Drivers Education

How to Get a Salvage Title Registered

You searched “how to get a salvage title registered”, perhaps a related term. Well, your salvage title car is not a dead end. You can have it registered, at least in most states. If it plays out your state is against the idea, you can always title your salvage car out of state, and re-register it in your state. Quite a task, though.

how to get a salvage title registered

If your car has been declared a total loss, you can retitle it again. Your first step is to rebuild it after buying it from your insurer.

You will get a title for your salvage car. However, it is a branded title that you receive for rebuilding a salvage car. Unfortunately, a rebuilt title reduces the market value of the car should you want to sell or trade-in, in which case, you have to wash the car title illegally.

What is a Rebuilt Salvage Vehicle?

A rebuilt salvage vehicle is a vehicle that is rebuilt or restored to operational condition, but that has been reported to the department of the motor vehicle as a total loss by an insurance company or registered owner. The vehicle is no longer considered roadworthy, but you can get it back on the road after rebuilding and registering it again.

How to Get a Salvage Title Registered

Getting a salvaged title registered is easy and straightforward unless you do not have a title for the salvage car. You can always request a lost title replacement.

Below are the ways to get a salvage title registered:

  1. Check Your Vehicle Eligibility

You do not just take the car to the DMV for registration. The DMV can only register it if they feel it is roadworthy. Therefore, it is your responsibility to ensure that the car is well-restored before you commence the registration process.

You want a mechanic to perform a checkup on the car. Through a comprehensive inspection by a technician, you can tell whether your salvage car requires additional repairs to pass inspection in your state.

Secondly, ensure that the car is not stolen. Depending on your state, theft inspection may be conducted, though this is a lot less likely.

If the car has a lien on it, you want to remove the lien or get a lien release. If the car belongs to another person, they have to give you permission to complete the salvage title registration on their behalf.

  1. Complete State Inspection

Your state will require an inspection test to determine whether the restored vehicle is safe for driving. The inspection, as mentioned earlier, may check whether the car is stolen. The car parts will be inspected for theft because parting another vehicle is one of the ways thieves use to make a stolen car legal.

You can prove that the car parts are not stolen or from another stolen vehicle by presenting your insurer’s damage estimate and invoices showing the restoration work done on the car. You can also present the receipts of the parts you purchased for the car. If your rebuilt car passes the inspection test, you are ready to have it registered.

  1. Submit Your Paperwork at the DMV

First, visit your DMV’s website for documents to bring for registration. In most states, you need the following documents:

Can you drive a car with a salvage title

  • A completed and signed Application for Title or Registration. Your signature or the owner’s signature is needed on the title application form.
  • Proof of ownership, including bill of sale, vehicle transfer, and reassignment form (from a licensed dismantled, including their acquisition number).
  • Certificate of vehicle inspection.
  • Brake and light adjustment certificates.

You can find out the fee to pay from your local DMV or check the website.

Additional things you may have to submit include the following:

  • License plates. If your state mandates turning in the license plates, they might be taken from you for replacement plates. This will not be applicable in states where you can keep your plates.
  • An Application for Salvage Certificate or Nonrepairable Vehicle Certificate. This form shows that you reported you reported your designated salvage car to the DMV. If you bought the car from insurance, you may request the form from them.
  • A Vehicle/Vessel Transfer and Reassignment form.
  • A Statement of Facts.
  • A smog certification. Some states require a smog check on a salvage car you rebuild. See your complete guide to pass a smog check.


Is it hard to register a car with a salvage title?

It is not hard to register a car with a salvage title if you have your title, and the insurance had reported the salvage car to the DMV. Nonetheless, to steps to register your salvage title may be a bit demanding depending on the model. For example, a restored truck will require additional paperwork such as a weight certificate. Perhaps, the toughest part will be to ensure that the car passes the safety inspection. You want to use standard quality materials throughout the restoration.

Can you transfer a salvage title to another person?

To transfer a salvage title to another person or new buyer depends on your state. However, you can transfer the car title to another name after receiving a rebuilt or rebranded title. In New Jersey, you can’t register or insure a salvage title car. You can simply start the inspection process, pass it and, register that car for a new branded title at your local DMV. When your registration is complete, you can sell the car even higher than its salvage value.

Final Thoughts

Registering your salvage title is a walk in the park once you successfully restore the totaled or salvage car. If you feel the car deserves more than a branded title, you can always get rid of it through a process known as title washing.

Latest posts by Bernard Juchli (see all)

Bernard Juchli

Bernard Juchli is an experienced racer, mechanic and team owner who trusts Avon Tyres.Bernard is the lead driver and force behind his Big Dog Garage Race Team. He is the General Manager and Chief Mechanic of Jay Leno’s Garage. Bernard and his crew of seven are responsible for all repairs, restoration and fabrication of Jay’s incredible automobile and motorcycle collection.

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