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How Do I Replace a Lost Title for an Old Car?

So you’d like to get rid of that junky old car, but you don’t have the title. Maybe you misplaced it, spilled something on it or accidentally threw it away. Does that mean you’re stuck with this eyesore of a clunker forever?

Thankfully, no. Every state has a process for reissuing lost titles. Here are the steps you need to take to make that happen. The sooner you act, the sooner that junky car will be nothing more than a distant memory.

1. Contact The State

Find out which agency handles the reissuing of titles in your state. A quick Google search should provide the answer. Typically, the motor vehicle department or the county tax collector’s office is in charge of titles. Chances are, the same agency that gave you the original title will be in charge of duplicate titles.

2. Submit a Form

Every state has a form you’ll need to fill out to apply for a duplicate title. Many times, you can find the form online. In some cases, you will have to pick up the application at the DMV or tax collector’s office.

Complete the form and either drop it off in person, send it by mail or, if your state allows, submit it electronically. Keep in mind that you will have to include information such as the vehicle identification number (VIN) and license plate number.

3. Wait Patiently

OK, so there’s no rule that you have to be patient. But you will have to wait. The issuing agency will have to confirm that the car actually belongs to you, and the processing of paperwork takes time, particularly when government agencies are involved. To make the process as fast as possible, double check that all of the information in your application is correct and drop off the application in person or submit it electronically. Sending the form by mail adds a few extra days to the process.

Some states will expedite your application if you pay an additional fee. Fees vary from state to state, so check with your local officials.

You can browse our junk yard directory by state to find links to information for your state's lost title servicing.

By: Ryan Maguire

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