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What Do I Do When I Want to Trade in My Car But Can’t Find the Title?

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If you still owe money on your vehicle or have lost the title, you still can take steps to trade it in at a dealer. The appropriate process will depend on a variety of factors, including the existence of a lienholder on the title and whether the ownership of the vehicle was transferred to you or is still on record in the name of the seller.

Order a Replacement Title

If the title was transferred into your name when the vehicle was purchased but has since been lost, you can apply for a duplicate copy of the certificate of title with the DMV. This process differs between states, but generally requires an application for a duplicate title, a valid identification of the vehicle owner, a copy of the registration and a fee for the replacement. If the title has disappeared and ownership was never transferred, you may be able to go back to the previous owner and ask him or her to order a duplicate certificate of title.