June 08, 2021

How can I found out if a vehicle I'm buying was salvaged?

Dear Consumer Ed:

How can I find out if the vehicle that I am interested in purchasing from a dealership is a salvaged vehicle?

Consumer Ed says:

In Georgia a vehicle is considered salvaged when 1) two or more component parts of the vehicle must be replaced in order to make the vehicle operable again; 2) an insurance company has paid a  “total loss claim” and the vehicle has not been repaired; 3) an imported vehicle has been damaged in shipment, disclaimed by the manufacturer because of the damage, has never been the subject of a retail sale and has never been issued a title; or 4) another state has titled and branded the vehicle as “Total Loss,” “Fire,” “Flood,” or “Water.” Vehicles that have a salvaged title are illegal to operate on public roads in Georgia. Therefore, the dealership is likely selling a vehicle with a rebuilt title. In order for the vehicle to be driven on public roads, the salvaged vehicle must have been repaired and go through an inspection prior to applying for a rebuilt title. Anyone applying for a rebuilt title must go through the application process, which includes requesting an inspection from the Department of Revenue Motor Vehicle Division’s approved private inspectors or stations and paying the applicable fees to ensure the vehicle is in legally operable condition.

A vehicle that was previously a salvage vehicle and has since been rebuilt will disclose on the face of the title that the vehicle is rebuilt. Also, always consider obtaining a vehicle history report prior to purchase or lease, such as that available through the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS), which can provide valuable information regarding a vehicle’s history, including title status.  

Information about salvage and rebuilt motor vehicle titles can be obtained at the Georgia Department of  Revenue’s website at:  dor.georgia.gov/salvage-titles-0

Submit your own question to Consumer Ed.  Remember…we do not give legal advice. Always consult a lawyer about legal issues.

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