Most people are not particularly concerned about their $150 push mower being stolen, but what happens if you own a $15,000 lawn tractor? When you buy a car, you get a title, which allows you to prove that you do in fact own the vehicle, but what about lawn mowers? Do they have titles?
Lawnmowers do not have titles. However, they do have serial and model numbers, and these can be used to identify a vehicle and prove ownership as long as you have a sales receipt or bill of sale.
Continue reading to learn more about lawnmowers and titles, including why titles are important, why lawnmowers do not have titles, and how you can prove that you own a mower without having a title.
What Is a Title?
A certificate of title is a document that proves ownership of a vehicle. Additionally, it may help potential buyers understand more about a vehicle’s history. Titles are given to the buyer after they have paid for the vehicle in full. For example, if a buyer pays cash, they will get the title at once, but if a buyer is financing a vehicle, the title will belong to the financial institution until the owner has satisfied the entire debt.
Titles also allow people to transfer ownership of goods between parties without having to involve a third person. The original owner will sign the title of the vehicle over to the new owner, thus transferring ownership to the buyer.
In addition to listing the owner of a vehicle, titles will often include the following information:
- Lienholder (if there is one)
- VIN (Vehicle Identification Number)
- Vehicle Class
- Sellers Information
- Ownership Transfer Section
When someone sells a vehicle, they will fill out the section of the title that allows ownership to be transferred. Both the buyer and seller will sign the document. Once the sale is final, the new owner will have to apply for a title that shows them as the current owner of the vehicle.
Why Are Titles Important?
Titles are important for many reasons, but one of the most obvious reasons is that a title can be used to quickly prove that you are the owner of a vehicle. Additionally, because there are many different types of titles (such as salvaged titles and lemon titles) they can often tell a buyer more about a certain car.
In addition to proving ownership, titles are needed to register a vehicle. A vehicle’s title and registration are two very different things. While a title proves that you own a vehicle, the registration allows it to be driven legally on public roadways.
Lawn Mowers Titles
Depending on where you live, different types of vehicles will have to be titled, but lawnmowers are not one of those vehicles. However, they will have model or serial numbers that can be used to identify them. Interestingly enough, even though some tractors cost more than a car, titles are not needed for those either.
How To Establish Ownership of a Mower Without a Title
If you have a vehicle stolen, it is easy to prove that you are the owner of the vehicle when it is found. However, proving ownership of a lawnmower may be a bit more difficult. So, how can you prove that you are the true owner of a mower?
Sales receipts can often be used as a title in the event that you must prove you are the actual owner of a lawnmower. For example, if the mower was stolen from you but the thief claims it is theirs. Sales receipts will often include information that can be used to identify a vehicle, such as the model number, and if you have it in your possession, that proves you bought and paid for the machine.
You should keep the sales receipt and any other paperwork in a safe spot because if you lose that, it can be much harder to prove that you are indeed the owner of a lawn tractor.
How Do I Buy or Sell a Mower Without a Title?
Although sales receipts are a good way to prove that you bought the vehicle from a store, they cannot be signed over to another person. However, a bill of sale can be used in much the same way as a sales receipt.
A bill of sale is a created document detailing a sales transaction between two private individuals. They are powerful documents and many times a bill of sale is needed to transfer a title over to a new seller. While you should ask the seller to include any original paperwork in the deal, including a sales receipt, a bill of sale will be your best bet in proving that you do own the vehicle.
Things that you should include in a bill of sale include:
- What is the item being sold
- How much a buyer is paying for said item
- The model and serial numbers of the vehicle
- The condition of the item when it was sold
- The names, information, and signatures of both the buyer and the seller
- Phone numbers may be included in case the transaction ever needs to be corroborated
- A sentence that says the item is being sold and thus ownership is transferring
- Any other information that is being agreed upon by both parties
Model and Serial Numbers
Model numbers are a series of characters that hold information about the manufacturer, the brand, the design, and other information. Model numbers are given to all models and are not unique to a specific machine. Serial numbers are numbers that as assigned to an item and show where in sequence the item was made. They are unique numbers given to each item.
In more basic language, a model number will identify the type of mower that you have, while a serial number will identify the exact machine.
How Can You Find Out If a Mower Has a Lein on It?
When a vehicle is financed, the financial institution will hold the title until the debt is paid. Additionally, the lienholder’s information will be on the title until the amount owed is paid in full. This makes it easy to identify when a car is being financed. However, since lawnmowers do not have titles, it may be difficult to find out if the machine is being rented or leased.
One of the ways you can protect yourself from buying a stolen or financed mower is to ask the owner to see a sales receipt. If they have a receipt showing that they did in fact buy the vehicle, then you know there is no other claim to the machine. A bill of sale may work as well, but since those can be fabricated much more easily than a sales receipt, you should be cautious.
Additionally, you can ask the owner for the model and serial number before giving your local police department a call. They will be able to tell you if any reports have been filed regarding a stolen vehicle that matches those numbers.
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- About the Author
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John Cunningham is an Automotive Technician and writer at Lawnmowerfixed.com.
He’s been a mechanic for over twenty-five years and shares his know-how and hands-on experience in our DIY repair guides.
Johns’s fluff-free How-to guides help homeowners fix lawnmowers, tractor mowers, chainsaws, leaf blowers, power washers, generators, snow blowers, and more.