looking at car title

Do Repossessed Cars Have Clean Titles?

Repossessed cars are vehicles that have been taken from their owners for non-payment. When a person buys a new car, they typically take out a loan and agree to make payments every month. The monthly payment includes the principal and interest on the loan, as well as possible credit insurance charges or other optional add-ons. If the person stops making payments, the lender has the right to take the car away. 

Because no two situations are identical, no two repossessions are the same, either. Some vehicles are relatively new and in good condition – their owners just couldn’t afford the payments any longer. Others are in poor condition and require a lot of work. If the owner couldn’t afford to make the payments, they probably weren’t paying for the upkeep. 

But when it comes to some of the other formalities like car warranties and titles, you can have the same expectations for repo cars as you do used cars. Just because a car separates from its owner doesn’t mean it loses its manufacturer warranty or title. 

What Does it Mean to Have a ‘Clean’ Title? 

A clean title means that the vehicle has never been deemed a total loss. With a clean title, the car might carry the balance of its new car warranty and have a slightly higher resale value. The alternative to a clean title is a salvage title, which means an insurance agency deemed it a loss. 

Keep in mind that a clean title doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. A car with a clean title can still have tons of mechanical problems like engine failure or transmission concerns. It may also hide shoddy repair work, as it’s not uncommon for car owners to handle collision damage, fire damage or electrical issues on their own to save money. 

A salvage title might seem like a more risky purchase, but this isn’t always the case. All it means is that the car was deemed a total loss by an insurance company. In these cases, the car is either restored or sold for parts. A rebuilt title, on the other hand, means that the vehicle has been restored with new parts and is safe to drive. 

What Happens if a Car Has No Title? 

Generally speaking, we don’t recommend buying a car without a title. Sometimes, it ends up working out just fine. You can request a surety bond or bonded title when you register the car with your state, or you can ask the seller to get another copy.

But more often than not, there are many risks associated with buying a car with no title. For example, you won’t be able to get the license plates, a loan or auto insurance. The car’s history is a mystery, and you won’t be able to prove you’re the owner. 

In other words, don’t get too hung up on having a clean title. While you’ll want to look into things deeper with a salvage/rebuilt title, this doesn’t automatically mean the car is not safe. And on the flip side, just because a car has a clean title doesn’t mean it’s perfect. 

RepoFinder has a great selection of cars, trucks, SUVs, etc. at great prices! We have a list of links to banks and lenders across the country that are trying to move their repo inventory. Find something that fits your needs today!