What is a rebuilt title / salvage title?

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Asked June 8, 2010

1 Answer


When a vehicle has sustained more damage in an accident than the vehicle's book value, it becomes a salvage vehicle. Because the car cannot be driven, but must still be registered, some states provide a "salvage" title that limits the vehicle to be used for parts or rebuilding. Once repairs have been made to applicable vehicles, the owner can then request a rebuilt title which allows the car to be driven on public roads.

States laws may complicate the handling of a salvage title, as well. In some states, only licensed rebuilders can get a rebuilt title for a car or truck that was formally listed as a salvage vehicle. Whether this applies to your state or not, getting a rebuilt title will almost certainly require a thorough vehicle examination to ascertain that it is road worthy. Similarly, some states require that a salvage title specify whether the vehicle can be rebuilt or must only be used for parts.

This is a broad explanation, and will vary from state to another. If you are considering buying a vehicle with a salvage title, your best choice is to contact the Department of Motor Vehicles and find out what your state's laws have to say on the subject. Unless you will be able to use the vehicle for the intended purpose, it may be that you should count the car as a loss and not try to salvage it all.

Answered June 8, 2010 by Anonymous

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