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How to Fix Errors on a Vehicle Title

The certificate of vehicle title is a document that proves ownership of a vehicle. You can’t just buy a vehicle title or even print yourself a new one, it’s a legal document that holds significant value and must be printed by your state’s governing title agency. Being such an important document, your vehicle title cannot contain any marks, changes, or otherwise be tampered with. So what happens if there is an error on your vehicle title?

If you find that there is an error on your vehicle title, the best practice is to address it immediately. Do not attempt to make any changes yourself or it may invalidate your title and put your legal ownership status at risk. If your vehicle title was printed in error or contains faulty information such as inaccurate odometer statement, incorrect sale date, inaccurate sale price, purchaser name, or other miscellaneous errors, there may be a simple process to get it fixed in your state.

Most states actually have a process to fix errors on vehicle titles. In Indiana, it’s called an Affidavit for Certificate of Title Correction. To fix errors on your vehicle title in Indiana, simply complete the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) form 55582 and submit the completed form to the BMV office. This process is for titles completed in error only and will not work for title transfers.

When buying a vehicle, make sure to check the title and the ID of the seller prior to purchasing and transferring the title. Once you receive your accurate title, keep it in a safe space. If you know there are issues on your title, it’s much easier to get them fixed immediately than it would be further down the line.

The Court Ordered Title Process Explained

The court ordered title process is commonly overlooked as a method for vehicle title recovery, but if you’re missing key ownership documents you may want to consider it. The court ordered title process is for vehicle owners who are not eligible for typical title recovery methods due to missing paperwork, damaged or mutilated title documents, or other circumstances that render them ineligible according to their county. When all else fails, you can apply for a court ordered title.

There are more than 3,600 different counties in the United States, each of which has its own court ordered title process. While many processes are determined at the state level, court ordered titles are always determined at the county level. The county for the court ordered title process is typically identified as the county where the vehicle is located. Despite the differences in geographic location, most court ordered title processes share similar requirements. What does a typical court ordered title process look like?

How to apply for a court ordered title:

Example from Fairfield County, Ohio:

Before applying for a court ordered title, you must attempt to obtain a vehicle title at the DMV even if you know you don’t have all of the proper documents. If you’re denied a vehicle title due to insufficient evidence of ownership, then you may apply for a court ordered title.

  • Step 1: Search for a lienholder using the official DMV title records
  • Step 2: Search for the prior owner using the official DMV title records
  • Step 3: Send letters via certified mail to the lienholder(s) and the prior owner(s), informing them of your intent to apply for a court ordered title. Allow for 15 days for the lienholder(s) or prior owner(s) to respond before proceeding.
  • Step 4: Pay inspection fees and obtain a receipt
  • Step 5: Schedule and complete the inspection
  • Step 6: File your petition with the County Court of Common Pleas
  • Step 7: Appear before a judge and make your case for vehicle ownership
  • Step 8: If approved, file your judgment with the Clerk of Courts and receive the court order
  • Step 9: Take the court order to the DMV to obtain a vehicle title

The court ordered title process is not simple, but it is an available process if all other methods of title recovery are unavailable for your situation. Before proceeding with a court ordered title, consider if another title recovery method is available such as bonded title, Vermont title loophole, lien release, prior owner search, or deceased owner transfer. If the best option for title recovery is a court ordered title, make sure to check the requirements of your county before proceeding. If it’s your vehicle, you deserve your name on the title.

Want a professional to do it for you?

For as little as $159 for most processes, we will save you the headache and prepare all of the car title paperwork needed to get you a new title. Simply choose the title recovery method you’d like to use and we’ll get started!

Select your title recovery method:

Order Vermont Title LoopholeOrder Deceased Owner Title TransferOrder Bonded Title ProcessOrder Abandoned Vehicle ProcessOrder Prior Owner ContactOrder Lien Release Request Letter

How to Title an Abandoned Vehicle in Pennsylvania

When you think of an abandoned vehicle, you might imagine that old rusty car that’s been sitting in your neighbor’s backyard for years. But it’s not only old and damaged vehicles that are left abandoned, sometimes private property owners find themselves in possession of abandoned vehicles that are in good working condition. Every state handles the abandoned vehicle process differently, but if you are in Pennsylvania, you may have the option to title the abandoned vehicle in your name.

