autohitch logo
how to sell a car with a salvage title

How To Sell Salvage Title Car

Are you curious about how to sell salvage title cars?

Selling a car with a salvage title in the aftermath of an accident or disaster can be an absolute headache.

However, there are ways to legally sell your damaged vehicle and disclose its history to get top dollar.

This article covers everything you need to know, from explaining salvage vs. rebuilt titles to setting fair pricing and finding the right buyer.

Related Article:

Key Takeaways:

Key TakeawaysDescription
Selling a Salvage title CarIt is legal to sell a car with a salvage title, but it is not legal to drive it on public roads without proper repairs and approval.
Definition of Salvage TitleA vehicle is considered a salvage when an insurer deems it too damaged to be economically repaired, though it may still be fixable.
Repairing and RetitlingRepairing and retitling the car before selling can significantly increase its sale price. All repairs should be documented.
Rebuilt TitleA rebuilt title confirms that a previously salvaged vehicle has been repaired and these repairs are verified by the state.
Pricing StrategyPrice a salvage vehicle 30% to 50% lower than a similar model with a clean title, depending on the extent of damage and repairs needed.

How a Car Gets a Salvage Title

A salvage title is given to a vehicle that has sustained significant damage, often exceeding its market value or repair cost thresholds as determined by an insurance company, not the state.

Here’s a breakdown of what qualifies a car for a salvage title and how it differs from other title types:

Title TypeDescription
Salvage– Issued when collision repairs exceed ~75% of the car’s value- Also given for damage from flood, theft, vandalism, or other disasters- May be necessary if certain components like the frame or roof need replacing- Can be applied for by the owner if they want to keep an accident-damaged car
Clean– Indicates no significant damage history
Rebuilt– Previously had a salvage title but has been repaired and inspected
Junk– Deemed non-repairable and only useful for scrap parts
Type of Car Title Designations

The key difference between a salvage title and a junk title is that a salvage title indicates the potential to legally repair and drive the car again, while a junk title does not.

Many buyers are willing to take on a salvage car as a project to save money compared to purchasing a standard used car.

Important Tip: Just because a car insurance company has declared a car isn’t worth fixing doesn’t mean its beyond being repairable.

Can you Sell a Salvage Title Car?

Yes, you can legally sell a car with a salvage title, but it cannot be driven on public roads or registered until it receives a rebuilt title.

Is it Illegal to Sell a Salvage Title Car Without Telling the Buyer?

Yes, it is illegal to sell a salvage title car without telling the buyer.

Trying to hide the salvage status may be considered a misdemeanor in some states, but would certainly be considered a form of fraud. 

Your advertisement and paperwork must clearly state it is a salvage title before any sale is made.

Repairing, Retitling, and Reselling Your Salvaged Car

Before selling your salvage-titled vehicle, consider taking some repair steps:

  • Obtain a salvage certificate from your state’s DMV
  • Hire an experienced auto rebuilder to fix structural/mechanical damage
  • Get an inspection confirming roadworthiness
  • Apply for a “rebuilt” title with paperwork showing your investment into repairs

Though time-consuming, going through this process allows you to sell for significantly more money. It also opens up financing options since lenders are reluctant to fund salvage title cars.

You’ll still need to disclose past damage history, but a rebuilt title proves the car has regained value after major work.

How to Determine Salvage Vehicle Price

There’s no standard formula, but here are guidelines on valuing a salvage or rebuilt title car:

  • Salvage pricing – Research what percentage your insurer uses, usually around 75-80% of market value. Get quotes from several buyers.
  • Rebuilt pricing – Apply a 30-50% discount off current market value. Consider pricing it similar to high-mileage vehicles of the same model.

Adjust based on damage severity, necessary repairs, and your state’s salvage vehicle laws. Thoroughly document all fixes to justify a higher asking price.

Where To Sell Salvage Title Cars

Most people know the popular places to sell a car, but where can you sell a car with a rebuilt title? I created a list below of the best options:

CraigslistFree local classified ads. List your salvage car and be upfront about its title status.
Facebook MarketplaceAnother free local listing option. Post photos and details about the car’s condition.
eBay MotorsReach a nationwide audience of buyers. Dedicated section for selling vehicles, including salvage.
CopartOnline auto auction for salvage vehicles. Buyers are typically dismantlers, rebuilders, and exporters.
IAA (Insurance Auto Auctions)Similar to Copart, an auction site for selling salvage cars to dismantlers, rebuilders, and exporters.
DamagedCars.comOnline car buying service specializing in less-than-perfect vehicles. Free towing.
CarBrainOnline buyer that makes offers on salvage vehicles in 90 seconds. Free pickup within 48 hours.
CashForCars.comNationwide junk car buyer that purchases salvage and damaged vehicles. Free pickup and on-the-spot payment.
Local junkyardsAuto salvage yards in your area may buy your salvage car for parts or scrap.
Specialty forumsOnline forums for specific vehicle makes/models may have classified sections for listing salvage cars.
where to sell rebuilt title cars

Final Thoughts: Selling Damaged Cars Takes Work But Gets Results

While selling a salvage vehicle requires some effort upfront, it is possible because there are always people looking for a deal.

Be sure to disclose to any potential buyer that the car title is salvage and document that in the paperwork via the bill of sale.

Consider repairing the vehicle and having it inspected so it could get a rebuilt title. this dramatically increases the value.

Sources and References:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Picture of Steve Momot - Author

Steve Momot - Author

Steve, a seasoned expert in the automotive industry, formerly held a car dealer license in Florida. With extensive experience spanning across car trading and mechanical work, he founded Autohitch. His mission? To guide both buyers and sellers through the intricate maze of car purchasing, ensuring a seamless and informed experience. Outside of the automotive world, Steve has a passion for fishing and capturing the beauty of nature through photography.


Share on.

Table of Contents