Exciting Car Registration Thread


OK, not sure a thread on car registration can be exciting, but made you look. ;)

Here’s the question: A couple of years ago I bought my daughter a used car. I’m in Iowa, she’s in MO. Went down to register it, and the lady we dealt with at the DMV said they couldn’t register it if it had a lien on it. Including if it was being held by my bank who I got the loan from. Of course, the bank has a lien on it as collateral for the loan. My bank gave me a form that they routinely give out for this purpose, but the woman at the DMV (I hate DMVs) said I’ve never seen anything like that and refused to recognize it. I’m not sure exactly what we did but as I recall the people at my bank said just do this and that and we’ll figure it out when you get back (I love living in a small town with a bank where they know you well.)

Has anyone run into this before? I assume any bank or CU that gives you a loan on a car holds a lien on it until you pay it off. Looking at the MO DMV site, it says

“If your title shows a lienholder (such as a bank or credit union) on it, your lienholder must give you a notarized lien release showing that you have paid off the loan and are released from the lien. If your lienholder does not use the Notice of Lien, Lien Release, or Authorization to Add/Remove Name from Title (Form 4809) to release the lien, they must give you a notarized statement, on their letterhead, stating the lien is released.”

What bank or CU is going to release their lien on a car that you are financing through them? (Oh - in process of buying another car, thus the question.)


Car liens are not car loans. Generally they aren’t placed on cars unless they are in default. So perhaps your daughter’s used car was repossessed at some point, and the paperwork for that repo is still on the books?

If you bought it from a small time used car shop, they may have passed the lien onto you knowingly, as it would encumber the title otherwise, as they might have owed the original lienholder the majority of the profits on the sale they made to you/her.


Jeff, all of that sounds like you were registering the car, but DMV took that as you are selling the car or transferring ownership/title. I think that’s why the DMV lady is insistent on a form of lien release. Did she think you said titling and not registration?

All you should need is the registration from your old state to get it into MO (or any other state that I know of.)


Or that as well.


Nevermind, just looked up MO’s stuff, they are indeed strange:

To complete the registration and titling of your vehicle in MO, go to your local licensing office and:
Present ownership documents for the vehicle (e.g. the title or previous state registration).
If you still owe money on the vehicle and a lienholder has the title, you will need to contact the lienholder to get the title so you can complete the registration process.
Call (573) 526-3669 if you cannot obtain the out-of-state title or registration.

That sounds painfully ridiculous. Extra work for another form that says, “yeah they owe me money but need to drive in your state.”


To be explicit, the process will be that I will buy the car in Iowa, put it in her name and mine for the loan (since she has no real credit at this point,) get the loan from my bank, and drive it to MO on the temp plate from the dealer, immediately register it in her name in Missouri. I assume though that it is titled in Iowa as soon as I buy it there, thus the need to transfer the title.

Doesn’t the bank serve as the lienholder since I have a loan on the car through them?


I refuse to read this thread until we agree to only post car registrations that are interesting.

(@Skipper, my gf had to go through a similar process in order to register her leased vehicle from TN here in NC when we moved here, though I’m foggy on the details by now)


It should, yep. And the titleholder, which is why I was confused, and perhaps the DMV lady. Registering a car to drive just means you need to prove the car is yours (or you are the primary person on a loan,) that is is insured, and in shape for driving on the state roads.

So the bank will have any documents needed. The question is what those documents are. A bank isn’t going to give you the title to take somewhere. So DMV’s request seems, strange.


I had to as well, I bought a vehicle out of state from a friend but had it under loan. I can tell you this though, my DMV was quite happy to work with me, as they were able to get taxes from me for said vehicle. :(


My son bought a used car in 2013 in SC from a reputable used car lot. Now that we have moved to FL the DMV stated there is something against the title from 2008. They stated that SC should have never allowed the title to go through but it is a weird situation since we have a good state title etc.

In the meantime they keep issuing us a temporary license plate/registration for $5 per month until they get it fixed. So we are between two different DMVs. UGH!

I have to say that the DMV we are involved with in Seminole county is top notch. They call me to let me know that they are still working on it and remind us to get another temp plate.

I think part of the problem is whether one state (in this case SC) put the car in the national database or not.


