How to Register Vehicle Without Title in Texas

How to Register Vehicle Without Title in Texas

So, I picked this topic because I think it will really catch people’s attention and solve a problem. I’ve noticed that my articles on different car titles get way more views. So, today’s article is about the Texas Bonded Title. I will show you how to register vehicle without title in Texas using a title bond.

Sometimes, I buy cars without titles, obtain titles for them, and then sell them. But first, I want to clarify a couple of things. This isn’t a method for getting a title for a stolen car. It doesn’t work like that. Also, it’s not for cars with a lien on them. Here’s a common scenario. John Doe owned a car, had a lien, paid it off, and received the title by mail. Instead of removing the lien at the tax office, he does nothing, loses the title, and sells the car. Now, he can’t get a duplicate title because the state still shows a lien. Or, the car gets sold multiple times, and no one knows the original owner.

Can You Get a Bonded Title in Texas?

In Texas, you can get a bonded title. This involves paying a bond in case someone later claims ownership of the car. Remember, if there’s a valid lien, a bonded title won’t work. It’s for cases where someone lost their title, or the car was sold and the new owner didn’t register it immediately and then lost the title.

You might see ads on Craigslist or Facebook saying “titles missing” or “just need a bonded title.” I find it funny because if it were that easy to get a bonded title, why wouldn’t the seller just do it? Often, people don’t know how to get a bonded title or even if they can. There’s a difference between being able to do it and knowing how to do it.

How to Register Vehicle Without Title in Texas

In this article, I’m going to guide you on how to do this legally and take you through the necessary steps. It’s pretty simple once you’ve done it once. This will be a game-changer for car dealers who purchase vehicles or individuals looking for a great car deal. Let’s begin.

1. Make Sure the Car is Legit

How to Register Vehicle Without Title in Texas

The first step when you are considering a car without a title is to ensure it’s not stolen. You can contact the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles regional office with the car’s VIN number and ask them to confirm that the vehicle isn’t stolen, especially since you are buying it without a title. You should also inquire if there’s an active lien on it. They won’t disclose the owner’s name, the lien holder, or similar details, but they will inform you about the vehicle’s stolen status and any existing lien.

This method works during office hours. Alternatively, you can reach out to your local sheriff’s department or police department at any time. Remember to use the non-emergency line.

Explain your situation, and they’ll help you check. I’ve also discovered, somewhat by chance, that there are national databases for stolen vehicles. However, be aware that these databases might have a delay of a few days. We once bought a car that appeared clean in the database but was actually stolen. So, I recommend contacting either the Texas Department of Transportation regional office, of which there are several in the state, or your local law enforcement, to double-check that the car hasn’t been reported stolen.

If the lien on the car is less than 10 years old, it’s still valid. When you are buying a bond, the bond company should check that the lien has been resolved.

When you are looking for a car and the seller says it’s not in their name, they don’t have the title, and they bought it from a friend who didn’t give them the title, here’s what to do. If you contact the DMV and they confirm there is no valid lien on the car, you are good to go. At this point, make sure the seller gives you a bill of sale. It’s very important to always get a bill of sale. Also, ask for a photo of their ID. If you are not a dealer, it’s still a good idea to have it. Dealers definitely should keep a copy for their records to show the origin of their cars.

2. Fill Out Form VTR-130-SOF

How to Register Vehicle Without Title in Texas

So, you have got your bill of sale and the seller’s ID photo. You bring your car home and it’s time to do the paperwork. Get the Texas DMV Form VTR-130-SOF. It’s a downloadable PDF from the internet. You can use this link.

When you start filling out the form, the top line is straightforward. It asks for the Vehicle Identification Number, year, make, body style, and model. Just fill in those details.

Next, you’ll see ‘Vehicle purchased or obtained from’ – this is where you write the name of the person who signed your bill of sale. You also need to enter the odometer reading and specify if it’s exempt or not. Then, add the date you bought the car and its purchase price.

The section labeled ‘Applicant’ is about you. Here, you’ll enter your first name, last name, middle name, or the name of your business, depending on what’s relevant. You also need to provide your mailing address, email address, and daytime phone number. Even though they say the phone number is only required if you’re mailing the form, I suggest you include it anyway.

