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What is Vehicle Title

  • Accidents
  • Values
  • Title Records
  • Recalls
  • Problem Checks
  • Specs
  • Sales History
  • Odometer
  • Salvage Records
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What is a Vehicle Title

Are you considering buying a used vehicle? It's crucial to uncover the hidden history of the vehicle you're dealing with. Or perhaps you want to sell your current car? The vehicle title search at GoodCar will be your one-stop solution for accessing detailed title reports that reveal essential information about a vehicle's past. Gain peace of mind and make informed decisions with our comprehensive and reliable title search.

Simply put, a car title is a legal document that establishes ownership of a motor vehicle. It is also commonly referred to as a "vehicle title," "pink slip," or "ownership certificate." This title contains vital details about the car, including its make, model, year of manufacture, and unique Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). Additionally, it includes the owner's name and address, as well as any lienholders or financial institutions with a financial interest in the vehicle.

What is Included in Vehicle History Reports?

Look up GoodCar’s best-in-class and affordable Vehicle History Reports by VIN or license plate. Find title records, auto specs, accidents and damage history, problem checks, pricing, and more information! Explore GoodCar records to find (when available):

Title Records

  • Mileage
  • Odometer Records
  • Sales History
  • Title Brand (Problem Check)
  • Title Issues

Problem Checks

  • Junk and Salvage
  • Total Loss
  • Recalls and Defects
  • Flood Damage
  • Theft and Vandalism
  • Fire Damage
  • Hail Damage
  • Accidents
  • Clunkers Repair
  • Rebuild Records
  • Reconstructed
  • Saltwater Damage
  • Crashed
  • Hazardous
  • Dismantled
  • Refurbished
  • Test Vehicle
  • Collision Records
  • Warranty Returns
  • Gray Market
  • Remanufactured
  • Police or Taxi
  • Former Rental
  • Lien Records
  • And More!


  • Trade-In
  • Retail
  • Private Party
  • Residuals

Automobile Specs

  • Engine Type
  • Transmission Type
  • Standard Specifications
  • Optional Specifications
  • Standard Generic Equipment
  • Entertainment and Technology
  • Exterior and Interior Features
  • Optional Generic Equipment
  • OEM Options
  • Exterior/Interior Colors
  • Safety Equipment
  • EPA MPG (Fuel Economy)

Additional Information

  • Sales History
  • Manufacturer Information
  • Awards & Accolades
  • NHTSA Recalls
  • NHTSA Crash Test Ratings
  • Location History
  • Performance
  • Safety & Security
  • Warranties

The Purpose of a Car Title

The primary purpose of a car title is to provide a clear and traceable history of ownership for a motor vehicle. This documentation helps protect the rights of the owner and ensures a transparent transfer of ownership when the vehicle is sold or transferred to another party. The title serves as a crucial legal record that denotes who possesses the rights to the vehicle at any given time.

Components of a Car Title

A standard car title consists of several key components that provide comprehensive information about the vehicle and its ownership status. These components include:

Vehicle Identification Number (VIN):
The VIN is a unique 17-character alphanumeric code assigned to each vehicle. It acts as the car's fingerprint, providing detailed information about its manufacturer, model, and features. The VIN is used for identification and tracking purposes, making it an essential element of the car title.

Make, Model, and Year:
This section of the title specifies the car's brand or manufacturer, its model name, and the year it was manufactured. These details help identify the specific vehicle in question.

Owner's Information:
The registered owner's name and address are recorded on the title, solidifying their legal ownership rights to the vehicle.

Lienholder Information:
If the vehicle has an outstanding loan or financing, the name and contact information of the lienholder (lender) will be listed on the title. This indicates that the vehicle is collateral for the loan, and the lien holder holds a financial interest in the car until the loan is repaid.

Title Brand:
In some cases, a car title may include a "title brand" that indicates a specific title status or history of the vehicle. Examples of title brands include "salvage," “junk”, “hail and fire damage”, "rebuilt," "flood-damaged," “total loss” (totaled car) or "lemon law buyback." These brands provide crucial insights into potential issues with the vehicle.

Why is a Title Report Important?

A title report is a comprehensive record that reveals crucial details about a vehicle's history. When you're in the market for a used vehicle, a title report is your best defense against potential title fraud, undisclosed issues, or hidden problems. Here are the key points that come up in a vehicle title search report:

Mileage/Odometer Records

The mileage or odometer reading is an essential factor when evaluating a vehicle's value and condition. A trustworthy title report will include a detailed log of past mileage readings, giving you insights into how much the vehicle has been driven over the years. This information can help you spot any discrepancies or signs of tampering that might indicate odometer fraud.

Sales History

The sales history section of the title report provides a valuable overview of the vehicle's past transactions. You'll be able to see how many times the car has changed hands and when each transfer occurred. Understanding the sales history helps you gauge the popularity and desirability of the vehicle and may uncover recurring ownership patterns.

Title Brands (Problem Checks)

Title brands are labels applied to a vehicle's title to indicate its status, such as salvaged, rebuilt, flooded, or lemon law buyback. These title brands can have a significant impact on the vehicle's value and safety. A title report will identify any title brands associated with the vehicle, giving you insight into potential issues that may affect its performance or resale value.

