Removing a Lien in Maine

On this page, we’ll go over what it means to have a lien on your vehicle title and the steps to removing one once you’ve paid off your auto loan in Maine.

What Is a Maine Car Lien?

A car lien—also known as a security interest—is a legal claim a car loan lender places on your vehicle title when you borrow money to purchase a vehicle.

When you take out an auto loan to buy a vehicle, your lender—or lienholder—places a lien on your car title and is the legal owner until you pay off the loan, after which the lender releases the lien through the Maine Secretary of State (SOS) and Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV).

Other Types of Liens

While car title liens are usually related to car loans, there are other times when a person or business might place a lien on your car title. 

For example, if you fail to pay for vehicle-related services such as repairs, towing, or storage, the business owner can put a lien on your title. Or, if you use your car as collateral in a transaction, the other party can place a lien on your title until the transaction is satisfied.

Whenever you’re in one of these situations, you must work out the lien satisfaction and release process with the new lienholder and the ME BMV.

Who Are Lienholders in ME?

When it comes to the usual type of car title lien (associated with paying off an auto loan), a lienholder is the person or business who issued your car loan.

Your lienholder might be a:

  • Bank or other financial institution.
    • These are the most common types of lienholders.
  • Car dealer.
  • Individual person who lent you money to buy the vehicle.

Even though you have possession of the car, your lienholder is the vehicle’s legal owner and keeps the car title until you pay off your auto loan. Additionally, your lienholder can repossess the car if you stop making loan payments, which can have detrimental effects on your credit and ability to take out car loans in the future. 

Remove a Car Title Lien in Maine

Your lender must work with the Maine Secretary of State to release the lien within 10 days of you satisfying the loan AND give the car title to you.

When you receive your car title, make sure the lienholder completed the proper section, noting the lien release and indicating there’s no longer a lienholder. The properly completed car title acts as your clear car title, and so you’re not required to apply for a new title. However, you do have the option apply for a new title without any lien information on it for $33, if desired.

Remember, it’s your lienholder’s responsibility to notify the Maine SOS that you’ve satisfied your lien.

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