What Are the Common Types of Car Titles?

What Are the Common Types of Car Titles?

What Are the Common Types of Car Titles?

More than 90% of all households in the United States own at least a single car with over 275,000,000 registered vehicles in the country. Although there are tons of vehicle owners out there, not everyone may know exactly what a car title is.

In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about it as well as what the most common types of car titles are. Keep reading to learn more.

What Is a Car Title?

A car title, also known as a pink slip, is a simple legal document that contains proof of ownership for a particular motor vehicle. It is issued by whatever state the vehicle was purchased in and stays with the vehicle throughout its entire life.

Every time the vehicle receives a new owner, it gets a new auto title in its state of residence. The title will identify the vehicle as well as all of its owners, both in the present and in the past.

You can think of it as a combination of a passport, driver license, birth certificate, and social security number all in one — but for a vehicle. To buy or sell the car, you need to have the vehicle title.

If you take a look at the title, it looks very similar to a person’s birth certificate. It should include the seal of the state that issued it. Each state has minor differences when it comes to the title, but it should include important information like:

  • Identifying information about the vehicle, including make, model, year, vehicle identification number, vehicle registration, and color
  • The name and address of the vehicle owner
  • The issue date of the title (purchase date)
  • The lien holder and any outstanding liens from the lender and purchase price
  • Odometer reading
  • Signatures from the buyer, seller, and a representative from the state like a county clerk or county treasurer
  • License plate number

If you purchase a new vehicle, the dealer will likely take care of all of the documents when it comes to the title.

However, you’ll only receive the original title if you pay in cash. If you finance the vehicle, you’ll receive a certified copy of it within 90 days at your address or PO box. If you lease a car, you’ll never actually receive the title because you are not the owner of the vehicle.

Different Types of Car Titles

There are several different types of car titles that change depending on the circumstances surrounding the vehicle. Keep reading to learn about the different kinds.

Certificate of Origin

This original title is the very first document for a vehicle or motor carrier. It’s issued by the manufacturer of the vehicle and is given to the franchise dealer when it is first delivered to. It is then given to the first purchaser of the vehicle.

Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin

This is another type of certificate of origin. It serves the same purpose and is used by certain vehicle manufacturers.

Clear Title

A clean title is given to the owner of a car when there is no lien specified. The vehicle is “clean.”

Salvage Title

A salvage title is given to a vehicle that has been in a serious type of loss event. This can include:

  • Major damage
  • Theft
  • Repair

Usually, the insurance company that is in charge of paying the claim on a vehicle makes the decision to put salvage status on a vehicle. Some states require that an insurer brands a car that has a salvage title.

For example, if it incurred damage of more than 60% of its original value. They can even put a salvage title when there is little to no damage as well. Usually, titles like these (salvage title, rebuilt title, certificate of destruction, junk title) are permanent and can’t be removed.

There are certain cases of complex and expensive processes when the vehicle can be reconstructed. It would need to go through a rigorous vehicle inspection and be branded title status.

With that said, vehicles with a salvage title can still be registered for use on the road, but they need to be inspected to ensure public safety. If the owner tries to remove or alter the title brand (title laundering), they can be charged with serious criminal penalties.

Junk Title

If a vehicle has been sold to a junkyard, it is given the junk title registration. This is for cars that are meant to be scrapped and parted out. Similar to a salvage title, these are almost always permanent unless serious reconstruction takes place.

Bonded Title

If a person purchases a vehicle title when it has a deficiency in ownership documentation, they might be able to get a bonded title.

The owner purchases a security bond that is the same value as the car. This bond covers any claims in the future if someone claims ownership. It can then pay to remove the claim or ownership or lien.

This type of bond usually lasts around 3 to 5 years.

Reconstructed Title or Rebuilt Title

This title goes to a vehicle that has been rebuilt substantially. This is often issued by a licensed rebuilder, body shop, collision center, or insurance company.

Although it can be registered for road use normally, it has to undergo an inspection to make sure it is safe.

Certificate of Destruction

After an insurance company pays a claim for a vehicle, it takes ownership of the vehicle from the insured. Once this happens, they have the option of processing the title into a certificate of destruction. This means that the vehicle is meant to be destroyed.

Sometimes, an abandoned vehicle that is in an acceptable condition for the road can still be given a certificate of destruction by the insurance company. They prevent it from being used on the road to limit their liability from it being used again.