Ten of the most important title brands to watch out for include:

  1. Clean Title: A clean title is the most desirable title brand for any used vehicle. It indicates that the car has not been involved in any major accidents or sustained significant damage. Additionally, there are no outstanding liens or financial encumbrances on the vehicle. In other words, a clean title means that the car has a clear history and is free from any major issues.
  2. Salvage Title: A salvage title is issued when a vehicle has undergone significant damage, often due to a severe accident, fire, flood, or other catastrophic events. When the cost of repairing the vehicle exceeds a certain percentage of its value (as determined by state laws), the insurance company deems it a total loss and issues a salvage title. If you're considering buying a car with this type of title from a junk or salvage yard, proceed with caution. While it is possible for these vehicles to be repaired and put back on the road, they often come with unknown issues or hidden damage. Moreover, insuring a car with a salvage title can be more challenging and expensive.
  3. Rebuilt Title: Rebuilt titles are given to a vehicle that was previously classified as salvage but has since been repaired and restored to a roadworthy condition. Rebuilt vehicle titles are issued after the necessary repairs and safety inspections have been completed to ensure that the car meets the state's road safety standards. Buying a car with a rebuilt title can be a viable option, especially if the repairs were done correctly. However, it is crucial to have the vehicle thoroughly inspected by a trusted mechanic to verify its condition and ensure it meets safety standards.
  4. Flood Damage Title: A flood damage title is assigned to vehicles that have been damaged by flooding. These cars are usually considered salvage, as water damage can cause extensive and often irreparable harm to a vehicle's electrical and mechanical systems. Flood-damaged vehicles may suffer from hidden issues that can arise later, leading to costly repairs. Before purchasing a car from an area prone to flooding or with a flood-damage title, it's essential to have a professional inspection done to identify any water-related problems.
  5. Lemon Law Buyback Title: A lemon law buyback title is applied to vehicles that were bought back by the manufacturer due to persistent defects that couldn't be repaired within a reasonable number of attempts or time frame, as defined by the lemon law. These vehicles are often repurchased from dissatisfied owners and then resold. While lemon law buybacks may have had their issues resolved by the manufacturer, potential buyers should be aware of their history and ensure they come with a comprehensive warranty to protect against recurring problems.
  6. Junk Title: A junk title is issued when a vehicle is deemed to be non-repairable or beyond economical repair. Junk title vehicles are usually sold for scrap or dismantled for parts. These cars are not roadworthy and cannot be legally driven on public roads.
  7. Theft Recovery Title: A theft recovery title is assigned to previously stolen vehicles that were later recovered by law enforcement. In many cases, these cars may not have sustained significant damage, but their titles may carry the theft recovery designation. When considering a vehicle with a theft recovery title, it's essential to ensure it was thoroughly inspected and cleared by the police to rule out any hidden issues or potential lingering problems from the theft incident.
  8. Non-Repairable Title: A non-repairable title, also known as a certificate of destruction or certificate of title destruction, is issued when a vehicle is damaged beyond any possibility of repair or when it doesn't meet the state's safety standards. These vehicles are deemed unsafe for use on public roads and are typically sold for parts or scrap.
  9. Odometer Rollback Title: An odometer rollback title is assigned to vehicles with tampered or rolled-back odometer readings. Odometer fraud involves altering the mileage displayed on the vehicle's odometer to make it appear as if the car has been driven fewer miles than it actually has. This deceptive practice is illegal and can artificially inflate the car's value. Buying a car with an odometer rollback title is risky, as it can lead to inaccurate maintenance records and conceal the true wear and tear on the vehicle.
  10. Gray Market Title: A gray market title is applied to vehicles that were imported into the United States from other countries, often bypassing the official manufacturer's distribution channels. Gray market vehicles may not meet the safety and emissions standards required for vehicles sold in the United States. Before purchasing a gray market vehicle, it's essential to verify that it complies with all relevant safety and emissions regulations, as well as confirm the availability of spare parts and services.

Identifying these title brands helps you make an informed decision and avoid potential pitfalls.

How It Works

Using Vehicle Title Search is a straightforward and seamless process:

Enter the VIN:
Start by entering the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of the vehicle you want to search. You can usually find the VIN on the dashboard or inside the side door jam on the driver’s side of your vehicle.

Generate the Report:
Our system will immediately generate a detailed vehicle history report based on the VIN you provided.

Review the Information:
Access the comprehensive vehicle history report and review the mileage records, sales history, title brands, title issues, and more.

Make Informed Decisions:
Armed with this valuable information, you'll be empowered to make informed decisions when buying or selling a vehicle.

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Unlock Your Vehicle's Title History Today!

GoodCar vehicle title search provides both historical and current vehicle data in their vehicle title reports, based on information sourced from hundreds of trusted sources, to provide our customers with the data-based solutions they need. GoodCar is also an approved NMVTIS data provider. While we always strive to provide accurate information, we cannot guarantee that all data will be current and complete. GoodCar is not responsible for any inaccuracies or discrepancies in the title reports. Conducting a thorough inspection and seeking professional advice when purchasing or selling a vehicle is essential.