Consumer Title Resource | Since 2009!

If I Fix A Car Can I Get A Title?

Greetings, automotive enthusiasts! We often find ourselves grappling with a common query – one that echoes through our helpline 20 to 30 times daily. Customers, backyard mechanics, and auto shops alike want to know: if you fix a car, can you keep it? In this blog post, we aim to unravel this mystery and shed light on the complexities surrounding car ownership after repairs.

Scenarios Galore: Who Gets to Keep the Fixed Car?

The situations are diverse. You might be the proud owner of a car you fixed up, perhaps as a labor of love. On the flip side, you could be an auto shop dealing with unpaid bills, or an insurance company looking to dispose of a repaired vehicle. The pivotal question remains: can the person who fixes a car claim ownership?

The Mechanic’s Lien: A Licensed Auto Shop’s Advantage

For licensed automotive repair facilities, the path is relatively clear. The mechanic’s lien, a process recognized in almost every state, empowers licensed auto shops to convert a customer’s repair order into a title. Detailed steps and necessary documentation vary by state, and our website,, provides comprehensive resources on mechanics liens.

Backyard Mechanics and Private Individuals: A Murkier Path

If you’re an individual who fixed a car without the umbrella of an auto shop, the waters get murkier. Simply fixing a car doesn’t automatically grant you ownership. In such cases, individuals may explore alternative methods to secure title ownership.

Alternative Paths to Car Ownership

1. Bonded Title:

  • If you possess limited documentation, a bonded title might be an option. This process involves obtaining a surety bond to secure title ownership.
  • Text messages or informal agreements won’t cut it as documentation. You need more concrete evidence of your involvement.

2. Court Order Title:

  • The court order title process stands out as the most definitive method. It overrides the DMV, as the court holds authority over title matters.
  • By filing a petition and presenting a case before the court, individuals can seek a judgment of ownership, subsequently obtaining a title.

The Importance of Legal Authority

The legality of car ownership extends beyond the act of fixing a vehicle. If the true legal owner disputes your claim, a court must decide the rightful owner. This prevents arbitrary claims based solely on repairs and ensures a fair and substantiated decision-making process.

Steering Clear of Abandoned Vehicle Missteps

A word of caution: don’t confuse a bonded title or court order title with filing for an abandoned vehicle. The latter involves vehicles nobody wants, and the state seizes and auctions them. Once you file for abandonment, the process is irreversible, and you may lose any claim to the vehicle.

Your Arsenal Against Title Challenges

If you find yourself entangled in the web of title challenges, fear not. In nearly 42 states, the bonded title process provides a legal avenue to secure ownership. For more information on bonded titles or court order titles, check out our dedicated websites or reach out to our help desk. We’re here to guide you through the intricacies of car title acquisition.

Fixing a car doesn’t guarantee ownership, but there are legal avenues to explore. Understanding the mechanics of mechanics liens, bonded titles, and court order titles empowers individuals to navigate the complexities of car ownership with confidence.

Whether you’re a grease-stained mechanic or an enthusiastic car owner, remember: the road to legal car ownership might have twists, but with the right knowledge, you can steer clear of pitfalls and claim your rightful title.

Have Title Questions? Talk to a Car Title Expert.

Book a consultation with a Car Title Expert from to get personalized guidance on your title recovery journey.

Don’t let uncertainty hold you back. If it’s your car, you deserve a title.

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