Do Salvaged Cars Say Salvage on the Pink Slip?

by Tracie Harris
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Wreck image by Mads Blumensaat from

Cars once declared total losses are sometimes repaired to drivable condition. Some of these cars are not noticeably damaged. Laws exist to protect customers from unknowingly purchasing a salvaged vehicle.

Pink Slip

A "pink slip" is a nickname for a car title that has been signed over from the previous owner to the current owner. If the car was at some point salvaged, the pink slip should be a salvage title.

Salvage Title

A salvage title is issued when a car has been declared a total loss. Even after the car is repaired it will still have a salvage title. Sometimes cars that cross state lines are issued regular titles instead of a salvage titles in the new state.

Check the Status of a Car

The federal government maintains a database of cars from all states that have at some time been declared salvage. The database is free to access. The only information you need is the car's vehicle identification number (VIN).

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