Removing a Lien in South Carolina

When you take out a loan to pay for your new car in South Carolina, there will be a lien placed on your title. The car won't legally be considered yours until you've paid your car loan in full and have the lien removed from your title. You can do that through the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

What Is a Vehicle Lien?

A lien is a legal agreement that will let a service provider, lender or property owner take legal recourse in the event that they don't receive full payment for a loan or service bill.

The lien on your SC car title will allow your lienholder to repossess your car if you default on your loan or stop making payments.

The SC DMV or your lienholder will have to notify you before this happens.

South Carolina Lienholders

The company or individual advancing either money or services in a transaction is typically the lienholder. The person or business who issued your car loan is the lienholder on your South Carolina car title.

As the lienholder, this person or corporation will be in possession of your title until your car loan has been satisfied.

Removing a Lien from a SC Title

Once you have paid off your car loan, your lender can release the lien on your SC vehicle title, allowing you to complete an auto title transfer through the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Your lender can release the lien:

  • Electronically, if there is an electronic title.
  • By completing the lien release section on the title certificate.
  • By submitting a letter written on their letterhead. This letter must include:
    • Your (owner's) name.
    • The vehicle identification number (VIN).
    • The title number.
    • A signature of an authorized company representative.

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