The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles notes that to put a lien on a car, an individual needs to go to his local county tax office with the vehicle title and an application for a title in his specific state. There is also a fee. However, the steps to put a lien on a car could vary depending on the state.
Attorney Bryant Martin on Avvo also notes that the original owner of the vehicle might want to list himself as the legal owner on the pink slip so the vehicle's new owner is not able to sell the vehicle again without fully paying off the promissory note. It is also a good idea for the legal owner to require the vehicle's new owner to have property and liability insurance and make sure the legal owner is listed on the policy as an additional insured.
According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, a lien may be placed on a car if it is refinanced or if the buyer does not pay for the car with his own money. If the original owner is listed as the holder of the lien, the DMV can refuse to retitle the lien if the new owner claims the title was lost and applies for a new one, notes business attorney Mark Klinkenberg on Avvo.