What is the definition of an abandoned vehicle in Pennsylvania?

A vehicle is to be considered to be abandoned if it is left inoperable and unattended on public property or highway for more than 48 hours or left on private property without the consent of the property owner for more than 24 hours. 

Note: This does NOT apply to parking lots or garages unless the policy is explicitly stated and a notice is posted in public view.

Abandoned vehicle process in Pennsylvania

Option 1: Contact the local police department for disposal

If the property owner is not interested in obtaining a vehicle title or using the vehicle in any way after removal, the property owner should contact the local police department and request that they declare the vehicle abandoned. The police department will coordinate with salvage or junkyard to tow the vehicle from your private property and dispose of it.

Option 2: Personally store the vehicle and sell to sheriff’s auction

If the property owner is not interested in obtaining a vehicle title or using the vehicle in any way after removal, the property owner may personally relocate the vehicle to a storage facility and bring an action before the district court. The property owner must provide the vehicle owner with reasonable notice then they may sell the vehicle to a sheriff’s auction and the department will sell the vehicle.

Option 3: File a court order as evidence of ownership

If the property owner would like to obtain a vehicle title for the abandoned vehicle on their private property, they may file a suit in common pleas court requesting that an order be entered that awards ownership of the vehicle to the landowner. This extinguishes the right to title and interest for the prior owner. Once filed, you may take the court order to PennDot and they will accept it as evidence of ownership in lieu of a physical title. To obtain the vehicle title, the court order must also accompany the state title application and all applicable fees and taxes. Additionally, the property owner must prove that they made every reasonable effort to contact the prior owner of the vehicle title transfer.

There are many methods to obtain a vehicle title that do not involve the abandoned vehicle process. Most vehicles that seem abandoned do not actually meet the criteria and some states prohibit the titling of abandoned vehicles. Before moving forward with an abandoned vehicle process, make sure that your situation meets the abandoned vehicle criteria for your state. Looking for more information about the abandoned vehicle title process? Click here!

Want a professional to do it for you?

For as little as $159 for most processes, we will save you the headache and prepare all of the car title paperwork needed to get you a new title. Simply choose the title recovery method you’d like to use and we’ll get started!

Select your title recovery method:

Order Vermont Title LoopholeOrder Deceased Owner Title TransferOrder Bonded Title ProcessOrder Abandoned Vehicle ProcessOrder Prior Owner ContactOrder Lien Release Request Letter

What’s a VIN Verification?

A VIN verification is a very important process that verifies that the VIN listed on a vehicle title is the same VIN listed on the physical vehicle. Many states have adopted a VIN verification policy when titling vehicles and those state DMVs take VIN verifications very seriously. 

Why do you need a VIN verification?

A VIN verification is a good idea for everyone, regardless of if their state requires it or not. Depending on your state’s requirements, this may be performed by a notary public, DMV employee, member of law enforcement, or other authorized individuals. By performing a VIN verification, you’re ensuring that you’re receiving the correct VIN on your title and that the VIN is eligible for a title.

If the VIN on your vehicle is not the VIN that matches the vehicle title, that’s a big problem. This means that your title is invalid and that corrections must be made. On top of the corrections, there will be additional steps to take to further prove ownership of the vehicle which now has no title. If the VIN is correct but found in the NMVTIS database, your vehicle is likely not eligible for a title. VINs entered into the NMVTIS database are usually considered junk or may even be reported stolen. 

The VIN verification process may seem tedious, but it’s a very necessary part of the vehicle title process. Some states don’t require a VIN verification or may waive the verification, but we recommend always performing your own VIN verification if one is not required. 

