Purchasing a Pre-Owned Vehicle
If you purchase a vehicle with a lien, you are responsible for payment of that lien before you can transfer the title into your name.
A service is available to check for liens and unresolved financial obligations on an Arizona titled vehicle.
Liens fall into two general categories: financial liens and other liens.
Financial liens appear on the front of the title, in the space marked "Lienholders" and are generally for a defined period of time. When the lien is paid/satisfied, the vehicle owner receives a "lien release." The owner may take the lien release to an MVD or authorized third-party office to obtain a new title or give the buyer the signed and notarized title with a lien release from the lender.
Other liens can be added electronically and are not shown on the title. They are not for a defined period of time and can be added or deleted at any time. For example, if a vehicle owner owes child support fees (Child Support lien) or court fines/fees (Operation of Law lien), a lien can be placed on the vehicle record that prevents the title from being transferred to a new owner until those fines/fees are paid. These liens must be paid before you can transfer the title into your name.
Protecting Yourself from Purchasing a Vehicle with a Lien
The buyer and seller should go to an MVD or authorized third-party office together to transfer the title. Many third-party offices are open evenings and weekends.
Do not pay for the vehicle until you have verified the title can be transferred.
Please note: New liens are added to vehicles every day; therefore, you are taking a risk if you check the record and pay for the vehicle a later time.
See also the page Purchasing a Vehicle from a Private Seller.