Overview of Salvaged Vehicle Titles and Implications for Car Buyers

New Deal Used Cars owner Jason Simpson sells a variety of automobiles at his used-car dealership in Glendale, AZ. Among his dealership’s stock, Jason Simpson of AZ includes approximately 150 vehicles priced under $10,000, but he avoids selling salvaged vehicles.

Some smaller dealerships may sell automobiles with “salvaged” or “restored salvage” titles, which means an insurance company or the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) deemed its repair cost to be greater than its value. However, a salvaged title does not necessarily mean a vehicle no longer works or runs improperly.

A car or vehicle may have a salvaged title for many reasons, including theft recovery or extensive damage from fire, water, collision, or vandalism. Stolen vehicles missing for an extended period of time may receive a salvaged title after being purchased from the owner’s insurance company and, if found, undergoing repairs to replace or fix missing or broken parts. Depending upon state regulations, the car may then be sold with a salvaged title.

In Arizona, after the proper repairs are completed, the vehicle will require registration with the MVD and the issue of a restored salvage title. The process also requires a Level III inspection by the department, in which experts examine the vehicle to ensure its functionality and safety.

Regardless of repairs made to a vehicle, having a salvaged or restored salvage title significantly decreases its value. Provided the car underwent proper repairs, it can be ideal for a buyer needing to save money. However, it may become difficult to resell should the buyer wish to do so at a later time.