Tag Archives: salvage cars

Photograph Repairs To Your Salvage Car

So you bought that salvage title vehicle at auction. The next step after you get the car is to make the repairs. Your goal is to get the vehicle roadworthy, and for that to happen it must pass inspection. You might need to photograph repairs to your salvage car Maybe your state is one of those that requires you to submit before and after photographs of the build.  A friendly reminder: ALWAYS check your state’s regulations and the titling process. This article is purely informational and it’s not meant to be a comprehensive guide on what you need to submit to local authorities. That is something you need to research on your own.  

All I Want Is A Photograph

Among the States that require before and after photographs of your vehicle are New Jersey and Connecticut. Let me add that even if your state doesn’t require photographs, it is a good practice to document your build. You can certainly try to provide pictures to supplement what you submit to inspectors. It might be useful to them while inspecting the car and potentially help your case.   

You will need photographs, before and after the repairs take place. Usually, they have to be color photographs and “must be clear and cannot cut off any portion of the vehicle.”  

New Jersey Salvage Title Inspection specifically requires:

At least 1 photo of the entire front and left side of the vehicle (before and after repairs). At least 1 photo of the entire rear and right side of the vehicle (before and after repairs). Note: If repairs were started before pictures could be taken, a damage report from your insurance company is required. This report will substitute only for the before photos.

Connecticut’s photo requirements are a little more detailed:

Clear photographs of the repaired/replaced areas of the vehicle are to be presented when inspected attached to the Salvaged Vehicle Repair Report. The photographs must clearly:

  • 1. Show the entire vehicle by four photos, one from each vehicle corner i.e. left front, right front, left rear, right rear.
  • 2. Show the damaged area(s) prior to repairs.
  • 3. Show the repaired areas with the new parts/panels installed prior to any seam sealing, painting, or rust proofing.
  • 4. Show how the new parts were attached (welding).
  • 5. Show the area prior to painting and corrosion proofing (if the area is no longer visible).

Photograph The Salvage Vehicle Before, During And After Repairs

You can clearly see that Connecticut requires you to show how new parts were welded, while New Jersey doesn’t require that kind of detail. But, even if that wasn’t the case, you can still take extensive photographs during the actual repairs. Providing photos of a new replacement quarter panel being attached and welded to the frame is good evidence of work performed using good parts. Pictures of that same panel being primed and painted shows what is currently on the car.  

Photograph the repairs to your salvage car

Rear End Torn

Pictures during the repair process (e.g. after removing paint) can show the true extent of damage you might not catch during the standard “before” pictures. Other pictures can show exposed areas of the car in good condition. This type of evidence can be useful for showing to banks, insurers, and potential buyers down the road. It tells everyone what was the problems were and how they were fixed.

How To Get A Salvage Car Ready For The Road Again – Part 1

Salvage Title Automobiles

Salvage Honda Accord

A salvage title vehicle is one that has been written off by the insurance company because the cost to repair the salvage car exceeds its estimated value. This will vary from state to state, but for the most part, that number is over 60% of the value of the salvage car. At that point, the insurance company will write-off the car, pay the claim and request a salvage title for the car.

A salvage title vehicle is also considered a “branded title”. It informs potential buyers that the vehicle was written off by insurance due to collision, theft, flood, hail, and vandalism, among other reasons. This tells authorities that the car is not street legal; it can not be driven on the road.   Salvage title vehicles cannot be driven in other states as well, with each Department of Motor Vehicle recognizing the other State’s certification.

Rebuildable Vs Non-Rebuildable Salvage Title Car

Many of these salvage cars can be made roadworthy. One important exception is that certain cars titled as “for parts only” or “salvaged nonrebuildable” cannot be rebuilt.  The issuing state has made a determination that the car in question is only good for parts and should be eventually scrapped.

For cars with a salvage “rebuildable” designation, it means that they can be repaired and put on the road again. However, the stigma of a salvage title vehicle will always remain with the vehicle. That means it will be hard to finance or insure, and it will never attain the value of a used car.   

Vette Sold For Scrap Metal

Nonrebuildable Corvette

Rebuildable Corvette

How To Certify The Rebuilt Salvage Car

The process itself is fairly similar, with some variations by state. If you have a salvage title automobile,  you have to repair it and pass state inspection. In a few states, you first have to get permission to perform the repairs. In a large number of states any individual can perform the work, in others, it has to be performed by a licensed mechanic. Make sure you check state rules. Bottom line: get the work done making sure the repairs are done by the book!

