There is often confusion as to whether the vehicle in question is scrapped, cleaned, or rebuilt, and how to update the car’s name accordingly. When selling cars, clients often ask me if I’m refurbishing or scrapping. There is a difference, I’ll show you how to change the title to rebuild from the salvaged title.
How to remove salvage from car title?
To remove the salvage title you need to be inspected by an authorized state inspector before and after the repair, you can go to the DMV or Tag Office and change the car title to “Rebuilt”. Once all the paperwork is sorted, the title will be reposted with the word “salvage” removed.
I’ve repaired dozens of cars in Georgia and South Carolina, and while the two states have similarities, Georgia has stricter rules and regulations when it comes to the state inspection process and renaming titles. If you’re planning to buy a scrap car, or are currently trying to rebrand it as “rebuild,” this blog post is for you.
What is salvage?
When a vehicle is involved in an accident, the owner’s auto insurance may write off the car as a “total loss” if the car is damaged too much or beyond repair. It is then usually sent to a salvage car auction.
As a result, a car that was once “clean title” is now a “scrap title” and will remain that way until it is repaired and inspected by a locally authorized scrap inspector.
Titles are often renamed to Salvage before going to auction. You’ll know it’s a rescue title car because it usually tells you that on the front of the title. Some scrap car auctions have a red stamp “salvage” on the title and paperwork to make sure there are no mistakes.
Each state puts the word “Bailout” in a different place in the title itself. Some people mix it with a header border that’s not easy to see. In Georgia, where I live, they put it in bold right in the center of the title.
Clean vs rebuild vs salvage
Right from the production date, the new vehicle is given a clean title. This means that the title issued to the vehicle has a matching VIN to the one on the car and there has never been any serious vehicle accident.
After a vehicle accident, the insurance company will assess the damage. If the damage is minor, they may just send you to an authorized repair shop and the car may still be in its clean state of ownership.
Some states mark the cars as clean titles with salvage history. However, if a vehicle is written off due to a total loss, it usually ends up at auction, where it is sold to a licensed car dealer, broker, or authorized individual.
How to remove salvage from car title? Once someone starts repairing a scrapped car, it needs to go through several checkpoints. First, do a preliminary inspection before reassembling the car. Second, in Georgia, where I am, inspectors need to re-check before painting new body panels.
Finally, after a full rebuild including body, engine, interior and electrical is complete, a salvage inspector will submit paperwork to the Tag Office or DMV on your behalf, and you can begin registering the car and applying for new ownership.
The reissue title will be named after you and will no longer have “Salvage” on it, but “Rebuilt” instead. This lets any future potential buyers know that the car has been fully inspected and rebuilt by state law.
Check the vehicle
Now, most auto body shops operating in states that are subject to such inspection laws will usually contact a salvage inspector and make the necessary arrangements for them to visit the body shop to inspect the car.
If you’re working with a body shop that doesn’t know how the process works, then it’s your responsibility to have all the paperwork ready for the inspection and will require you to schedule an inspection appointment.
You must notify the body shop you work with of your scheduled appointment, as it can mean trouble or even a fine if they continue to paint the car without an inspection.
Most salvage inspectors will be willing to drive to you to inspect the vehicle, but many of them are booked weeks or even months in advance so need to be on schedule. Some inspectors even allow you to bring your vehicle to them if they have an inspection facility.
Salvage inspections are usually $125 per visit in my state of Georgia. The salvage inspector will check things like diagnostic lights that should come on during an ignition II key cycle, and any lights that shouldn’t come on like an airbag light, check the engine, etc…
They will also check repair receipts, purchased parts, and visually inspect damaged and repaired areas. I usually print out an image of my car when it was wrecked so they can have a hard copy.
The cost of acquiring a new title
How to remove salvage from car title? Prices for new titles vary depending on the state you live in. For more information on the exact fees in your state, visit this website.
Registering a vehicle and obtaining issued title to the vehicle are two separate entities. In my state, I am required to provide proof of insurance that already exists, scrap inspection documents, all documents from the scrap yard where I purchased the vehicle, the original title along with the corresponding document and the signed title on the back.
Tag Office and DMV are two separate buildings in Georgia, while in South Carolina they are both completed in the same building. Staff typically check all paperwork and then ask for sales tax, registration, new labels, and rebranded titles.
Sales tax and registration are often required before taking ownership of a vehicle, but not always. The highest fee usually comes from sales tax, as many states charge a percentage of the vehicle’s current fair market value. Georiga currently costs $18 for new titles and $20 for registration.
I cannot stress enough, the process for salvage title varies not only by state but also by the county you live in. However, this is a typical description of the extra paperwork and salvage reconstruction from the hassle involved in obtaining a reissued title.
If you want to know which states require annual car inspections, click here. Note that annual car inspections are not the same as scrap inspections, but I thought it would be a good idea to share the different expectations for each state.
How to remove salvage from car title? When it comes to renaming vehicles, the process can be longer and more tedious, but you have to remember that these checks are actually in the public interest. Yes, more paperwork and associated costs can be a pain, but the alternative is a car that’s on the road unsafe and potentially dangerous to other drivers.
Once the necessary inspections have been completed, business as usual and no more salvage inspections are required. Your vehicle only needs regular annual inspections if required by the state you live in.
After all the headaches and extra paperwork, finally getting the “rebuild” designation is worth it, but the bonus is that your car will no longer be considered scrap. I know rebuild and salvage are often confused with each other, but hopefully, this blog post will help differentiate them.