What Happens to Salvage Title Cars


CarsA salvage title is one that is given to a car once it has been damaged to the point that an insurer decides that the repairs are more than the market value of the vehicle.

This tends to happen after a major collision creates damage to around 70 percent of the vehicle. However, a car may also be declared a salvage with much less damage. Although states vary regarding their laws, a salvage title car may not be allowed to be driven on public roads. This may lead you to wonder what exactly happens to these vehicles since they still have valuable parts and usable materials.

They Get Recycled
If you’ve ever driven by a car recycling plant, then you may have seen rows upon rows of cars next to a yard packed with blocks of metal made from crushed car parts. When sent to an automotive recycler like All Truck & Car, vehicles are first broken down for any valuable materials such as copper and gold that are found in parts such as the catalytic converter. Once any usable or valuable parts are removed, the rest is crushed and melted down using the latest recycling methods.

They Get Scrapped for Parts
Cars that are deemed to be past the point of repair often still have usable parts. For instance, the rear end of the car may be totaled, but the front is fine. This leaves the engine, transmission and other essential components in potentially working condition. Junkyard cars are also great sources for drivers to find cheap parts that would cost much more if they were bought brand new. Side mirrors, door handles, and other smaller components are common parts for people to pick off of junk cars.

They Get Repaired
In some cases, an insurer may label a car as a salvage even when the damage is not too severe. This often happens with older cars where the insurer finds that doing a repair costs more than the vehicle is worth. In this type of situation, the car may be returned to the owner, and they can choose to have it repaired. Once the car is repaired and passes inspection, it is then eligible to be registered for driving on public roads. A car that was once salvaged and has been repaired is usually given a title that designates it as a rebuilt salvage so that everyone knows its history.

They Get Donated or Sold
A rebuilt salvage title may be sold to anyone who is interested in buying the car. However, most vehicles lose their value at this point, and this makes it harder to sell. Ideally, anyone who plans to sell a car with a rebuilt salvage title should keep careful records of the repairs so that they can prove to potential buyers that it is safe to drive. Another option is for the car to be donated. Many charitable organizations need cars to perform activities such as driving foster children to their temporary homes or helping single parents get to work. Since the car is donated, they are accepted most of the time. However, it still helps to be able to give a record of what was done to restore the car to a safe state for driving.

The truth is that there is no single way to handle a salvage title car. Yet, finding a purpose for the parts that still have value is the best way to maximize the usage of the car. Even old batteries have the potential to be recycled. Whether a salvage is repaired or junked or when old components are replaced, everyone benefits when an effort is made to get the most out of the life of a car and its parts.

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