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When to File a Civil Lien Instead of a Mechanic’s Lien

  • 3 min read

Are you considering filing a lien against a vehicle to recoup a debt? If so, it’s essential to understand the differences between a civil lien and a mechanic’s lien. While both types of liens can be used to secure debts owed by vehicle owners, there are a few reasons someone might want to file a civil lien instead of a mechanic’s lien. In this blog post, we’ll explore those reasons and explain how can help you determine which type of lien is best for your situation. 

What is a Civil Lien?

A civil lien is a legal claim against a vehicle that is used to secure a debt owed by the vehicle owner. Civil liens can be filed by any creditor who is owed money, not just mechanics or repair shops. The process typically involves the creditor filing a lawsuit to obtain a judgment for the debt owed, then filing a lien against the vehicle with the county court system and appropriate state agencies, such as the Department of Motor Vehicles. 

Why File a Civil Lien Instead of a Mechanic’s Lien?

Non-Mechanic Debt – A civil lien can be used to secure a debt unrelated to the vehicle’s mechanical or operational repair or improvement. For example, you’re not a mechanic and have done stereo work on a car, but the owner never paid or returned for it.

Jurisdiction – Mechanic’s lien laws vary by state, and some states have strict requirements that must be followed to file a mechanic’s lien. Sometimes, a civil lien may be easier or more practical to file, depending on the circumstances.

How Can Help

If you need help determining which type of lien is best for your situation, consider booking a consultation with us at As the industry’s leading civil lien expert, we can analyze your case and help determine the specific options you have in your jurisdiction. A consultation with is not legal advice, nor is this article legal advice.

In conclusion, filing a civil lien against a vehicle can help secure debts owed by vehicle owners. By understanding the differences between civil liens and mechanic’s liens and seeking professional guidance from, you can ensure that you’re taking the proper steps to protect your financial interests.

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LienTitles is the industry’s leading resource for civil liens and mechanic’s liens. Get started filing or learn more by booking a consultation with our civil lien experts.

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