When can a creditor seize your car?

Tara Baukus MelloQuestionDear Driving for Dollars,
I have a judgment against me by a creditor. Can the creditor seize my car?
-- Mary

AnswerDear Mary,
In general, yes, a creditor with a court judgment requiring you to pay a specified amount can seize your car. Whether they would is a different story. Judgment creditors are looking for sources where you have equity. If you have a loan on your car, then it's quite possible you do not have equity in it. That means you owe more than the car is worth. Therefore, it is unlikely that it would be seized. If you own your car outright, then the car's value would be equity, so the creditor might seize it.

If you have a small amount of equity in your car, it still may not be seized, since there would be substantial costs associated with the seizure, including picking up the car, selling the car to a dealer or at auction, and potential fees associated with paying off the lender and obtaining the title.

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If you have a car question, email it to us at Driving for Dollars. Read more Driving for Dollars columns and Bankrate auto stories.

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