How to Clear a Salvage Title

by Brooke Pierce

A salvage vehicle is usually totally damaged or damaged to the point an insurance company refuses to pay to fix it, and the owner does not repair it. The vehicle can be exchanged for a salvage certificate. You can get a new title after repairs and inspections, depending on the specific regulations of your state's department of motor vehicles.

Repair your Salvaged Car

A salvaged car can be driven again if you make appropriate repairs to make it street-worthy. Use a certified mechanic to fix your car. Take pictures of the car that shows its before and after the repairs. Provide color photos showing all angles of the car.

Recovering Stolen Vehicle

The insurance company pays for stolen vehicles. For recovered stolen vehicles, the insurance company must apply for a salvage title if the components of the car are damaged or destroyed. The vehicle will be then sold to a salvage operator, who will replace the missing parts and can later get the rebuilt title.

Visit your Motor Vehicle Agency

To get a new title, visit the motor vehicle agency in your community with the documents you must submit, which typically include the current salvage title and proof of purchase of the vehicle. A vehicle identification number is necessary for the main components of the car that were used during repairs, such as the transmission and the engine.


Provide a bill of sale for the major components used to reconstruct the car.

Take your Car for Inspection

Before you can legally drive your car, it must be inspected. The inspection will prove whether all the parts of the car were bought legitimately. The inspection occurs, usually by appointment, at your local DMV. Pay the required fees according to the motor vehicle agency in your area as it varies from state to state -- for example, New York uses an Application for Salvage Vehicle Examination. An inspector will affix a decal or some other certification when the process finishes.


You cannot legally drive your car to the inspection department, so you will get it towed there.

Apply for Rebranded Title and Registration

When your car gets cleared after the inspection, you will be issued a title that will be registered as rebuilt salvage and will indicate as such in the title for the remaining life of the vehicle. The specific language will vary from state to state. You must complete forms and pay fees for the new title. The title will show that it has been rebuilt, and the previous salvage title will be cleared.


You will be required to fill the registration form and the title application form.

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