Monday, July 19, 2010

How Reclaim a Lost Title (in Michigan)

Ever buy a project car and promptly lose the title before registering it? That's my SOP. Unlike most states where your new purchase would otherwise be destined to Lemons or the demo derby, Michigan has a loophole for those who have lost a title after the sale the vehicle but before transferring the title officially. I've done it twice and it's awesome. Here's how it works.

1. Get the VIN number from the vehicle in question.

2. Go to the Secretary of State's office and ask for a TR-249 form.

3. Fill out the form as accurately as possible. Even if it's not that accurate it still seems to be OK.

4. When the form is turned in, it will take about 24 hours for processing. I'm assuming that they search stolen vehicle records regarding the vehicle's VIN, etc. Don't forget to grab your pass back to the front of the line when you come back - you'll definitely have to ask for this too.

5. When the checks are passed, the SOS will give you a call informing you that your new title has been approved. If it hasn't, they will probably still call and ask you to come in. In this case I'd say don't go.

6. Go back to the SOS and get your approved Application for Title. Your car is now saved!


  1. This does work, which is how I got my $75 Neon legally on the road. It did take some convincing, but eventually the clerks at the SOS relented.

  2. It's so easy that I'm afraid that procedure could be used to wash salvage or other problem titles by dishonest dealers when the vehicle is sold to a different state. I was lucky never to be a victim of such a scam, but my friend once bought a washed junk.