Then there’s a part called ‘Applicant explanation’. This is where you explain why you need a title and why you don’t already have one. For most cars, my usual explanation is, “I did not receive a title when I purchased the vehicle. The seller did not have one.” You should write something similar in the highlighted box provided.

Next, there are 11 simple questions. I’m sure you will know the answers to all of them, and they are necessary to process your application. The questions include whether you live in Texas (yes or no), if you are a military person stationed in Texas (yes or no), and if the vehicle has been titled in Texas. For our discussion, let’s say ‘yes’, but we’ll revisit this if the answer is ‘no’. Another question is whether the vehicle you are trying to title is non-repairable. The answer to this should always be ‘no’, as it’s not a non-repairable vehicle.

Let’s clarify if the vehicle you are trying to title has a salvage title. This means it’s a car that was previously considered a salvage, but it’s important to note there’s a common misunderstanding about this. In Texas, for example, there are rebuilt titles. These are for salvage cars that have been repaired and put back on the road. They are marked as ‘rebuilt’ under the odometer section in the remarks. Texas also issues salvage titles, which are pink and usually come from insurance auctions. It’s rare for someone who buys and sells cars to encounter a pink title, just so you know.

Now, do you legally own the vehicle? Yes, you do. You’ve paid for it and have a bill of sale. Next, was the vehicle made for sale or distribution in the U.S.? In almost all cases, the answer is yes. It could be a Ford, Chevy, Toyota, or any other brand that is imported. So it should meet the Department of Transportation’s safety standards.

Then, is the vehicle an assembled vehicle from new or used parts, or a kit? Usually, the answer is no. It’s not a kit car; it’s likely a mainstream brand like Toyota or Honda. Is the vehicle complete? It should be, yes. Whether it’s a fully functioning car or one with a damaged engine, it should be intact.

Lastly, is the vehicle 25 years old or older? If it is, you’ll need to state its dollar value. This is important for determining the bond value. Bonds are typically 1.5 times the vehicle’s presumed value, or in this case, 1.5 times the value assigned to your vehicle.

The final part is about the certification. Here, you need to read and confirm that everything is true and accurate. This includes confirming you own the vehicle, providing the VIN number, and so on. Then, you sign your name and add the date.

3. Mail the Form and Fee to the DMV

How to Register Vehicle Without Title in Texas

Prepare a check or money order for $15, payable to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. Put all of this in an envelope along with both the front and back pages of the form. The form will guide you, indicating that the second page is the back page. Along with the $15 payment, you need to include proof of ownership, such as the bill of sale, a copy of the seller’s driver’s license if they gave you one, and a copy of your own driver’s license or state-issued ID card. If it’s a business transaction, include a business card with your and the business’s name. These requirements are detailed in Part One of the second page.

Once you mail this off, you should get a response in about 10 days. The returned document will have a section filled out by the Texas DMV, particularly important is the last line which shows the vehicle’s value and, on the far right, the bond amount. This bond amount is what you need to secure your bond and register vehicle without title in Texas.

4. Buy a Bond

How to Register Vehicle Without Title in Texas

So, when you get this packet back, it usually includes a letter or printout from the DMV. What you really need to focus on are the first and second pages, especially the bond amount noted on the second page. With this information, you are now ready to go and purchase your bond.

You can find bonds from various places. You might search for them online. If you already work with a local insurance agent, he’s usually your best option. Often, the bond for a car is very affordable. You could purchase a car at around $500 to $2,000 without a title. The bond could cost between $50 to $100. But, be aware that some places, especially those advertising a lot online or those near the regional office in Carrollton, Texas, might charge you for a bond plus an additional fee for maintenance or service, which can sometimes equal the bond’s cost.

So, if you have a local agent, contact them and ask if they issue automobile surety bonds. If they do, take your letter to them. They’ll prepare a bond for you to sign. Along with the bond, you will receive a power of attorney and a receipt. This bond is part of what you need for your bonded title to register vehicle without title in Texas.

5. Fill Out Form 130-U and 130-SOQ

How to Register Vehicle Without Title in Texas

You’ll need to fill out the Application for Texas Title and/or Registration (Form 130-U). This form is also available on the DMV’s website and this is a link to it.

