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Why You Should Inspect the Title BEFORE You Buy a Used Vehicle in Oklahoma

Posted by David Humphreys | May 21, 2020 | 0 Comments

What You Need to Know About the Color of a Vehicle Title in Oklahoma

It's a fact. Buying a new (to you) vehicle is an exciting time. Do not get swept away by the excitement and end up with a salvage, junk or previous lemon law vehicle. We want to give you the information you need to know about vehicle history based on the title is has been issued by the State of Oklahoma.  

Ask a Used Car Dealer to Show You the Vehicle Title Before You Agree to Sign Anything 

We recommend strongly that you require a used car dealer to show you the title before you sign purchase documents. First, you want to be sure the dealer HAS the title, which is proof of ownership. Second, you want to inspect the title by looking at its color and for other important information. You should be suspicious if a dealer or prior owner refuses to show you the title before you buy. Do they not have the title? What are they trying to hide?

When inspecting the title, you should look for the name of a finance company listed on the front face of the title. If you see any finance company listed, this means that there is an existing lien in favor of the finance company or a bank. This must be paid off by the used vehicle dealer before you buy it, or it could be subject to a repossession. Do not buy a vehicle with a lien unless they can show you a lien release from the same finance company listed on the title showing the lien is paid off. 

What You Should Look For When Inspecting a Used Vehicle Title 

GREEN TITLE. This is the one everyone is most familiar with. It means that the title is "unbranded." It can be either an original title, a transfer title or even a "repossession" title, meaning that the vehicle was previously repossessed, likely for nonpayment and requires you to further investigate the vehicle history and condition. SEE BELOW FOR WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TO REVIEW ON A GREEN TITLE. 

ORANGE TITLE.  Be very wary. An Orange Title means your vehicle has been Rebuilt. This means is was wrecked or damaged, was declared a salvage loss due to the amount of damage and someone rebuilt the vehicle and had the title changed from either an Original Green Title or from a Red Salvage Title. 

RED TITLE. DO NOT purchase a vehicle with a RED Title unless you are an expert in auto body and mechanical repair. This vehicle has been damaged beyond the cost generally accepted to be economically worthwhile to repair.  

BLUE TITLE. The vehicle has been JUNKED. This means it cannot be lawfully operated on a highway and is unsafe to drive. 

PURPLE TITLE. This means the vehicle has been stolen and reported to law enforcement. It usually has been paid off as a total loss by an insurance company. The vehicle has not been recovered from the theft. It is likely a stolen vehicle and driving it subjects you to more trouble than you want to deal with. AVOID. 

YELLOW TITLE. This vehicle has been "Rebodied" meaning it is built from parts of two vehicles or has a new chassis. 

Even if the title is GREEN, you need to insect for the words "Branded", "Insurance Loss" or "Recovered Theft Loss." These brands indicate the vehicle has a mark on its history in the past, often in another state. 

We recommend that you carefully investigate the history of any vehicle carrying any brand on the title. The business of shady car dealers is to buy a vehicle with a bad history for less money and to sell it without full and truthful disclosure of that history for more than it would otherwise be worth.

Can I Rely on a Car-Fax or Auto Check Report Instead?

TIP: Do not be fooled into thinking that a Car Fax or Auto Check report is more than what it really is. These data bases only contain summaries of information given by others of a vehicle's title history. It is not a title history itself and it is often contains misleading or untrue information. Think about it: if you were a shady car dealer and wanted to hide the fact that a vehicle had been totaled out of state, would you report the wreck damage?

These reports are generally not even useful as evidence in Court as proof of a vehicle's title history. They are helpful to identify the states where a vehicle has been titled but a certified title history from each state must be ordered, studied and used as a starting point to obtain the full and truthful history to determine if a vehicle has been wrecked, totaled, salvaged or been stolen. 

 

About the Author

David Humphreys

David Humphreys has been practicing law since 1987. He was a member of the first class (1994) of the Gerry Spence Trial Lawyers College, Dubois, Wyoming. He was recognized in 2004 by the college, along with his partner, Luke Wallace, as the Warriors of the Year for the 18-state South Central regi...

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