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Titles how do they work in the US
#1
Guys I see you talking about titles ie clean, title salvage title, no title. Any 1 care to let me know how that set up works and why no title can effect the price of an otherwise nice car. Sounds like a dum question I know but I live on the other side the world and if you don't ask you don't know.

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#2
The title documents who is the owner of the vehicle. Without a title, one doesn't know for sure if the car is stolen. If it is stolen, it can be taken away from you without reimbursement if the rightful owner is found.

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#3
Ok. So is there a register that you can check the car against

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#4
In the states all "road legal" motor vehicles must be registered with DMV (department of motor vehicles). A title is a document declaring vehicle type, weight, color, mileage, vin number. Also shows who "owns" the car and where the car is garaged. Every year we must pay these wonderful (dmv) people to have up to date "license plates/ registration"
A title also has the legal information to transfer ownership, so when you sell the car the original owner signs part of it and the buyer signs other part and then new owner can then transfer as receive a new title in their "name"

A clean title indicates that the car belongs to the seller and when sold you will have no issues with DMV transferring ownership.

A salvage title indicates the car has been deemed a total loss through an insurance company maybe from an accident or a flood. Someone could rebuild the car but a salvage title is a lot harder to work with when trying to register the vehicle for legal road use.

No title, well it could be stolen, could have been lost, now who knows who the legal owner is. Sometimes you'll have to track someone down just in order to have a title reissued so they can transfer it, with 40+yr old cars sometimes the legal owner has passed away and now you have a problem.

Then there's "liens" as in if you take out a loan against your vehicle the debtor can put a lien on your title that you cannot sell/transfer your car until the debt has been paid.

Basically a clean title is the one you want and if not most people will stay far away from it unless the price is right for say a parts car.
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#5
There are also provisions for what's called a "Bonded Title." I'm going through that right now.

The Texas procedure: Basically, you take your application, VIN information, Bill of Sale, and $15.00 to the DMV and they instruct you on how to proceed. From there, you must have the car appraised and a surety bond issued from an appropriate agency (usually, by your insurance agent and for 150% of the appraised value - not sure how much that will cost, but I've seen 1-5% of the appraised value). Take all that back to the DMV, and if your car VIN comes back as 'not stolen,' you'll receive your Bonded Title within a week or so, and be able to register & license the car to drive... after insuring and a proper safety inspection, of course. Registration taxes are based on appraised value, of course.

So basically, there will be a LOT more pain and suffering in the way of time and money involved when a 'clean title' is not part of the deal.

Eric

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#6
oh.... I thought you was asking about how we go to our local Dept of Transportation office. Stand in line for an hour waiting and waiting, then it is our turn to submit our documents and the "government worker" decides they need a break and leave you standing. THEN after they go overeat... they drag their feet schuffling back to their desk and act like you are interrupting their day.


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#7
Got that right.

In CA a salvage title says "Salvage" on it top right corner box.

If it was totaled by insurance co "Junk Vehicle" or was ever stolen.
After getting that title car must pass rigorous inspection to get registered
and will always be salvaged till end of time.

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#8
rpmcarter;189894 Wrote:oh.... I thought you was asking about how we go to our local Dept of Transportation office. Stand in line for an hour waiting and waiting, then it is our turn to submit our documents and the "government worker" decides they need a break and leave you standing. THEN after they go overeat... they drag their feet schuffling back to their desk and act like you are interrupting their day.

The same "government worker" who will nitpick the title signatures because the date is illegible and make you go back to the owner and get another notarized signature. Then because of your over-reaction had to drive an hour away to go to another licensing office (because you were kicked out of the closer office). That is how titles work here in the states. You are forced to grovel at the feet of our taskmasters.
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#9
In other words, "Clean Title" is the quintessential automotive equivalent of, "An Ounce of Prevention is worth a Pound of Cure..."

... and much ass pain as well. Wink

Eric

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#10
Also note it varies state by state. In New York vehicles do not have a title pre 1972. In 1973 New York started issuing titles for vehicles. Prior to 1973 your proof of ownership is only your registration card. That is what is signed by the seller along with a bill of sale and a few DMV forms to transfer ownership. It's possible to get a "new" registration card if you lost one. I've done it couple times. 1973 and after if you never registered the vehicle so never had your name on a title from the DMV and you lost the title, you pretty much have a parts car now unless you can track down the last registered owner and get them to file for a lost title. That cost money and time.
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