If you are buying a vehicle privately, it’s important to ensure you’re aware if there is a lien (money owing) on the vehicle. It’s common for there to be a lien on a vehicle. It’s also very important that you know how to ensure the lien has been properly paid off before purchasing a vehicle that has a lien on it.

A car lien is an interest in the car that the owner grants to another party (such as a bank, financial institution, or other party), usually as security or collateral for a debt, until such debt has been discharged.

If there is a lien, make sure it's cleared before you take possession of the vehicle or else you could become legally responsible for paying it back.

In some instances, a seller/owner may have recently paid off their loan balance, but a lien is still being reported against the vehicle. This is because it can take some time for the lender and province to cancel/de-register the lien.

If the owner/seller says the balance has been paid in full, please see: I paid my debt but there is still a lien showing on my vehicle's Vehicle History Report + Lien Check. What do I do?

NOTE: Once cleared from the registry records, existing CARFAX Canada Vehicle History Report + Lien Check reports for the VIN will not update to reflect this change. To obtain a Vehicle History Report + Lien Check for the VIN showing “No Lien Records Found,” a new report would need to be ordered.