Selling a Car with a Salvage Title

Don’t let a salvage title stop you from selling your used vehicle. While it does require special consideration, selling a salvage title vehicle doesn’t have to be stressful.
Don’t let a salvage title stop you from selling your used vehicle. While it does require special consideration, selling a salvage title vehicle doesn’t have to be stressful.

Discover whether your vehicle has a salvage title, what you need to do to sell a used car with a salvage title, and how PrivateAuto can make the process easy.

What does a Salvage Car Title Mean?

A salvage title is given when an insurance company deems a vehicle a total loss. Car insurance companies will write a car off as a loss because they consider the vehicle too damaged to repair, or because they consider the cost of repairs to exceed a certain threshold—typically around 80% of its value.

What Events Cause a Salvage Title?

The following events may prompt a salvage title to be issued for a damaged car:

1. Car accident (most common reason for a salvage title)
2. Flood or other water submersion event
3. Severe hailstorm
4. Fire
5. Tree or other heavy object falling onto a vehicle
6. Other natural disasters (earthquake, tornado, hurricane, volcano, etc)

Can you drive a car with a salvage title?

A salvage title car can’t be insured, hence you won’t be able to get it licensed and registered to drive. To make a salvage title car driveable, you’ll need to get the necessary repairs done and upgrade the title to a rebuilt title. A rebuilt title can be insured, registered, and legally driven.
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How Can I Tell if My Car Has a Salvage Title?

Depending on the state, a salvage title will probably list “Salvage” on the actual car certificate of title. You can also look up your car’s VIN vehicle identification number (VIN) on CarFax or AutoCheck to see if it has (or has ever had) a salvage title.

Don’t try to pull one over on your buyer by hiding the title status. Make it clear before you sign the car's title over that it is a salvage.

Can You Sell a Salvage Title Car?

Yes, you can sell a salvage title car, so long as the buyer knows that the vehicle has a salvage title. The best way to sell a salvage vehicle is to list it online for private buyers to make an offer.

PrivateAuto makes this process easy, as you can list your vehicle on our app and wait for people interested in purchasing a car with a salvage title to contact you via our useful messaging integration.

Review The VIN

Before listing your vehicle, check its VIN. Selling a car with the wrong VIN number may be difficult, so it’s best to have the issue fixed. In most cases, this is simply a clerical error that can be fixed by contacting your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This gives you and your buyer peace of mind with a safe, hassle-free transaction.

Consider Clearing Your Title

While it’s possible to sell a car with a salvage title, you may be able to sell it at a higher price if you have a rebuilt title. Consider clearing a salvage title if your vehicle is still drivable.

Some salvage titles have repairable damage or mostly cosmetic damage. In these cases, it may be a worthwhile investment to fix your vehicle and have a clean title before selling it. This is particularly true if you’re ready to fix up your car yourself.

As mentioned, some states require you to have your vehicle inspected before clearing your salvage title and receiving a rebuilt title, so don’t try pulling a fast one on your buyer or local DMV. Invest in the right materials and repair steps for a car that’s ready to drive safely.

A rebuilt title isn’t the same as a standard title, but it does give you the ability to improve the value of the car. This isn’t a required step to selling your vehicle, so compare the pros and cons of clearing a title before you list your used car online.
Selling a Car with a Salvage Title

Selling a Junk Car with a Salvage Title

Not willing to invest hundreds or thousands into clearing your title? Simply list your vehicle as a junk car with a salvage title. Selling a junk car is easy with the right online listing site. Make it clear that you’re selling a junker and you may receive a higher price than the cost of scrap metal.

Some DIY mechanics may have the know-how and time to repair your junker and clear the title, which means buyers do exist. Many private buyers are willing to buy salvage vehicles and invest the time and energy to restore an old or damaged car.

Signing over a salvage title is much the same as any other title transfer. Selling a salvaged title car through PrivateAuto allows you to set your own price and get the best deal for the value of the vehicle.

Benefits of Selling Your Salvage Car

Many buyers may look at a salvage title as a major disadvantage. However, budget buyers often turn to a salvage-title car in order to get a high-quality model for a lower price. Here are a few reasons why you may receive a good price and plenty of interest in your salvage vehicle.

First, a salvage vehicle is a DIY mechanic’s dream. Some don’t necessarily need a lot of costly parts, they just need a lot of labor to repair the vehicle. Your car may be the perfect option for a mechanic looking to get a great deal. Clear photos and descriptions of the damage can help interested buyers get a repair estimate and a sense of the valuable car parts that are salvageable.

