Having a salvage title on your vehicle does not void any existing recalls, according to guidance from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Recalls are considered safety issues, and manufacturers are still obligated to repair recalled vehicles regardless of their title status.
Salvage Titles Do Not Exempt Vehicles from Recalls
The NHTSA has made it clear that having a salvage title does not exempt a manufacturer from their responsibility to fix vehicles affected by safety recalls. As long as the vehicle is drivable, the recall repair should still be completed.
There are an estimated 2.3 million cars on the road in the United States that have outstanding safety recalls that need to be addressed. These open recalls need to be taken care of regardless of whether the car has a clean title or a salvage title.
Dealers May Still Refuse Repairs
Some auto dealerships may still refuse to perform recall repairs on vehicles with salvage titles, often citing liability concerns if an accident were to occur after the repair. However, this goes against NHTSA guidelines stating recalls are valid regardless of title status.
If a dealer does decline to do a recall repair because the car has a salvage title, there are a couple options:
- Contact the vehicle manufacturer directly to schedule the recall repair
- File a complaint with the NHTSA regarding the dealer’s refusal
Getting the manufacturer involved directly or getting NHTSA to intervene may help convince the dealer to honor the recall.
Recalls Are Considered Safety Issues
The key point is that recalls are intended to fix safety-related mechanical issues, manufacturing defects, or potential hazards with vehicles. Because of this safety component, manufacturers should make recall repairs available even on rebuilt or refurbished salvage title vehicles.
While some standard warranty coverage may be voided on a vehicle with a salvage title, outstanding recalls remain valid. So if a vehicle has an active safety recall, that repair should still be completed regardless of any branding on the title.
Out of Pocket Costs May Apply
One important consideration is that while the manufacturer is still obligated to fix a recalled vehicle with a salvage title, any repairs may be out of pocket rather than covered under warranty.
Since warranty coverage is often voided on salvage title cars, owners may have to pay out of pocket for parts and labor during a recall repair. But the manufacturer should still provide the recall fix if contacted directly.
- Salvage titles do not void or exempt vehicles from safety recalls
- Manufacturers must still fix recalled vehicles, but dealers can refuse
- Contact the manufacturer directly if a dealer declines a recall repair
- Recalls remain valid on salvaged cars due to safety implications
- Repair costs may need to be paid out of pocket with a salvage title
So in summary, having a salvage title does not void outstanding recalls or exempt a manufacturer from performing recall repairs. But check on potential out of pocket costs, and be prepared to be persistent if a dealer refuses the work.