Gone Outdoors

How Do I Find Out if a Lien Is on an ATV with the VIN?

by Duncan Jenkins

Vehicle identification numbers (VINs) are ID numbers that track the life of a motor vehicle or ATV. Research using a VIN can reveal accidents, tickets, repair work and loans (called liens). Lien holders place liens on vehicles and ATVs usually to secure a loan for the vehicle itself. However, sometimes liens are placed on vehicles when an owner has not paid taxes on the vehicle. If you need to find out if an ATV has any liens on it, you will only need a VIN.

Collect all the information you have about the ATV. If the ATV is yours, you need to collect all ownership documents, including a purchase and sale agreement and loan agreement (if applicable). Of course, make sure you have the accurate VIN. This identity number will contain both numbers and letters.

Contact the owner of the ATV if you do not own the vehicle. You will need to get the owner's or borrower's consent to check the ATV title at the DMV. These documents are not a matter of public records, like property liens. It's best to have the owner come with you to the DMV.

Visit your local DMV office. Make sure you have copies of a signed authorization to review personal ownership information, if the owner cannot come with you. If you own the vehicle, make sure you have copies of all of your ownership documents.

Speak with a DMV representative. Give her the documents related to the ATV, included the VIN. She should be able to pull up records fairly quickly. You can both ask about outstanding liens on the ATV and get a copy of the title report for the ATV.

Contact the lien holder if the lien is not valid. You will need a lien discharge for the DMV to remove this lien.

Items you will need
  • Ownership documents
  • Proof of identity (photo ID)

About the Author

Based in Eugene, Ore., Duncan Jenkins has been writing finance-related articles since 2008. His specialties include personal finance advice, mortgage/equity loans and credit management. Jenkins obtained his bachelor's degree in English from Clark University.

Photo Credits

  • black atv image by Dumitrescu Ciprian from Fotolia.com