When you buy a car, chances are that the title transfer will be easy and you can register and drive your car with no problems. However, there are times when registering the title may be difficult. Having a problem title is a hassle, especially if you want to sell your car in the future. Here are six types of problem titles and how to get your car registered if you have them.
1. No Title or Lost Title
If you simply lost your title, then you may be able to get a duplicate title. However, if you just bought the car and the previous owner does not have the title, then things are more complicated. In this case, you will need to assistance of the previous owner in filling out the paperwork. If that's not possible, then you may have to apply for a bonded title as long as you can prove you actually own the car. This can be a long and complicated process.
2. Salvage Title
Salvage titles are titles given to vehicles that have been damaged to the point where they are considered a total loss. Generally, the cars must have enough damage to be significantly devalued and are fairly new models (less than 10 years old). You can register a car as salvage, but you will neither be able to drive it nor insure it as is.
3. Rebuilt Title
In Oklahoma, cars that have a salvage title can be given a rebuilt title if the car has been substantially repaired and rebuilt. Your car will be required to go through a thorough inspection before you are legally able to take your vehicle on the road. You will also need full documentation of how you repaired the vehicle, such as repair invoices and photos.
4. Flood Damage Title
Like salvage and rebuilt titles, flood damage titles come with a strict set of rules when it comes to fixing them up enough to be able to drive. The general rule is that a car is considered flood damaged if it's been sitting in water high enough to fill up the engine compartment. Like salvage and rebuilt titles, the car must be significantly repaired and inspected to make it legal to insure and drive.
5. Lemon Title
A car designated as a lemon is one that has a significant defect that cannot be repaired after multiple attempts. In some cases, the manufacturer will either buy back the vehicle, and it will be title branded as a lemon. In Oklahoma, these you cannot sell these vehicles legally. However, not all car owners participate in buybacks, and there are some used lemon cars on the road. The bad thing is that there are no laws to protect you if you buy a lemon and sometimes lemon titles are unlawfully changed. To guard against buying one of these cars, check its repair history through the VIN number.
6. Washed Title
Title washing most often refers to cars branded as salvaged in one state, but that title not transferring over to another state where the car is sold. In other cases, the words flood or salvage are removed illegally from the title and the car is resold again. This means that you could be buying a potentially dangerous vehicle without even knowing it. To help avoid this problem, have a title history check done before you buy.
Title and registration issues can be a hassle, but most vehicles can be registered if you go through certain steps. It's important that you know exactly what you are buying to keep title registration to a minimum. If you want to know more about what you need to do to clear a problem title, or you simply want to register or renew your car's title, then the Motor Vehicle Tag Agency can help.