When you are doing the repairs, keep in mind that many states also require documentation of the whole process. That can mean pictures, from before, during and after the work done. It also means all receipts for parts. The reason behind that is to make sure parts off of stolen cars aren’t used in rebuilding cars. Best practice is for the person doing the work to fully document and photograph the repairs. That will pay off at inspection time.   Not only that, but it can also help with financing, insurance and subsequent sale of the vehicle. You show what was wrong with the car and what you did to make the car roadworthy. 

Make sure to read Part 2, where we will dive into the actual inspection.

How To Get A Salvage Car Ready For The Road Again – Part 2

In part 1, we told you about how to prepare for the inspection process for repaired salvage cars. In Part 2, we will talk about the actual inspection.  

Are You Ready?

The Inspection Process For Salvage Cars

Once the owner of the salvage title car or truck has repaired the car and taken the photographs, it is time to assemble the documents, showing where each major component used in the repair was sourced from, and go to the actual inspection. Depending on the jurisdiction that can mean going to a repair shop that is authorized by the state to do the inspections, or it can mean some sort of governmental entity or officials. For example, in the case of Michigan, inspectors are law enforcement officers from the county the owner resides, as is the case with Wisconsin, where the certified salvage title inspector is a law enforcement officer.  

Every state requires proof of the origin of major components and parts used in the build. That includes the VIN number of any donor vehicle. Major components, as defined by the State of New Jersey, are:

Engine Transmission/Transaxle, Front Bumper, Rear Bumper, Each Quarter Panel Decklid, Tailgate, Hatchback Roof (Including T-Tops) Cowl Nose (fenders, hood, bumper, radiator support) Front clip (cowl, frame section, shock, and apron structure)  

Missing Some Major Components

You Can’t Drive Your Salvage Car To The Inspection!

One thing that is true across the board is that the vehicle will have to be towed or trailered to the location. It seems like common sense.  But some people can get overexcited once they have finished that project car. Nothing like showing off that new ride, right? Well, not yet. As mentioned before, the inspectors also happen to be traffic police or state troopers in many states. 

This could happen on the way there!

Inspection Time

Colorado Inspector

The inspector will usually go through the paperwork.  Then will then physically inspect the vehicle.  For the most part, it means looking to see if the car is complete, with all safety equipment in place. The State of Wisconsin Department of Transportation states that: “inspections ensure the vehicle and its individual parts are not stolen, have the proper equipment and are in safe operating condition.”

If the inspection is successful, the owner will be issued a certificate of title that certifies the car is driveable but will remain marked with a “branded title”.  That title could include “rebuilt”, “repaired” or it can even be called “salvage” repaired. Those are different than a “clear title”. But for the owner, it does mean the car can be driven. Not only in the state the person lives in, but across state lines, since a rebuilt title will be recognized by other states, in the same way, that a salvage title will.

Where To Get a Salvage Car

Now that you have read this, why not consider getting a salvage car for fixing up? Check out the Copart Auto Auctions where tens of thousands of cars are listed daily. Normally,  you would need a dealer’s license when you buy salvage cars. However, when you use a registered Copart broker, there’s no need for such a license. Good luck!


Cars Labeled as Total Losses Can be Your Gain!

Screen capture from a salvage auction website.If you are looking for parts for your car or a vehicle that you can restore, why not consider buying a salvage car? New parts can be quite expensive and new cars even more so; however, salvage vehicles can be purchased at a mere fraction of the price of new. Many cars labeled as total losses run great and have only minor cosmetic damage. Continue reading

Get the History of Any Vehicle You Like

repo cars for sale, flood damage cars You may have heard about salvage cars, but are hesitant to purchase one because you are unsure of its history. With Copart’s easy vehicle VIN check tool, you can quickly get the history of any flood damaged or repo cars for sale that you like. A Vehicle History and Title Report contains the full history of cars sold through Copart as reported by instaVIN. Continue reading

Find Plenty of Cars in Fantastic Condition

repairable salvage cars for sale, auction cars In today’s difficult times, it seems like everyone is looking for ways to save, especially when it comes to cars. If you need a vehicle to get back and forth to work or school but do not have a lot of cash, you should consider purchasing a salvage car. There are many benefits to choosing salvage auction cars, and listed below are just a few. Continue reading

The Right Time to Buy a Flood-Damaged Vehicle

wrecked cars for sale, flood cars for sale, salvage auctionIf you are looking for a car for short-term usage, why not consider a flood-damaged vehicle? There is no reason that you should have to spend a lot of money for a car if you are only going to need it for a short period of time, and many flood-damaged cars still run great.

Continue reading

Catch a Ride Fit for Florida Living

Bug2With swamps, beaches and woodlands, Florida offers terrain to suit everyone’s taste. To find vehicles fit for Florida’s varied landscape and weather, a search of salvage cars in Florida will help. For cruising, off-roading and hauling, skip the dealership and get what you need at salvageautosauction.com.

Continue reading