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Five Steps to Buying a Salvaged Car Online

By Mike Richards Updated: 07/26/2022 Posted: 10/15/2015

Buying a vehicle that has a salvage title is different from buying an ordinary used vehicle. You have to follow a set step-by-step process to make sure that the vehicle you buy can actually be registered in your name, and that you will be able to get insurance for it.

Here are five of the steps that you will need to go through as you begin the process of buying a salvage vehicle.

#1. Locate and buy a vehicle with a salvage title

The obvious first step in this process is to find the vehicle with a salvage title that you wish to buy. There are many sources available for this, so you should have no difficulty in finding plenty of options.

The primary source for salvage title cars today is the internet. Explore our Vehicle Auctions.

Many of these vehicles are sold at auction, and others still might be found in the classified ads sections of your local newspaper. Another place to look is in your local yellow pages. Search for businesses that operate as junk dealers, salvage dealers, and even towing companies. Each of these types of businesses often have salvage title vehicles that they will need to get rid of, so you might just find a great deal.

Once you find the salvage vehicle that you would like to buy, you can begin to negotiate the selling price. Remember that when you buy such a vehicle, you will get a salvage title, so it will still be your responsibility to ensure that you get the car or truck into proper working order, and that the necessary inspections are completed prior to returning the car to the open road.

#2. Take plenty of photos

You should take before and after shots from all angles. The photos themselves can come in very handy when going to get the car inspected at your state’s motor vehicle department. You will need to prove that the vehicle has been sufficiently repaired or rebuilt to the point that it is now roadworthy once again.

The photos will show the inspector where exactly the damage to the car or truck was. This will enable the inspector to then focus the inspection on those particular locations.

Do not be afraid to take as many photos as you can. The more you have the better. This will reduce the amount of documentation that will be required to explain exactly which damages were repaired and how.

#3. Maintain your records, receipts, and all documentation

Proper records will be needed in order to get the vehicle inspected and licensed. You will want to record what types of parts you used to repair the vehicle, as many states in America have restrictions on what can be used to get the car roadworthy.

Also, many states require that certain replacement parts be brand new, so you will need to have the receipts to prove that you followed this rule. You should research the various rules that your state has on rebuilding salvage vehicles, as well as what documentation is required, so that you can complete the process correctly the first time.

#4. Have the vehicle inspected

Once you have finished with the vehicle repairs, you will need to take it to an agency in your state that is certified to inspect salvage cars and trucks. You can check with the department of motor vehicles in your state to learn more about where to go and how to get your rebuilt title.

You will need to complete the application and then submit the inspection report. At that point, if everything is in order, you will need to pay the required state fees and get ready to receive your title transfer. This might take several weeks to be completed, and most states will mail you the title when ready.

#5. Register the title to the vehicle in your name

After you have completed all the previous steps, you will get your rebuilt title. Register the vehicle in your name and the process will be complete. As long as you get insurance coverage, you will be able to drive your car normally.

While the exact rules will vary from state to state, these five steps should help guide you in the right direction no matter where you live.

Explore our Vehicle Auctions, as well as finding more information about How These Auctions Work.