How to Retitle Your Vehicle After You Paid Off the Loan

It's not quite as satisfying as paying a house in full, but completing payments on your vehicle is a watershed moment. After years of monthly payouts, you've finally crossed the finish line. Moreover, you've acquired the right to change the car title to reflect your name alone. Each state has its own motor vehicles department that sets the rules regarding retitling a vehicle. But the basics of the process are straightforward.

Step 1

Contact your lender to confirm your final payment was received. Errors do occur.

Step 2

Ask whether the lender has notified your state motor vehicles department about the payoff. Either through oversight or negligence, banks sometimes drag their feet on this step. If the notice has not been sent, continue to check in with the bank every week or so until you get appropriate confirmation.

Step 3

Look for the title to arrive by mail. Known in some states as a pink slip, the title is legal proof that you own the vehicle outright.

Step 4

Put the title in a safe place. A strongbox or safe-deposit box might serve your purposes. You'll need the title if you ever want to sell or otherwise transfer ownership of the vehicle. Knowing exactly where it is at all times is critical.

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