You’ll need to fill out the form as best as you can. This includes your 130-U form, signed by you with your details. Then, there’s the 130-SOQ, which is the application for a bonded title. You’ll also need proof of ownership, such as the bill of sale from the person you bought it from, your photo ID, their photo ID, and so on. Also, you’ll have the bond document from your insurance company. If you are getting bonds online, there’s a place on the bond where you need to sign. Make sure you sign your name consistently on all documents. For example, if your name is John Doe, always sign as John Doe, not John D. IV.

6. Visit Your Local County Tax Assessor

How to Register Vehicle Without Title in Texas

Take all these documents to your county tax assessor. They’ll give you a receipt for your title, and in about 10 days to 2 weeks, you’ll receive your title. It’ll be a blue title. Remember, a bonded title is different from a rebuilt salvage title. A bonded title means you have paid a bond to cover any claims someone else might have on the vehicle.

Once you have got your bonded title and the county tax office has issued your title, you will be able to successfully register vehicle without title in Texas.

However, there are two additional scenarios we need to briefly discuss before concluding the article and before you go off to find the car you wish to buy.

What if the Car is Out of State without a Title?

Firstly, let’s address the situation where the car wasn’t previously registered in Texas. If there’s no record of the vehicle in Texas, you’ll need a special form completed by a certified auto theft detail police officer. This officer is trained in VIN inspections and works in the theft department of their local police station. Most tax offices can provide contact details for such officers. They typically charge around $100 for a VIN inspection. During this inspection, they’ll also ensure the vehicle isn’t stolen and will provide you with the necessary form. This form is not available online and can only be obtained from these officers.

If you can’t get a police officer to do this, larger city police departments often have specific days each month for conducting these inspections for a fee. Contact your local law enforcement agencies, like the Harrison County Sheriff Department or Dallas Police, to find out who offers this service in your area.

What if the Car Has a Lien on It?

If a lien on the vehicle is more than 10 years old, it’s generally not a concern. However, if the lien is 10 years old or less, the bond company will need to confirm that the lien has been settled before issuing the bond. Some bond agents might just confirm this without thorough checks, focusing on collecting their fee. It’s your responsibility to ensure that any lien issues are properly resolved.

You could easily go to your local DMV office to pick up a form for a bonded title. Then, you’d drive to your insurance company to get a bond, and finally, head to the local tax office to submit all the documents. If you manage to do all this in one day, you have a good chance of registering a vehicle without title in Texas. However, if there was an unsatisfied lien holder, they would have to deal with the state regarding the bond to get their payment.

When you apply for a bonded title, the state checks for any registered owners or lien holders of the vehicle. They notify these parties, informing them that someone is attempting to get a bonded title for the vehicle. They are asked to contact the state if they have any claims against it. Most of the time, no one responds because the previous owner might have sold the car years ago and doesn’t understand why they are being contacted. Or, a lien holder might not have any record of the vehicle because the loan was paid off but not properly cleared from the DMV’s records.

However, some people can be problematic. Those who have liens on their cars, often due to title loans, might try to sell the car while pretending to be unaware of any issues. They might say they lost the title or bought the car from a relative who can’t find the title. They tell these stories to convince you to buy the car, only for you to discover later that there’s a valid lien on it. The agency holding the lien, whether it’s a credit company or a title loan company, won’t just let it go. They’ll want to be paid.

If you try to register a car and the state has already been contacted by the loan company or the original creditor before you do this, you won’t be able to register the car or transfer the title. You won’t get a title for the car in this case. However, if they contact the state after you have registered the car, maybe within a day or two, or they were just slow to act, then the issue of the bond is between the State of Texas and the loan company, title company, or whoever the original creditor is.

If the agent who wrote your bond doesn’t confirm that the loan has been paid off, you won’t be able to get a bonded title, even if you have bought the bond. The document needs to clearly state that the loan is paid off. If it doesn’t, your local county tax office won’t issue a title.


So, if you are trying to be sneaky, this isn’t going to work for you as you won’t be able to register vehicle without title in Texas. And be careful if you are dealing with sneaky sellers – I’d say about 50% of them are. It’s best to do your business during the day when you can make calls and check things out before buying. A car without a title is useless, especially if you plan to resell it. You need a title to make money from the sale. That’s about bonded titles in Texas. I believe this can simplify things for those who are trying to understand how to do it and need detailed steps. Feel free to drop any specific questions in the comments below. I’ll try my best to respond to them.

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