Vehicle Services

Buying and Selling Your Vehicle

Vehicle Liens

If you purchase a vehicle with a lien, the lien must be paid or lienholder permission obtained before you can transfer the title into your name.

Check For Liens
Service Arizona

A service is available to check for liens and unresolved financial obligations on an Arizona titled vehicle.

Liens fall into two general categories: financial liens and other liens.

Financial Liens

Financial liens either appear on the front of the paper title or are held electronically and are generally for a defined period of time.

Liens on Paper Certificates of Title

If a lien is on a paper title, it will appear in the space marked "Lienholders." When the lien is paid/satisfied, the vehicle owner receives a "lien release" from the lender. The owner may take the lien release to an MVD or Authorized Third Party office to obtain a new title or give the buyer the signed and notarized title with a lien release from the lender.

Electronic Lien and Title

An electronic lien and title (ELT) is an electronic method by which MVD and authorized lienholders exchange essential vehicle, lien and title information. Lienholders are required to perfect or release liens electronically using the current ELT process through an approved ELT service provider. This process eliminates the need for printing and mailing individual paper titles. Once the lien has been satisfied, a lienholder sends an electronic message releasing the lien. MVD then forwards the title to the vehicle owner or to the next lienholder of record. This method results in faster service to vehicle owners.

Other Liens

Other liens can be added electronically and are not shown on the title. They are not for a defined period of time and can be added or deleted at any time. For example, if a vehicle owner owes child support fees (Child Support lien) or court fines/fees (Operation of Law lien), a lien can be placed on the vehicle record that prevents the title from being transferred to a new owner until those fines/fees are paid. These liens must be paid before you can transfer the title into your name.

Protecting Yourself from Purchasing a Vehicle with a Lien

Check for liens and unresolved financial obligations on an Arizona titled vehicle online.

The buyer and seller should go to an MVD or Authorized Third Party office together to transfer the title. Many third-party offices are open evenings and weekends.

Do not pay for the vehicle until you have verified the title can be transferred.

Please note: New liens are added to vehicles every day; therefore, you are taking a risk if you check the record and pay for the vehicle a later time.

See also the page Purchasing a Vehicle from a Private Seller.

The Arizona Ombudsman – Citizens Aide helps you resolve ongoing issues with State Agencies.

Civil Rights

Pursuant to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other nondiscrimination laws and authorities, ADOT does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. Persons that require a reasonable accommodation based on language or disability should contact ADOT’s Civil Rights Office at Requests should be made as early as possible to ensure the State has an opportunity to address the accommodation.

De acuerdo con el Título VI de la Ley de Derechos Civiles de 1964, la Ley de Estadounidenses con Discapacidades (ADA por sus siglas en inglés) y otras normas y leyes antidiscriminatorias, el Departamento de Transporte de Arizona (ADOT) no discrimina por motivos de raza, color, origen nacional, sexo, edad o discapacidad. Las personas que requieran asistencia (dentro de lo razonable) ya sea por el idioma o discapacidad deben ponerse en contacto con la Oficina de Derechos Civiles de ADOT en Las solicitudes deben hacerse lo más antes posible para asegurar que el Estado tenga la oportunidad de hacer los arreglos necesarios.