How to Put a Lien on a Car

by Brooke Pierce

Placing a lien on a car is a procedure that entails the use of a car’s title for collateral. When putting lien on a car, consider the regulations and laws that exist in your state. A lien holder can be an individual or an organization to which the applicant owes money. The title of the car will be held by the holder until the debt is paid in full. When placing a lien on a car, notify the titleholder. To put a lien on a car, follow specific steps.

Items you will need

  • Legal filing forms

  • Preliminary notice

  • Copy of your state's laws and regulations

  • Proof of service provided

Confirm laws and regulations.

Acquire the legal documents required by your state, which you can obtain from the courthouse or your country’s government website.


As an example, the legal requirements in California on lien is governed by civil code section 3110. The preliminary notice should be filed in 20 days’ time. The lien in California should be filed earlier than 90 days from the completion of the service or 60 days from the recording of the notice of completion. By contrast, legal requirements in New York require that the lien be served five days before its filing and 30 days after the filing of the preliminary notice.

Wait for failure of payment.

Wait until the customer fails to pay for the service given within the states given time as indicated previously. If the client is showing no signs of planning for payment, move to step 3.

Give preliminary notice.

Provide this to the customer or client within a period of 10 to 20 days after delivery of service. depending on your state's requirements. Indicate clearly the addresses and names of all the individuals involved in the business transaction. Give full details of the services you provided and where you offered the service.


For more information on legal matters, you can always contact your county’s clerk.

File a lien.

Wait for the consumer to respond to the notice. If he does not respond, file a lien with respect to the period required by your state. Your county will most likely require that you fill out a particular court form.


File the lien in the county where the client’s car is located. You may need to write a lien on your own or with the aid of a lawyer to ensure that it contains all of the important information required.

File a foreclosure suit

If the client responds to the lien, a court date will be set, which you and the client will attend. If the client does not pay after you have issued the lien, file a foreclosure suit within a particular amount of time to enforce it.


If you don't file a foreclosure charge before the required date, the lien will become invalid, and the car owner will not be obligated to paying back the debt.

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