What Car Buyers Should Know About Salvage Title Vehicles

title washing

A salvage title is something that is issued by a state when a vehicle is severely damaged and the costs of repair can exceed the vehicle’s value.

The seller should disclose if a vehicle has a salvage title. Unfortunately, salvage titles are not always revealed. Sellers often alter title documents and make cheap cosmetic repairs to salvaged vehicles make the vehicles look sound on paper and in person.

A common scheme associated with salvaged vehicles is title washing. In title washing, a dealer moves a vehicle to a state with looser title laws. Then registers the vehicle in that state. Depending on that state’s laws, the state may not indicate that the vehicle ever had a salvage title. In a title washing scam, the seller may register the vehicle in multiple states until the salvage brand is removed from the title.

Car clipping is another problem that is associated with salvaged vehicles. In car clipping, two wrecked vehicles are actually sawed apart. Then the ends of the separate vehicles are welded together.

To determine if a vehicle has a salvage title, ask the car seller to show you the title document. Look for wording on the title indicating a salvage title. The wording may vary from state to state. When the words totaled, junked, salvaged, reconditioned, rebuilt, or warranty returned appear on the title, then it is a salvage vehicle.

If the title does not indicate salvage, carefully examine the title document to see if it has been physically altered. If the title looks like it has been altered in any way, beware. We also recommend that you order a Vehicle History Report, take a test drive and have the car inspected by a qualified mechanic.

If you have faced title washing scam feel free to contact The Margarian Law Firm at (818) 553-1000. They offer FREE consultations to vehicle owners in California. Don’t hesitate, call today and learn about your legal rights