When we did this last time, before I left Iowa to had down to KC my bank gave me some form that they felt was routine and what the DMV needed. The lady we got at the DMV said I’ve never seen a form like that before and if the car has a lien on it we can’t do this. Honestly I can’t remember what we did - I called my bank and they said something about do whatever you need and we’ll figure it out when you get back. I may have just told them there was no lien but hard to believe that would have gone through their system.

Oh - yeah, she had to get a MO title since she was getting MO plates, and the car had an IA title since I purchased it in Iowa, even though it was never registered in IA.


You know, I just asked a coworker and apparently banks will allow the title to be used, then sent back, for purposes like this. So what you are saying apparently is more common than I thought.


So how does that work? I take a lien release form with the title to the DMV and give it to them, then after registration they send the new title back to the bank?


You get the title from where you purchase it, take it with you, register, then send the title to your back, if DMV doesn’t do that for you. The monkey wrench in your case is if the bank already has the title.


Hmm, I’m pretty sure my bank would be OK with me taking the title if they knew they would get it back after registering. Though I think it would be a new MO title. But last time, the lady at the DMV window made it very clear, if there’s a lien on this we won’t title and register it.

Argh. Don’t need this right now.


Yeah - I just don’t get this. From the MO DMV site:

"Notice of Lien, Lien Release, or Authorization to Add/Remove Name from Title (Form 4809)
If your title shows a lienholder (such as a bank or credit union) on it, your lienholder must give you a notarized lien release showing that you have paid off the loan and are released from the lien. If your lienholder does not use the Notice of Lien, Lien Release, or Authorization to Add/Remove Name from Title (Form 4809) to release the lien, they must give you a notarized statement, on their letterhead, stating the lien is released.

That would imply you can’t title and register a car in MO that you have a car loan on. That cannot be correct.




That’s why i think they’re talking differently about lien vs. loan. I mean, they’re almost the same thing technically, but liens are often put against property that hasn’t been paid off, like, for example, a mechanics lien on a home (that still has a mortgage). The language implies the lien has to have been paid to transfer title - obviously, MO allows people with car loans to register - so they’re not talking about a car loan, but a lien against the car. Nowhere in that language above does it say loan.

Call them up and ask them specifically about this, there’s a crossed wire somewhere. I would bet the car was listed as having a lien on it in the past. Ask who is listed as the lienholder.


OK. I THINK I may know what happened.

I bought the car in Iowa. Got my loan. Title was in my name and my daughter’s name (I think.)

I take the car to her in KC, Missouri. Have to have the title in her name, with her Missouri address, to get it registered in MO.

I THINK what happened - they were transferring the title from me to her. So, if I have a lien on the car, like a loan, it’s not a clean title and thus they can’t transfer the title to her. Doesn’t matter that I’m her father. The person looked at it the same way she would if she bought it from some stranger and was transferring the title. If he owed money on the car and his bank had a lien on it, they couldn’t transfer the title to her unless the lien.was cleared.

So, even though I had her on the title when I bought the car in Iowa (I think) I had to get her a title in MO to get it registered in MO. So it looks like - I suppose it is - a title transfer from me to her. I have a loan on it, so a lien, so I can’t transfer a “clean” title to her.

So I need to figure out a way around this.


What if you didn’t transfer the title from you to her, and instead registered it as it is, i.e. with both of your names on it?

In theory, that should work, unless you need to be a resident of Missouri to do it. [EDIT: I see now that is exactly the case. Poor reading skills on my part. /EDIT] In which case, only she is a resident of MO, and that’s where things get complicated.

Holy cripes. This sounds like it should be a simple problem. I mean, your last post clarified things greatly for me, so I would think that if you gave the same explanation to the DMV, they should be able to figure out how to do it. This cannot possibly be the first time a situation like this has come up for them.

EDIT #2: How about leaving it in both of your names, and in the address field, just put her address?

EDIT #3: Could you first transfer it into her name in Iowa using your address as if she still lived with you? And THEN have her register it in Missouri. Granted, you’d have to pay two registration fees (one in each state), but it should work.

EDIT #4: On the other hand, transferring the title to her name alone might not work (in either state), because you are the guy who took out the loan, so they’re going to want your name on the title until there is no lien on it. [And I see that now I’m just duplicating your own thought processes. As such, I’m going to stick with my EDIT #2 suggestion.]

Wow. Far more complicated than I first thought when I began writing this post!