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Why would I need the title number for my vehicle?
Drivers might need to find the title number for the vehicle for a variety of reasons. Most of these are administrative.
Selling your car
The title number is quite helpful when contacting your local department of motor vehicles in the event that you are selling your car. Not everyone keeps track of their title throughout moves or the number of documents people often need to keep safe for use from time to time, like birth certificates and social security cards.
If your title is damaged or not legible, the title number might be a good source of info when replacing your title - when you don’t want to record the VIN number or can’t find it.
Giving the department of motor vehicles the title number can help them quickly reprint and send you a title in replacement.
Putting a lien on your car
Some states allow you to take out a loan on your vehicle, which involves placing a “lien” on your vehicle. The lien indicates a bank or institution owns the vehicle until a lien is paid back. Every vehicle that was purchased with a loan already has at least one lien on it.
The title number can be provided to the loan company so that they can confirm that they own the rights to the vehicle if the person taking the loan doesn’t repay.
What’s the easiest way to find my title number?
Let’s start by thinking about what a title does. The title indicates ownership of the vehicle for government and bank purposes. You’ll find names, addresses, dates, and information about the vehicle printed. Many of these printed items are changed only every few years when the vehicle trades hands.
The title number is amongst the most important numbers to find since it helps identify the vehicle without having to tell the DMV or loan company the entire 16 digit VIN or attempting to identify, specially, one of many, many same makes and models.
So the easiest way to find one of the most important numbers on the title is to look in the top left. Why? People read English from left to right, so it should be right in front of your eyes when you begin looking at the title.
The title number is also amongst the only numbers that won’t change for that title - so it’s in a place where it will remain static. Also, know that once you transfer the title, the title number changes for the next owner.
Will I need a magnifying glass to find my title number?
Maybe reading glasses! The title number on a California title isn’t too small - though it does attempt to fit with plenty of other info on the title and does blend in a little. The title number is actually well located to the left of the “Certificate of Title” header and rather separate from anything else. The word “AUTOMOBILE” also appears directly below it.
What happens if I give the wrong number?
The bank or department of motor vehicles will know fast enough, because they won’t be able to find the title number or it won’t be for the right person.
Thankfully it’s difficult for either company to mistaken the title number for the VIN number. The VIN number is printed below the title number and is 16 digits. When your banker or department of motor vehicle is seeking the title number, the VIN won’t fit - so don’t worry about that!
Is the title number an important number to know?
Not really. The title number isn’t used at all that often. Many automotive lenders can reissue you a title without the title number though it is a rather quick and easy way to identify your vehicle to some banks. Others will be fine with personal info like an account number, social security, or other pertinent info.
So no, you probably don’t need to memorize your title number. You might say or use it once or twice during your ownership of a vehicle.
Can I use the title number to look up a vehicle after I sell it?
Nope, the title number applies to the person on the title only. In other words, it will change when the next owner receives the new title for the vehicle. You won’t be able to look up the vehicle in the future without the new title number.
Any other useful info on the title?
Most of the rest of the information on a title is unique to the vehicle, like the VIN. Otherwise, the title states information about vehicle ownership and has names and contact info that can be used at the DMV or dealer.
While you certainly could find the VIN number for your vehicle on the title, most will likely use more convenient methods like their insurance cards or insurance app, which allow copy and paste. Still, it’s certainly available to see.
About The Author
I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.Read More About Charles Redding