A Comprehensive Guide to Vehicle Titles

A vehicle title is a legal document that proves ownership of a vehicle. While most vehicles require a title, obtaining a vehicle title isn’t necessarily a cookie cutter process. There are a variety of methods to obtain a vehicle title, each with its own set of requirements from the owner and reasons for being used.

Clear title

A clear title is one in the owner’s name that doesn’t have a lien or third party that could attempt to claim ownership. With a clear title, the owner is free to sell the vehicle if desired.

Bonded title 

If you do not have ownership documentation for a vehicle, you may purchase a surety bond to obtain a bonded title. The surety bond is equal to the value of the vehicle and covers any future claims in the event that a valid ownership claim to the vehicle comes forward in the future. Bonded titles are stamped “Bonded” for a period of 3-5 years before eventually coming off of the title where the owner can then apply for a clear title. 

Salvage title 

When a vehicle incurs major damage, the title may be designated as a salvage title. Typically insurance carriers will determine if a vehicle requires a salvage title, often when more than 60% of the vehicle’s value is lost. However, even if a vehicle doesn’t have massive damage, an insurance carrier can still place a salvage title brand on any vehicle. Salvage titles are permanent and cannot be removed under federal law. 

Junk title 

Titles that have been sold to junkyards may be designated junk titles if the vehicle is intended to be scrapped or sold for parts. Vehicles and parts who’s VIN is part of the NMVTIS database can not be titled after receiving a junk title brand.

Certificate of destruction 

When insurance companies pay claims for vehicles and take ownership, they are eligible to process the title as a certificate of destruction. Vehicles with this title are intended to be destroyed or never used on the road again.

Duplicate title 

If you are the legally titled owner of your vehicle and you’ve simply lost your title document, you can apply for a duplicate title. Duplicate titles can only be issued in the state that they were originally registered and only to the last titled owner in the DMV database.

Certificate of origin 

The very first document that was issued by the manufacturer to the dealer. This document is intended to be used to transfer the vehicle title to the first owner and obtain a title. 

Manufacturer’s statement of origin 

Similar to the certificate of origin, but involving brand new imported and domestic vehicles.

Reconstructed or rebuilt title 

Vehicles that have been substantially rebuilt may have a reconstructed title brand issued by an insurance company, body shop, collision center, or licensed rebuilder. These vehicles can typically be used for road use, but may require additional inspections to verify it’s safety.


A title may be issued under an affidavit in lieu of missing documentation. This title method is often a last resort when all other options have been exhausted.

Parts only title 

A parts-only designation is normally found on the bill of sale or transfer form, but not a title. However, if a parts-only bill of sale is submitted for vehicle title processing, the title may be issued with a salvage brand or other irreparable brand on title.

Lienholder title 

A vehicle that has a lien or a title loan may have the title issued directly to the lienholder. The purchaser will be listed as the owner, but the title will list the lienholder. Once the lien or loan is paid in full, the owner may send a lien release request letter to the lienholder for title transfer.

Export title 

A vehicle being exported will likely need title documentation for customs clearance. If the vehicle is not declared at the exit point, a clear title may not be possible in the destination country. Start the title process early so that port storage fees do not accumulate while waiting for the title.

Import title 

A vehicle being imported to the US must have legal title to clear customs. If the vehicle was previously titled in the US this is a vehicle title recovery process only. If the vehicle was not originally manufactured for the US market, there are requirements for certifying that the vehicle is legal for use in the United States. The Department of Transportation (DOT), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) and other agencies will need to verify that the vehicle meets standards for emissions, safety, bumper height, and other guidelines prior to entering the country.

Electronic title 

Many state DMV title systems are transitioning to issuing electronic or paperless titles rather than physical paper documents.

Although selecting your title method may be challenging, it’s an important part of vehicle ownership. By titling your vehicle in your name, you’re ensuring that the certificate of ownership for your vehicle can never be legally transferred to someone else without your consent. Looking to title your vehicle, but need assistance choosing your title method or recovery process? Text TITLE to (402) 698-4853 for assistance in choosing your title method or recovery process.

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