lien-free car

How to Find Out if Your Car’s Title is ‘Lien-Free’

If you’ve ever conducted your research into loans, loan options, or cars you’ve probably stumbled across the phrase lien. While there are plenty of resources out there that explain what a lien is and how it functions, many people are still unclear as to what a lien refers to, how it can affect your ability to be approved for loans, and how it affects your financial situation. If you’re searching for a title loan in Illinois, a pre-existing lien on your car might impede your ability to be approved by one of these loan types.

If your car doesn't have a lien, you can find fast financial relief through title loans which are a type of loan that you can apply and be approved for without your credit score. Before we jump into how to apply for them, let’s start with the basics.

What is a Lien?

Simply defined, a lien is the right of another person to keep property that is owned by another person until the owner can handle the debt of the property in full. It’s a form of security that protects the interest of the person who may have assisted the owner of the property in some financial way. There are three main types of liens that are considered common:

  • Statutory Liens: Created by federal or state laws, statutory liens refer to a lien that is created by the operation of law. They don’t require the consent of the debtor.
  • Tax Liens: These liens occur if you own the IRS money on a tax return and they place a lien on your property, which gives them the right to collect the property in the event that your taxes aren’t paid.
  • Mechanic’s Liens: These liens occur when a contractor or mechanic works on your property and you fail to pay them for the cost of labor, materials, and time.

There are other types of liens, but these are the three most common that occur throughout the country. They work by creating security for the person or company that assists you in your time of need. In loans, offering the lien to property that you own can grant you access to loan types that you might otherwise not be able to obtain by allowing lenders the security they need for them to skip on checking your credit score which is the case with title loans, but more on that in a bit! In short? Liens create collateral.

What Does it Mean to be Lien-Free?

When an object is lien-free, it means that the property is completely paid off. In terms of a vehicle, having a lien-free one means that you own the car, truck, SUV, or motorcycle in its entirety. 

How to Find Out if Your Car is Lien-Free

To find out if your car has a preexisting lien on it, there are two main things you can do:

  • 1. Examine the title: As you set out to get your car make sure you examine all paperwork related to the vehicle, paying specific attention to the title and registration. While the information might be laid out differently according to what state you live in, there should be a collection of information that is related to the current or past owner.
  • 2. Conduct a VIN check: If anything was attached to your car prior to you owning it, the information will be attached to your VIN for you to easily reference. Some DMV websites offer a feature that allows you to check and see if your vehicle has a title attached to it by searching your VIN. If they don’t offer that feature on their website, you’ll be able to access any prior information through your local DMV.

The bottom line is that your local DMV will have all of the information on file, so be sure to check with them if you’re pursuing a car that is used. Now you know how to check to see if your car is attached to a lien, you can check your car’s status easily! If your car is lien-free, here’s how you can use it to gain a title loan when you find yourself in need of extra cash.


title loan illinois


How to Get a Title Loans in Illinois

Title loans are a short-term loan option type that allows you access to cash without the use of your credit score. Whereas most traditional loans obtained through the bank use your credit score to determine your eligibility, approval for title loans is based upon the following factors: the make, the model, and the condition of your vehicle.

Depending on all of these factors, you could be approved for a title loan that’s worth up to $4,000! The application process is simple, too. Here’s how it works:

  • You start by filling out a short online form that will ask for your contact information and address before moving on to select the nearest store location to you. We serve several locations throughout Illinois, making sure you’re never far from emergency cash. Check out our Location Page if you want to find your local store!
  • After you submit your form, an online representative will call you to schedule a face-to-face appointment on the day and at the time of your choosing. You’ll be asked to provide a few pieces of information which include:
    • Your driver’s license or valid I.D.
    • The lien-free title to your vehicle
    • A blank check to your bank account
    • Your vehicle for inspection
  • During the meeting, the representative will conduct a quick inspection of your car, which will determine how much money you’ll receive on your title loan.
  • You’ll be given the chance to ask any questions or voice any concerns with your representative before you sign the paperwork, but once you do, the funds will quickly be deposited into your account.

If your vehicle is lien-free, you’re already one step closer to obtaining financial relief! If you're still curious about title loans, check out our blog 10 Things You Need to Know About Money Before Taking Out a Title Loan for more information! No matter what you’re going through, whether it’s a sudden medical bill or you’re facing expensive house repairs, Illinois Title Loans, Inc. is here to offer you support and easy access to fast cash. 

Note: The content provided in this article is only for informational purposes, and you should contact your financial advisor about your specific financial situation.

Emma Frost

Emma Frost is a lifestyle and finance blogger with a talent for communication and a passion for financial literacy. She uses her writing talents to explore topics that help her readers gain financial stability and growth.