How to Sell a Car in NC with a Lien

How to Remove a Lien to Sell Your Car in North Carolina

If you are looking to , you may have some work to do first. Having a car lien doesn't have to prevent you from the vehicle upgrade you've been looking forward to. DoNotPay is here to help guide you through the lien removal and vehicle sale process.

A car lien can seem like an insurmountable obstacle to selling your vehicle. This can be the case whether you owe money on a loan, the lien was never released from a previous loan, or a lien has been placed due to some other type of debt. However, by first understanding what a lien is and then the process for removing it, you can still successfully sell your car in North Carolina.

What Is a Car Title Lien?

A lien is a legal claim against assets. In the case of a car title, a lien is usually placed on the debt by a creditor as collateral until the debt is paid. This is considered a voluntary lien because it was one of the loan terms. One example is a car loan.

If you take a loan out against the collateral of your vehicle, a lien is placed on the car title until the debt is paid. This allows the creditor (also known as a lienholder) to repossess the vehicle if the debt is not paid as payment for the unpaid debt. A car loan is just one of several reasons you may have a

Other reasons for car liens include:

  • Judgment lien
  • Mechanic's lien
  • Tax lien

These liens are more likely to be involuntary liens, meaning liens you didn't agree to but were placed due to some form of legal action regarding a debt. Regardless of type or origination, all liens are a matter of public record.

Where Can I Find Information About a Lien in NC?

Knowing where to find information about a lien is essential when selling a vehicle. Finding out about an unknown lien during the sales process could lead to a missed opportunity. Knowing what you are dealing with before getting into price negotiations and selling your car will save you a lot of headaches.

Places you can attempt to find information about potential car liens include:

North Carolina DMV

(Department of Motor Vehicles):

Many state DMV websites offer an online lien search.
Car title:Depending on the type of lien, you may not have the car title. However, if you do, the title may list the lien.
Vehicle History Report:Many services are available to provide this information and more. CARFAX, National Motor Vehicle Title Information System, and AutoCheck are just a few.

How to Remove a Lienholder From a Car Title in North Carolina

Simply put, you can't sell a vehicle with a lien on it without first having the lien removed. How you specifically go about having the lien removed depends on the type of lien involved. However, removing all types of car lines follows the same basic steps:

  1. Pay off the debt. Whether it be a judgment-imposed lien or a voluntary lien for a loan, paying off the debt or having the debtor forgive the debt is the first step to removal of the lien.
  2. Ask the debtor to release the lien. You may have paid off the debt or a mistake led to the lien. Whatever the reason, the debtor will need to sign a lien release form. This form is the debtor's way of saying the debt has been paid and the lien is no longer needed.
  3. Go to court. A disagreement about a mechanic's lien or other judgment liens could result in a need to go to court. However, once a judgment has been paid, the court needs to be notified as well.
  4. Notify North Carolina DMV. Once the lien release form is received, the lien must still be physically removed from the title. Once that has been done, a new title will be mailed to the owner.
  5. Gather everyone together. The process may be somewhat simplified by having the seller, buyer, and lienholder all meet together to verify the debt is paid and the lien release is processed. While this may provide some comfort for the buyer, in North Carolina, the lienholder will need to send an electronic lien release form to the state, which will cause a new title to be printed and mailed to the owner. The owner can then provide the title to the buyer.
  6. Sell By Trade-In. If you are selling your vehicle with a lien to a dealer as part of a trade-in and the dealer is paying off the lien, the dealer can request the new title be mailed directly to the dealer.

If, at this point, it feels nearly impossible to  so you can sell your car in North Carolina, don't give up. DoNotPay is here to help.

Remove a North Carolina Car Lien With the Help of DoNotPay

DoNotPay can take the worry of a lien on your car away, so you can focus on negotiating the terms of the car sale. DoNotPay will take the information regarding your lien situation and request renegotiation of your debt. In addition, we can complete the Release of Lien for your creditors and send it to them, so all they have to do is sign it.

It really is as easy as a few simple steps:

  1. Search for remove my lien on DoNotPay.


  2. Start our Remove My Lien product.


  3. Answer some questions about your specific lien and let us help you craft a letter to your creditor to resolve the issue.


That's it. You are well on your way to a lien-free car title and the ability to sell your car whenever you want.

What Else Can DoNotPay Do?

DoNotPay can also help with a lien on your house or other property or a tax lien shown on your credit report or public record. However, DoNotPay can help with other stressful tasks as well. Why do it the hard way when DoNotPay makes the process fast, easy, and successful? 

DoNotPay can also help with:

Whatever mundane tasks take you away from the life you were meant to live, DoNotPay is here to help you get back to being the best version of yourself.

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