What is Salvage title? US States Rebuilt Title Rules

Car Rebuilding and Title Rules for Montana and Auto Auction

By Mike Richards Updated: 05/22/2019 Posted: 11/09/2015

In Montana (MT), vehicles that have been declared salvage and have been rebuilt need to go through an inspection process before they can get back on the road. Almost every auto auction of Montana offers a salvage vehicles with different damage of frontage or other parts and you have to know all about title rules.

The Vehicle Inspection

After you rebuild a vehicle in Montana, it will need to go through a VIN inspection. The goals of the inspection are to verify the vehicle description, verify that the vehicle is the same vehicle documented on the title paperwork, to make sure that there is no inaccurate information on the title, and to verify that no VIN exists previous to the issuing of a VIN assigned by the state.

The state has three different stages of inspections – Stage I, Stage II, and Stage III. 

Stage I inspection

The Stage I inspections are needed to identify the vehicle, as well as when a bonded application or Canadian registration is submitted. For the Stage I inspections, proof of ownership is not required. The motor vehicle office staff at the local county treasurer, the driver exam station staff, or law enforcement officers can conduct these inspections.

During the inspection, they will complete Form MV20, the Vehicle / Vessel / Off Highway Vehicle Identification Number Inspection Certificate. If the exam is to be performed by the driver exam station staff, you need to schedule an exam through their offices.

Stage II inspection

Stage II inspections are only required on certain vehicles. A vehicle will need to go through this type of inspection if:

  1. it is five years old or older and has an out of state or Montana salvage certificate issued before October 1, 2011;
  2. is 15 years of age or older with an out of state or Montana salvage certificate issued after October 1, 2011;
  3. is a reconstructed vehicle;
  4. needs additional VIN information;
  5. when the vehicle identity is in question.

VIN inspectors can be driver exam station staff, Department of Justice employees, Montana law enforcement offices, and motor vehicle compliance specialists can conduct these exams. Again, they will need to complete Form MV20, the Vehicle/Vessel/Off Highway Vehicle Identification Number Inspection Certificate.

Customers will need to schedule their appointment through the online Appointment Scheduling Service at the Montana Department of Justice website, or through the local offices that do not offer online scheduling.

They also need to include their salvage certificate, bills of sale for the vehicle and parts used in the reconstruction, and purchase receipts. They also need to determine the age of the vehicle and pay the associated fees for the exam. These can vary, so check the Montana DOJ site for the latest information.

Stage III

A Stage III inspection is required for:

  1. vehicles that are less than five years old with out of state or Montana salvage certificate issued before October 1, 2011;
  2. vehicles less than 15 years old with out of state or Montana salvage certificate issued after October 1, 2011;
  3. when the identity of the vehicle is in question.

Only certain individuals are allowed to conduct these inspections. They include Commercial Vehicle Operating Licensing examiners, motor vehicle compliance specialists, and driver licensing regional managers. They need to complete Form MV208 as part of the inspection.

The customers need to provide all of the aforementioned documentation required for Stage II exams, provide the age of the vehicle, and pay the fees. They also need to schedule their appointment by phone in their region. 

Western Regional Offices

  • Kalispell – 406-257-2148
  • Missoula – 406-329-1350

Central Regional Office

  • Billings – 406-896-4334

Northern Regional Offices

  • Great Falls – 406-727-2569 or 443-9270
  • Helena – 406-491-0917

Eastern Regional Office

  • Glendive – 406-377-1600

Once you have your examination after rebuilding the vehicle, you will then be able to get a rebuilt title in Montana and register the vehicle. At that point, you will be able to operate the vehicle on the roadways legally, provided that you have insurance coverage.

Find information on Rebuilt Title Laws by Other US States.  See our Vehicle AuctionsCar Auctions including Montana car auction and Education Centre.