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Getting a Car Title in 2023: Mechanic’s Liens and Abandoned Vehicle Processes

Owning a car comes with various responsibilities, including ensuring that the vehicle is in good working condition and that all legal requirements are met. Unfortunately, situations may arise where you need to secure a title for your car or dispose of an abandoned vehicle. Two methods that people often consider in such cases are mechanic’s liens and abandoned vehicles. However, it’s essential to understand these methods’ legal processes and their associated risks.

Mechanic’s lien process 2023

Mechanics liens are a legal process that can be used to secure a car title or force payment for services rendered. However, this process is only available to some. Most states require that only licensed automotive facilities such as repair shops, body shops, towing companies, and car dealerships are eligible to file a mechanics lien. You must also have documentation showing you have worked on the vehicle or towed it for repairs. You cannot file a lien for a car that has not been in your possession, and you must follow specific legal requirements, including filing the lien within 15 days after the notice is given and waiting 30 days after the notice is passed to hold an auction.

It’s worth noting that filing a mechanics lien for a car that hasn’t been in your possession is not possible. You must have possession of the vehicle to file a lien. Furthermore, the lien holder and notices must be sent in writing by certified mail to the addresses listed on the title record. You cannot use a made-up address or whatever you find in the glove box. This ensures that the owner is informed when the title is transferred and prevents fraudulent liens from being filed.

It’s important to understand that mechanics liens are not a simple solution to securing a car title or forcing payment for services rendered. The DMV knows there have been cases of fraudulent liens, and they have implemented laws to prevent this. So, mechanics’ liens are not the way to go unless you are a licensed garage with an assigned repair order. Instead, explore other legal avenues to resolve your issue.

Abandoned vehicle process 2023

Abandoned vehicles are another option that car owners may consider when disposing of a vehicle. In Pennsylvania, for example, if a vehicle is abandoned on private property, the property owner has three options. They can request the police department to declare the vehicle abandoned and have it towed away by a salver. Alternatively, they can personally remove the vehicle and then file a claim before a justice to recover costs. Lastly, the property owner may file a suit in a common police court to resolve the matter.

It’s important to understand that abandoned vehicles are not considered “finders keepers.” You must go through the legal process before claiming ownership of an abandoned vehicle. If you encounter any issues with your car and title, jumping to abandoned vehicles should not be your first option. Be cautious because some states may require you to surrender the vehicle to the state and auction it off as soon as you declare it abandoned.

However, the court can help you obtain ownership of an abandoned vehicle. Pennsylvania’s Department of Transportation (PennDOT) can accept a court order as evidence of ownership in place of a title. This means that if you obtain a court order title, you can use it to prove ownership of the abandoned vehicle. It’s essential to follow the legal process of getting a court order title to avoid any legal issues in the future.

In summary, mechanic’s liens and abandoned vehicles may seem like quick solutions to car title issues; however, they involve specific legal processes that must be followed to avoid legal problems. If you encounter any issues with your vehicle and title, exploring other legal avenues or seeking legal advice may be a better option. Remember, this isn’t legal advice. If it’s your car, you deserve a title in your name; make sure your chosen method is applicable, appropriate, and legal for your titling situation. 

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