Another reason salvage car buyers may be interested in a salvage vehicle is for spare parts. There may be some significant damage to your car, but there are still plenty of parts that have a lot of life in them. Savvy mechanics and DIY auto repair enthusiasts will see your vehicle as a treasure trove of replacement parts for their vehicle.

How to Sell a Rebuilt Title Car

The process of selling a car with a rebuilt title through PrivateAuto is similar to selling any other used vehicle. You will need to collect all the paperwork you need to sell your vehicle privately, as well as prepare the vehicle reparation documents. A rebuilt car usually sells for a lower price than one that has not been damaged, so keep that in mind when determining the value of the vehicle.

Prepare Your Vehicle for Sale

You can just stick a sign in the window and hope your vehicle will sell, but this is unlikely to work with a salvage car. Some states don’t allow you to drive on the road with this type of title, and you probably won’t get a lot of action with your car sitting in your driveway. Find out how to prepare your car for sale to maximize your profits and enjoy a quick sale.

Start by gathering the proper materials. Here are some basic items that you’ll need to sell your vehicle to a private party:

Car title
Records and warranty documents
Odometer disclosure form
Asking price
State-specific forms, such as a bill of sale or certificate of inspection
It’s also a good idea to give your car a good cleaning and take quality photos. Just because you’re selling a salvage title doesn’t mean you don’t want to promote your car in the best possible light.
Selling a Car with a Salvage Title

Selling Your Salvage Title Car with PrivateAuto

PrivateAuto makes it easy to sell a car with a salvage title in a safe, reliable way. Create a listing, manage offers, and ensure you sell to a trustworthy buyer, all on PrivateAuto.

Improved safety features, like facial and driver’s license recognition, keep you and your buyer safe. Convenient advertising benefits, payment features, and more are all waiting for you at PrivateAuto. Create your listing today!

PrivateAuto makes selling your salvage title car hassle-free. The sales process consists of a few simple steps:

Gather necessary documentation

You’ll need your vehicle title and other documentation. Have it handy, so you’re not scrambling to find it at the moment of completing a sale.

Register on PrivateAuto and get verified

To make PrivateAuto a safe place for everyone, we require email, phone, and driver’s license verification, including facial recognition.

List your car

Easily create your PrivateAuto listing with our step-by-step guide. Bonus: we include a window brochure with a QR code scannable to your listing.

Set your terms

It’s your car, so you drive the deal! You can control where, when, and who you meet. Decide whether to accept only ID-verified buyers, or buyers with verified funds. Don’t waste your time with buyers who aren’t verified to your preference.

Vet incoming offers

Manage offers in one place with the ability to accept, reject, or counter offers within the app. Listing on multiple sites? Filter all communications through PrivateAuto by sharing your listing link on all platforms. Your personal info is protected: no more giving out your phone number or email address. All communication happens in our app.

Choose a buyer

When you find an offer you like, accept it and proceed to the next step with that buyer.

**Schedule a meeting
The buyer will want to look at your car. No more back and forth texts. You never have to give out your phone number. Rather, use our handy scheduling feature to coordinate a time and place for meeting. (Oh, and you’ll be able to finalize the transaction instantly at the first meeting, FYI.)

E-sign documents

After the buyer is satisfied with your car and the two of you have agreed on a purchase price, you can easily e-sign the Bill of Sale within our app, from your phone. With our shared documents feature, you can easily locate the paperwork needed after the sale.

Get paid, instantly

Before PrivateAuto, receiving funds was the most stressful part of the entire selling process, especially for any used car sale over $5,000. There just aren’t a lot of good ways to move large amounts of money quickly and conveniently. Those days are over! Verify and receive funds instantaneously with PrivateAuto Pay, our innovative banking integration. Guaranteed funds for transactions large and small.

Transfer title

When you sell your vehicle, fill out the necessary information on the back of the title transfer document.

FAQ on Selling Salvage Title Vehicles

How much is my rebuilt title car worth?

A rebuilt title car’s worth varies depending on the extent of the damages and how functional the vehicle currently is. To get the best price on a rebuilt car, it’s important to include vehicle details (the make, model, and VIN of the vehicle), as well as documentation that proves that the vehicle has been repaired. You will have to let the buyer know that the vehicle has been rebuilt.

Is it illegal to sell a salvage car without telling the buyer?

How do you value a salvage title car?

Should I sell my salvage car for cash?

Are cars with a salvage title worth buying?