Title Check – Look before you buy
Welcome to Title Check!
Here you can select an approved provider to check the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of the vehicle you want to purchase to find out if it is salvaged, rebuilt, or was damaged in a flood. This is one of the most important steps you can take to protect yourself before making your purchase.
Here's what you do to complete a Title Check:
- Get the VIN of the vehicle you want to buy.
- Have your credit card available.
- Select one of the approved providers below. Prices begin at only a couple dollars so you may want to shop the vendors before making a selection. Be sure to note what is offered for the price.
- Follow the steps to obtain the report.
The VIN is run through the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS), a national consumer protection database that provides title information from states across the country. Whether you are buying from a local dealer, individual or eyeing a vehicle from an online auction website, it will help you to know what you are buying before you pay any money or sign any paperwork for the vehicle.
A report from the NMVTIS database gives you the vehicle’s title history, which includes whether the vehicle was ever in the possession of a junk or salvage yard or declared a “total loss” by an insurance company.
Protect your title, Texas.
For Consumers &
The providers below are approved by the U.S. Department of Justice to provide information from the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) to the public. These approved providers agree to provide NMVTIS reports that meet federal requirements. When you select an approved provider, you will leave the TxDMV website and be routed to the provider’s website.
Please note: Consumers CANNOT receive NMVTIS Title History Reports from Carfax, CVR, DMVDesk, or Experian; these four entities provide information only to car dealerships.
If you received a letter from us indicating a title brand was applied to your title from another state, you can:
- Contact the state that reported the brand if you believe the information about the vehicle is incorrect.
- Obtain a statement from an official written on the reporting state’s letterhead that provides either verification the brand is not in the state’s motor vehicle record or was applied to the vehicle in error.
- Mail the Texas Title (if you have already received it), the original statement (make a copy for yourself) you received on the reporting state’s letterhead and your request to remove the brand to:
Texas Department of Motor Vehicles
Vehicle Titles and Registration Division
P.O. Box 26420
Austin, Texas 78755-0420
We will review the information submitted and notify you whether a new Texas Title will be issued without the brand.
If you need additional assistance, please contact us at the phone number listed in the letter.
Title Brands &
What They Mean
How to Buy a Used Vehicle
When you buy a used vehicle in Texas, the state does not provide any warranty or consumer protection on the reliability of that vehicle. It is up to you to make sure you are doing everything you can protect yourself – whether you are buying from a dealer or individual.
For passenger cars and pickup trucks, dealers are required by law to post a “Buyers Guide” on the vehicle, which will tell you whether it is being sold “as is” or with a warranty.
- Title Check. Before you buy, take down the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and go to Title Check on the TxDMV website to use the national motor vehicle database to make sure the vehicle has a clean title.
- Mechanic Inspection. Have a trusted mechanic look over the vehicle before you sign any paperwork or pay any money, including a down payment.
- Service Report. Use a vehicle history company to get accident repair and maintenance records.
- Sales Contract. Be sure to read all of the documents, including sales agreements or buyer’s orders before you sign them.
- Vehicle Title. Never, ever walk away from a private sale without the title. Have the seller sign, date and enter the odometer reading on the back of the title.
- Application for Texas Title and/or Registration (Form 130-U). Make sure the seller signs and writes the vehicle sales price on this form, which you must have to apply for your title.
- Vehicle Transit Permit. The seller should keep the vehicle plates. Downloading the Vehicle Transit Permit from the TxDMV website gives you 5 days to legally drive the vehicle so you can go to your county tax office to apply for title and registration.
- County Tax Office. You must apply for a new title within 30 days of purchasing the vehicle or you will be charged financial penalties.
For more information, please visit the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) website.
Besides the title history, the TxDMV recommends you also consider purchasing a complete vehicle history service report from one of many private companies that offer this service. These reports generally include maintenance and repair records. We also recommend that you have the vehicle inspected by a reputable mechanic before making your purchase.
If you have purchased a vehicle from a Texas dealer and you discover an issue with the vehicle’s title history, you may want to file a Consumer Complaint with TxDMV's Enforcement Division.
On October 25, 1992, President George H.W. Bush signed the Anti Car Theft Act, which he called “absolutely critical if we are to strike back against auto thieves...”
The act calls for the creation and use of the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System to stop title fraud; vehicle export inspections to look for stolen vehicles; stiffer penalties for car thieves and chop shop operators; and makes carjacking a federal crime.
“These criminals, who show no respect for the lives or property of law-abiding Americans, must be punished in the strongest possible manner,” President Bush said.
The U.S. Department of Justice took over the motor vehicle database system in 1996. The TxDMV has partnered with the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators to administer NMVTIS. The system protects consumers from fraud and unsafe vehicles and helps keep stolen vehicles from being resold.
Texas is known for aggressively fighting title fraud and auto theft. The TxDMV actively investigates consumer complaints and title fraud cases, often assisting law enforcement. The agency also is home to the Auto Burglary and Theft Prevention Authority, which provides grants to law enforcement agencies and teaches consumers how to prevent auto theft and burglary.