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Why a Clean Car Title Matters

March 20, 2023

A car title shows the legal owner of a car along with that car's overall value. Having a clean title adds greater value to your car and can help you get more out of your title.

There are key car terms that every car owner needs to know like what a car title is and what a clean title is. A title is the primary legal document that shows you own your car and that title being clean makes your car more valuable as a financial asset. 

Yes, cars are tools that get us from point A to point B, but they are also collateral that can be an investment with resale, trade-in, and title loan value. 

Whether you are buying a vehicle, selling a vehicle, or getting a car loan, the title to your motor vehicle is a very important document. Not only does it show the owner of a vehicle, but it dictates a lot of the value a car has. Practice responsible vehicle maintenance by making a car maintenance schedule and reap the benefits of a clean title.


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What is a Car Title?

car title definition

One of the many papers you’ll need to take care of when purchasing a car is the title to that car. This legal document is what shows the legal ownership of the car. You need the car title in order to officially own the car. A car title might include some of the following information: 

  • The make, model, and year of the car 
  • The car’s Vehicle Identification Number or VIN number
  • The car owner’s information and driver’s license 
  • The car’s license plate
  • Any auto loan information on the car 
  • A vehicle history report 

A title can include any important information about the car like any liens on the title and the information of the lien holders. It also shows identification information for the car like the VIN number, make, model, and year, the license plate number, technical information about the car like its weight, and the car owner’s information. 

What Does A Clean Title Mean?

A clean title doesn’t necessarily mean a perfect car. But it does mean that the car isn’t a salvage car. What does a salvage title mean? Salvage vehicles mean that the car is a total loss. 

That’s right, there aren’t only clean titles and dirty titles, there are in fact many title statuses that your car could fall under. The status of your car’s title can mean a lot for you and your vehicle like how much the car is worth

clean title definition

A Clean Title means that everything is great with the car. It might need repairs, but the repairs won’t cost more than the car is worth. Clean titles have an easier time being sold for the best values since there aren’t concerns like damages that aren’t worth fixing or debts. Warranties and car insurance also come easier for clean titles.

clear title definition

A Clear Title means that there are no existing debts or liens on the car. Clear titles make it easier to sell a car because there are no other owners registered under the car’s title. If you are looking to sell your car, you’ll ideally want a clean and clear title. 

salvage title definition

A Salvage Title means that the car has been wrecked and damaged to the point that repair costs will cost more than the car is worth. It could also signify a car that hasn’t been worked on yet. Salvage title vehicles have difficulty passing car inspections or getting car insurance. 

rebuilt title definition

A Rebuilt Title means that the car has been reconstructed, rebuilt, or repaired. Usually, the damages that were repaired cost more than the car is worth, but those repairs are done now. Rebuilt titles can also be referred to as reconstructed titles. A reconstructed car could also be a car that has received upgrades that cost more than the car is worth. 

Why Does a Clean Title Matter?

A clean title adds value to your car that will matter in situations like trading in your vehicle, refinancing your car, or using your car as collateral for a title loan. The status of a “Clean Title” is only removed if your car is damaged to the point that the repairs would cost more than the vehicle is worth.

This type of damage is usually caused by a car accident or by neglecting routine car maintenance. By being a responsible driver and car owner you can maintain a clean title on your car and reap the benefits of a clean title. 

Car Maintenance Tips to Keep a Clean Title

car wash, clean title, clear title, car maintenance

Maintaining your car correctly can be one way to maintain a clean title that will be worth more to you in the long term. Your car’s user manual can be a good place to find vehicle maintenance guidelines for your car.

The following car maintenance tips are some of the primary things you should be doing for your car to make sure it’s cared for and decrease the rate of car depreciation. 

  • Wash your car
  • Clean the car interior 
  • Change the oil regularly according to your car’s manual 
  • Check belts and hoses during oil changes 
  • Check car fluids like windshield washer fluid, engine oil, coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid, and transmission fluid 
  • Check headlights, tail lights, brake lights, fog lights, high beams, signal lights, hazards, and interior lights 
  • Rotate or replace tires as needed 
  • Replace windshield wiper blades as needed 
  • Change the air filter 
  • Get your brake pads checked