Can You Get a Salvage Title Removed From a Vehicle?

by David Carnes

A vehicle with a salvage title cannot be insured, registered or driven on public roads. By following certain procedures, however, it is possible to replace a salvage title with a "rebuilt" or "reconditioned" title, which will remove these restrictions. The only major disadvantage of a rebuilt title is that potential purchasers of the vehicle will be on notice that the vehicle was once issued a salvage title and has since been rebuilt.

Issuing Authority

The authority responsible for issuing a rebuilt title is normally the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) of the state that issued the salvage title, even if you personally reside in another state. Keep in mind, however, that rebuilt title regulations differ somewhat from state to state. If you reside in a different state from the state in which your vehicle is titled, you may have to obtain a rebuilt title first and transfer it to your state later. Check with the Department of Motor Vehicles in both states to see if a streamlined process is available.

Vehicle History Report

You should obtain a Vehicle History Report to reconfirm the current title status of the vehicle. These reports can be obtained online (see Resources). Check the vehicle for the 17-digit Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). It is engraved on the exterior or interior surface of the vehicle, but the exact location depends on make, model and year. The Vehicle History Report can be obtained using the VIN and will tell you the current title status of the vehicle, whether a lien exists on it, and whether or not it has been reported stolen in any state.


You will have to repair the vehicle to roadworthy condition to obtain a rebuilt title. If you replace or add any parts, be sure to keep the receipts so that you can prove that no stolen parts were incorporated into the vehicle.

Salvage Inspection

After you repair the car, download a salvage title inspection report and a rebuilt title application form from the website of the appropriate state government DMV. The exact names of these documents vary from state to state. This website should contain a list of addresses of state-approved salvage vehicle inspectors. Go to the inspector nearest you and have the vehicle inspected for safety. Bring the salvage vehicle inspection report with you, because the inspector will need to fill it out and sign it.


The last step in obtaining a rebuilt title is to fill out a rebuilt title application and turn it in to the appropriate state DMV office along with appropriate documents. These documents may include a copy of your photo ID, the inspection report, your repair receipts and other documents required by the individual state.

About the Author

David Carnes has been a full-time writer since 1998 and has published two full-length novels. He spends much of his time in various Asian countries and is fluent in Mandarin Chinese. He earned a Juris Doctorate from the University of Kentucky College of Law.

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  • photo_camera Headlight on an old car image by Scott Griessel from