Car Titles! HELP!



I got married, then moved to NC and now I need to register my car in NC. However, before I can do this the DMV said I need to change my last name on my car title (that I don’t own yet) and have Toyota send them a copy of the new title. Toyota says they don’t physically create new titles and so they can’t send it to the DMV. I’m so confused! I feel like this should be easier than it has been.

Any advice?


You may have to go through the DMV of the state in which you originally registered the car. The state is the only entity who can issue a new title or change an existing title.


I just called the MA RMV and they said that I should just be able to go to the NC DMV with my marriage certificate and that should suffice. But, I’ve tried that already and that isn’t good enough apparently. They also said that unless I own my car title (which I don’t) I can’t change my last name on the title.
I don’t know who’s right in this situation or who to call!


Contact the NC DMV again and explain the problem. If you don’t get an immediate solution, ask to speak to a supervisor. Maybe a supervisor can help you. If not, try the MA RMV again and repeat the process. I can’t believe that this is the first time this has happened. There has to be a solution that doesn’t require refinancing the car.


At the moment, since you do not own the car, your name is not yet on ANY title. When you finish paying for the car, you will get a title in your name…To REGISTER the car in NC you should not need a title, just your old Mass registration and a copy of your sales / finance agreement. Use your maiden name if necessary on the NC registration.


Agreed with Mr. Sanders. It’s possible that you’re dealing with someone at the local DMV office who simply has no idea and rather than look uninformed is dishing out incorrect info.

In the past I’ve had 2 problems with motorcycle titles and the local office gave me grief to no end. One involved a duplicate title on a cycle that had been registered to me for 4 years and the other was a cycle I purchased from CA.

With the latter, I had enough paperwork on that bike to sink a battleship and they would not issue me a title after 3 trips in. Finally they told me not to come back because no way was a title going to happen.
This led to my going to the office at the state capital complex that oversees this. The gentleman there looked at the folder full of paperwork (clean title, certifications from the LAPD, CA Highway Patrol, Orange County Sheriff, notarized bill of sale, etc. along with certificates from the OK Highway Patrol, Sheriff’s office, etc.) and was dumbfounded the local office had not issued a title.

It took this gentleman less than 2 minutes to sort through it and he immediately called a lady in to issue a title then and there.
In turn, this did lead to my going back to the local office with the title and tag and sarcastically rubbing their faces in the mud a bit.


Definitely try another DMV office. I bought a used car about a year ago, and there was an issue with the VIN on the title differing by one digit on the loan paperwork. The bank sent a letter acknowledging and correcting the error, but the DMV lady would have none of that. Long story short, it took me a week and trips to 3 different DMV offices to get someone to process me on through. I received a different answer from every DMV about my course of action. So shop around for someone who will work with you. I realized, though there are laws and guidelines, there is no “universal gospel” when registering a vehicle. Find the right person, get it done, and get out with your tags!


In every DMV office, there is usually ONE PERSON who knows how to do it…You just need to find THAT PERSON…


First, I think Mass DMV is correct on this. Not sure why NC reps are being so difficult with this.

As a practical matter, leaving the title alone and getting the car registered in your maiden name is not a big deal and meets NC DMV registration requirements. You can choose to notify NC of your married name changes later, both on vehicle registration and driver’s license.

Are you or your spouse happen to be in the military? If so, and are getting no help from NC DMV, contact your Legal Assistance Office for help. They have a lot of experience in helping navigate through issues like this.


In my case, trips No. 2 and 3 involved dealing with the lady who ran the place and she’s the one who told me to get lost in a sarcastic manner.

The gentleman at the state office who ironed the problem out said that some of these DMV people are “somewhat stramge” to use his words and I won’t disagree with that.


I’ve never bought a car on credit, so I’m a little unclear about this. How is your name on the title of a car you don’t own?


I can speak for Kansas and Missouri. You, the future owner, get your name on the title, and the bank/credit company is listed under applicable liens in a separate block. If you try to sell the car without getting the lien removed, the car cannot be retitled or sold until the lien release paperwork is processed.

This process avoids a second title transaction when the lien is fulfilled.