For example, if the car is put back into circulation and is in an accident again, the injured person could claim that it was because of an existing defect. This would be traced back to the insurance company which shouldn’t have allowed the car to get back out on the road.

Some issues with a car could include damaged airbags, weakened frames, or that they don’t want to spend more money on a detailed inspection. They would then sell the car to a junkyard.

Parts Only Title

This designation is usually found on a title transfer form or a bill of sale. It shows that the car is only meant to be scrapped for parts.

Replacement Title

These titles are given to cars that are illegible, lost, or mutilated. Substitute titles are given when the previous title info needs to be changed.

Electronic Title

Nowadays, most title systems in Department of Motor Vehicles (DMVs) issue paperless or electronic titles. However, if the owner of a vehicle needs a paper title document, they can obtain one for car title loan processing or transfer.

Lienholder Title

If a vehicle has a title loan or lien title, it could be given to the lienholder. Although the purchaser will list the owner of the car, the title will list the lender as the lienholder. They will have possession of the title.

Import Title

A vehicle imported into a country must have an original title issued within the United States. In order to ensure compliance with these regulations, the government may require that the vehicle’s importation be certified by one of several entities, including the Department of Transportation (DOT), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and others. These entities perform inspections with emissions, safety, bumper height, and other regulations to make certain that the vehicle meets regulatory standards prior to allowing entry through U.S. borders.

Export Title

If a car is being exported, it needs a specific type of title documentation to make it through customs clearance. The title process needs to be started early to avoid any port storage fees while waiting for the title to clear. This needs to abide by the international registration plan.


Sometimes, cars are missing the documentation or vehicle records that it needs. In this case, they are issued an affidavit, or a sworn statement of fact that is issued by the state.

What to Know About Vehicle Titles When it Comes to Selling or Trading a Car

If you’re selling your car or trading it into a dealership, you don’t need to worry about anything. The dealership will likely handle any title issues.

However, if you’re selling your vehicle to another private individual, you’ll need to know a few things. If you’ve completed the loan for the vehicle and your title is clear, all you need to do is fill in the transfer information for the vehicle. Both you and the buyer sign the contract in the appropriate places.

If you still owe money for the vehicle and a lien exists in the title, there are a few more steps. The lender will need to have the loan paid off in order to release the lien. To do this, complete the transaction at the lender’s offices.

If you can’t go to the lender’s office, you’ll have to come to terms with the buyer on how the lien is completed.

How to Get a Lost or Duplicate Title

If you don’t have your certificate of title, you can apply for a duplicate certificate at the DMV or transportation agency. Every state has different requirements, but here are a few things you’ll probably need:

  • Download the title application from DMV or transportation agency website
  • Sign it
  • Notarize the application
  • Include the title fee or registration fee
  • Include your ID card

Depending on the state, you may need to get it notarized. For example, the Texas department requires a notary.

After that, just submit the application as required by your state. For more general information on car titles, reach out to your state DMV or agency that provides vehicle services.


How to get a title for a new vehicle in NJ?

In New Jersey, a vehicle title is required for legal registration and operation on public roads. To obtain a title for a new vehicle, you must present proof of ownership, such as a Certificate of Origin or an Invoice. This document must then be brought to a Motor Vehicle Commission office along with payment for registration fees, taxes, and title fees. Once these requirements are met, the title will be issued by the MVC Office. When purchasing a new vehicle from an out of state dealer, verify the New Jersey titling process with the dealership.

How do I transfer a car title in NJ?

If you need to transfer ownership of a vehicle, you can only do so at a motor vehicle agency (mva). The Buyer must sign the buyer’s section on the back of the title and include their driver’s license number or Entity Identification Number (EIN-formerly Corpcode). The Seller must remove and return the license plates to a motor vehicle agency or full-service agency.

What is the Pennsylvania title transfer fee?

According to PennDot, transferring a title in Pennsylvania costs $58. No matter if you obtain an original title, a duplicate title, or from a licensed dealer, the fee is the same. The fee is $86 if the vehicle is subject to a lien.

Find the Perfect Vehicle

Now that you know all there is to know about car titles, it’s time to find your dream vehicle.

Schumacher Used has some of the highest reconditioning standards, high-quality vehicles, a top-tier warranty, and a great selection of vehicles. We’ve been serving New Jersey for almost 100 years.

Reach out to us today!

On Schumacher Used, you can find used cars that are both affordable and dependable.

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