The legal owner of the car is the person whose name is shown on the title to the vehicle. The co-signer generally cannot legally take the car by force. The co-signer has no rights to the car unless the co-signer’s name is on the title to the vehicle.

When you sign the loan papers along with the primary borrower, usually, all you are signing is a contract saying you will make the payments on the vehicle if the primary borrower does not. That’s it. Nothing else. There is no provision in the contract stating you, as co-signer, have a right to take possession of the vehicle at any time.

See also…

Business and Finance Law – Forum