DMV and get a new title completely in your name. 

2.If you plan on scrapping a car with a mechanic lien, you will need to pay off the debt you owe to the mechanic first. A mechanic’s lien is when you have repairs or upgrades to your car, but you cannot pay them back. The mechanic will file a lien (and thus become part-owner of your car) to ensure they will be paid back for the services they provided for you. If you have paid them back in full, you will have to ask the mechanic to remove the lien from the title at the DMV. It is best to give them 5 business days to do so.

3.If you have googled “How to scrap a car with a lien on the title?” and didn’t come up with a good answer, you can sell it privately. This is a bit of a tricky situation, as the car is not fully yours, but you can still do it. The only way this will work is if the amount of money you will sell the car for is greater than the amount of your junk car with a lien. In other words, the lender may allow you to sell it if it means you’ll have enough money to pay back the loan you owe. 

This is also the case if you want to try parting out a car with a lien to sell your scrap car for cash. This will require a lot of communication between you, the buyer, and the lender of the loan, and maybe even cooperation from the DMV. Be aware, it is illegal to sell a car to a private buyer (even a junk car buyer) if you don’t disclose that there’s a lien on the car, and even completely illegal in some states even if you do disclose. Always check with your local laws to make sure what you’re doing is legal. 

Junkcarsus is a Reputable Junk Car Buyer

If you have a judgment against your car, it will be difficult to sell. Once you have taken care of your lien and have it removed from your title, however, we are more than happy to make you a top dollar offer for your junk car!

At JunkCarsUS we have been in the junk car buying business for over 12 years and have locations all over the USA. We can take nearly any car in any condition off your hands, and with our three-step process, it’s as easy as ever.

  1. Contact us. Call us at (855) 547-1550 and give us some information about your car — the make, the model, the year, the condition, the mileage — and we can give you an instant offer. Or go on our website to our online junk car quote and fill out the information there for a quote in less than 90 seconds.
  2. Accept our instant offer. We know exactly how much your junk car can be worth, so we offer you the highest price guarantee to make sure you get top dollar! Once we make you our offer, we will never go back on it. Then all you have to do is accept our offer and tell us when and where to pick up your junk car — we even offer same-day pickup!
  3. Wait for FREE pickup! Yup, towing is included in our offer. So all you have to do is wait for our tow truck to arrive at your designated time, and he’ll come and take the junk car off your hands and put cash in your pocket.


How to get rid of a junk car with a lien?

The only way to get rid of a junk car with a lien on it is to get the lien cleared first. You can pay it back to the lender or take it to a small claims court and argue it. 

Is it illegal to junk a car with a title loan on it?

In most states, it’s illegal to sell (or junk) a car with a title loan on it because it’s not entirely yours to junk or sell. In some states, it’s legal to sell a car with a lien on it to a private buyer as long as it’s disclosed that there’s a lien on the car and all parties (buyer, seller, lender) agree to the sale.

How to get a lien off the title?

The only way to get a lien off the title is to pay back the loan in full or take it to a small claims court to debate the lien, but the lender has most of the rights in that situation, and it’s unlikely you’ll win.

Edgar Moulton.


Edgar Moulton. Car Expert

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