If you cannot find the title to your car, your dealership may let you trade it in anyway. The state requirements for ownership transfers differ widely. Obtaining a replacement title is your best bet, but if your dealership's state allows, you may be able to authorize the dealer to obtain the new title, in which case you'll have to go back to sign it. Several scenarios exist; learn how to handle each one.
Replacing a Title
Go to a motor vehicle office with the following documents in hand: your state driver's license and the vehicle's current registration.
Tell the motor vehicle representative you want to purchase a replacement title for your vehicle. Fill out any forms required.
Pay for the title and take it back to the dealership to complete your trade. If your state does not provide instant titles, ask the dealership if they would prefer you order one through the state or order it from the dealership, before you order.
Financed Vehicles in Title Holding States
Allow your salesperson to collect your social security number and vehicle information. He will call the bank to retrieve the vehicle's payoff amount and overnight payoff address.
Work with the dealership and follow its instructions for paying off the vehicle's loan, which the dealer must do to own your vehicle outright. This is part of daily business for a dealership, as it cannot purchase a vehicle from a customer without satisfying the loan.
Sign the dealership authorization form. Each dealer has its own form that states vehicle information, payoff address and amount. You must sign the form to acknowledge the dealer is paying for the car. Your signature authorizes them to do so.
Dealership Title Replacement
Follow your dealer's instruction to obtain a new title. The process varies by dealer and state. Many have a process to order your title as "rushed," which is more expensive for you but hurries the process in states that do not offer an instant title. Otherwise, the dealer may require you to sign a Power of Attorney form, which allows them to order and sign the title on your behalf.
Sign a duplicate title form and pay the dealer for the replacement or rushed title fee, if this is required by the dealer. Once the title arrives, you must bring it to the dealer immediately and sign it where requested.
Read the Power of Attorney form over completely and sign where requested, if this is what the dealer requires. This way, the dealer can handle the vehicle's titling itself and you can complete your car deal without having to return to sign the tile or drop it off.