Frustrating Car Question
July 22, 2013 1:14 PM   Subscribe

I have a huge car financing question that is giving me a headache. I plan to travel soon so I wish to pay off the amount I owe on a car that I've financed through Toyota Financial Services. This didn't seem like it would be such a huge deal, but then I run into this gem.

From their FAQ

How long will it take to receive my title after my account is paid off?

Subject to applicable state laws, paper titles are mailed and electronic titles and/or liens are released to the motor vehicle agency approximately 10 business days after the payoff is received. Allow 15-30 days for receipt of your title based on mail time and/or motor vehicle agency interaction.

And there are horror stories from people on the net that it has taken up to 3 months to get their title and some people never have! I need to sell my car in a month or so as I'm planning a big trip and I don't want to own my stupid car or have to pay for a stupid car house. Does anyone know what I can do? I'm really desperate here.
posted by ishrinkmajeans to Work & Money (19 answers total)
Go to a dealership and have them buy the car from you. They'll pay it off, and the title will be sent to them directly. You get cash in hand.

You'll pay a bit for this in that they may not give you retail price for your car, but it's WAY easier and more convenient.

Carmax is another way to do this.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:16 PM on July 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

Or you could do the same with a private buyer. You do not have to own a car free and clear to sell it.
posted by Stewriffic at 1:18 PM on July 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

This might help.
posted by yoink at 1:18 PM on July 22, 2013

Response by poster: Does anyone know any good dealerships in the Chicago area? It's a 2011 Yaris with low mileage but it's had a few bumps. I've heard really bad things about Carmax, but that's all I know.
posted by ishrinkmajeans at 1:23 PM on July 22, 2013

Response by poster: Also, I found this form under my payoff information on the Toyota website. Can I have a third party sign it and have Toyota mail them the title if we cut them a check for the payoff amount and cuts me a check for the remainder?
posted by ishrinkmajeans at 1:31 PM on July 22, 2013

FWIW, I paid off a debt to Toyota Financial Services in April 2010; the title was back in my hands maybe in two weeks. Don't panic yet!

Or yeah, just sell it to a dealer and let them handle it.
posted by mibo at 1:33 PM on July 22, 2013

FWIW, I paid off my car title in Louisiana and the title was mailed to me pretty quickly (two weeks or so).
posted by radioamy at 1:37 PM on July 22, 2013

I've heard really bad things about Carmax, but that's all I know.

You're in a time crunch, you may not be able to be picky on price. I've told this story a couple of times around here, but I've sold 3 cars to Carmax. I wasn't happy with 2 of the deals, but I was ecstatic about the third. In all the cases, though, I wanted the car gone, wanted a non-counterfeit check in hand, and didn't want to deal with titles while they still had leins.
posted by hwyengr at 1:39 PM on July 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

I got a jaw-droppingly good deal for my elderly Corolla at Carmax. If you want to get rid of the car easily and quickly they are not a bad option.
posted by something something at 1:47 PM on July 22, 2013

In California I've paid off a couple cars and generally gotten the title in the mail in a week or two, just as anecdata.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 1:49 PM on July 22, 2013

Take your Yaris to a Toyota Dealer or two in Chicago. Don't worry about mechanical stuff or body work, they have shops, they can take care of it.

Go on line to KBB and Edumnds to get an idea of what's fair for your car. This is a negotiation, but they'll want your car.

I did this with two Hondas, we got exactly what I expected based on my research (although we got two new vehicles so...they made money off of us.)

We got the check about a week after the fact, Carmax will give you a check on the spot I believe.

Go to Carmax first, their offer is good for 10 days, then take it to a dealer or two. Pick the best offer and go!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:55 PM on July 22, 2013

We purchased a car with a lien on it from a private buyer. We really had no trouble at all. Now, part of this was because our auto loan was through the same credit union that held the lien for the seller, but it wouldn't have taken much longer. All we had to do was sign the title over. The credit union told us exactly what we had to do on both ends, and the other guy didn't even have to come to the closing.
posted by Madamina at 2:19 PM on July 22, 2013

Does anyone know any good dealerships in the Chicago area?

Disclaimer: I have never actually shopped for, purchased, or sold a car here.

I get my (old) Rav4 serviced at Grossinger City Toyota up at North and Clybourn. I have always found the service department there to be very friendly, helpful, and forthcoming when I've had questions. They are also very nice to my dog.
posted by phunniemee at 2:42 PM on July 22, 2013

I got a jaw-droppingly good deal for my elderly Corolla at Carmax.

I was incredibly anxious the entire time between when they gave the offer for my RX-8 and when I had the check in my hand; I was certain they were gonna wise up in the meanwhile. Every other dealership was under their offer by $5k.
posted by hwyengr at 3:06 PM on July 22, 2013

Response by poster: Also, thank you to whomever edited my post for legibility.
posted by ishrinkmajeans at 3:26 PM on July 22, 2013

We paid off a car (not a Toyota) recently and one of the options was to have the title sent by overnight mail for an additional fee.

If you go the Carmax route, the offer is good for seven days, so you don't have to decide on the spot. If you don't mind crossing the border, we've dealt with the one in Kenosha several times. They hold your hand throughout the process and make sure all your t's are crossed and i's are dotted.
posted by desjardins at 3:50 PM on July 22, 2013

(addendum, in case you're concerned - the car we sold to Carmax had an Illinois title and the Wisconsin Carmax did not care at all.)
posted by desjardins at 3:52 PM on July 22, 2013

Or you could do the same with a private buyer. You do not have to own a car free and clear to sell it.

Stewriffic has it. You don't need to payoff the car before you sell it. If you did, no one would be able to trade their car in at a dealership and no one wants that. If you sell it to a dealer, you'll get trade-in value since they'll try to get the retail price for it and want to make some money after they inspect and clean the car as well as pay for advertising and the interest they pay while they wait for it to sell (since they buy their whole inventory on credit). It'll be the most hassle-free way to be free of your car and can be a good option, just be aware that it won't be free.

If I were you, that would be my plan-b since you could take it to a dealer the day before you leave. I'd take a couple of weeks and try to sell it myself. Be aggressive with the price, your goal is basically just to get a solid bump up from trade-in value since that's what a dealer will give you. I'd meet the buyer at your local DMV so you can ask the folks there what needs to happen for you to sell the car (it might be worthwhile to call them to make extra sure you have all your ducks in a row before you sell it and your state's DMV website might have an article telling you what you need to do). Insist that the buyer pay with a cashier's check and verify the check by looking up the number for the bank on the internet (the local branch might be best).
posted by VTX at 6:44 PM on July 22, 2013

It would probably be a giant pain in the ass trying to sell a car to a private buyer without a title in hand. (Which is standard for car loans in Illinois.) I've bought and sold a lot of cars, and I wouldn't even know how to make that deal happen.

For something that new and desirable on the marketplace, I would definitely try Carmax. Their prices are generally fair. Meaning that if they have demand for that car model, their price will be great. If they have low demand for that model, you'll get a low price. Also, a Toyota dealer. They presumably have a certified used kind of program, and for a car that new, they would likely be able to give you a good deal on it.

As for the form, you can sign it and give it to the buyer, but the buyer doesn't have to believe it is legitimate.

(And yes, if you call Toyota financing, I'm sure they have a way to expedite the process and get you the title faster. Or even pick it up, if they are local.)
posted by gjc at 5:17 AM on July 23, 2013

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