10 Reasons a Car Might Have a Salvage Title


The car is a restored antique or classic.

With a little bit of work, that dusty car in the back of the barn may turn out to be a gem.
With a little bit of work, that dusty car in the back of the barn may turn out to be a gem.

A collector car often comes with a unique story. The owner may have found it rotting away in a barn, or discovered a rusted shell in a field and nursed it back to life over years of hard work. These stories add to the charm of these old vehicles, but they can also open the door to title problems.

Quite often, a restored classic parted ways with its title long ago. Even if the original title is intact, there's a good chance that the car was restored using major components, such as the body, motor or transmission, from multiple vehicles. The car could face additional regulations, depending on your state's laws concerning classic and restored vehicles.

One valuable rule of thumb to use when buying or restoring an old vehicle is to obtain bills of sale for every major component you purchase: the body, chassis, motor and major subassemblies. These bills will show collective proof of ownership for the vehicle when you take it to be registered. In addition, learn about your state's laws concerning restored vehicles. There may be a process in place that saves you the trouble of chasing down a title, undergoing an inspection and having a new title issued. This is a case where a little research can shorten the time until you're enjoying the open road in your new pride and joy.

For more great information, check out the links below.

Related Articles


  • Carfax. "Glossary of Terms." (May 17, 2011)http://www.carfax.com/definitions/glossary.cfm
  • Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles. "Salvaged (Totaled) Vehicles." April 7, 2011. (May 17, 2011)http://www.ct.gov/dmv/cwp/view.asp?a=804&q=244912
  • Lease Guide. "Damaged Cars, Flood Cars, and Salvage Cars Make Cheap Cars." (May 17, 2011)http://www.leaseguide.com/articles/damagedcars.htm
  • Neff, John. "Infographic: One car stolen every 33 seconds … and other fun grand theft auto facts." AutoBlog.com. April 28, 2010. (May 20, 2011)http://www.autoblog.com/2010/04/28/infographic-one-car-stolen-every-33-seconds-and-other-fun-gr/
  • Ohio Department of Public Safety. "Salvage & Self-Assembled Vehicle Inspections." (May 17, 2011)http://bmv.ohio.gov/salvage_inspection.stm
  • Paintless Auto Repair Specialists. "Insurance Industry Trends: Fewer vehicles are totaling." (May 20, 2011)http://parscertified.com/blog/2011/05/insurance-industry-trends-fewer-vehicles-are-totaling/
  • QuinStreet Insurance Agency Inc. "What is a rebuilt title or a salvage title?" (May 17, 2011)http://www.carinsurance.com/kb/content26568.aspx
  • Salvage Title Cars. "Theft Recovery." (May 17, 2011)http://www.salvagetitlecars.net/3.html
  • Texas DMV. "How to Register a Custom or Antique Vehicle in Texas." April 28, 2011. (May 20, 2011)http://www.dmv.com/tx/texas/custom-vehicle-registration


How to Avoid a 'Hurricane Car'

How to Avoid a 'Hurricane Car'

No one wants a car that's been badly damaged by a hurricane. HowStuffWorks and the guys from CarStuff explain how to avoid buying one accidentally.