Handling Salvaged Vehicles in North Carolina
A salvaged vehicle is a car that has been declared moderately damaged, and would require more than 75% of its market fair value to repair and make safe to drive again. Salvaged vehicles are usually damaged by a natural disaster, such as a hurricane or flood, or by accidents. In the state of North Carolina, the laws regarding salvaged vehicles are particularly strict to protect buyers and other drivers on the road from unsafe vehicles.
North Carolina law states that it is a misdemeanor to conceal damage. However, if the previous owner repairs the vehicle, they can sell it as “salvaged.”
What is a Salvaged Title?
A salvaged vehicle is required by law to have a salvaged vehicle title from the North Carolina DMV. This states the basic history of the car’s use to anyone who comes in contact with the vehicle. Unscrupulous sellers may try to conceal the true state of a vehicle’s condition to get a better price than what the vehicle is actually worth, so buyers should always ask to see the title itself before handing over their money.
Restoring a Salvaged Vehicle
However, just because a car has been given a salvaged title does not mean it is presently unsafe to drive. Unless the damage is particularly extensive, a salvaged vehicle may be restored back to being roadworthy again. A salvaged vehicle that has been restored and rebuilt to fit legal road standards will be given a “rebuilt salvage” title.
A rebuilt salvage will also receive a new certificate from North Carolina DMV. This ensures that the customer knows the car was previously damaged, but has been rebuilt to be road-safe and is approved by the North Carolina DMV Keep in mind that the rebuilt salvage title and certificate changes from state to state, which may cause confusion if the car travels to another state.
What Exactly is a Junked Vehicle?
A junked vehicle is a vehicle that has sustained more damage than a salvaged car and is considered ruined or destroyed beyond repair. Unlike a salvaged vehicle, a car that that has been deemed “junked” is impossible to fix and completely unsafe to drive. Junked vehicles have typically suffered extensive damage caused by a major occurrence, such as fire damage or a serious accident.
Once a vehicle is junked, it will be issued a “non-repairable vehicle title” by the North Carolina DMV, and the vehicle will either be destroyed or have its still-viable parts resold. By law and for the safety of drivers, a junked vehicle must never be rebuilt, retitled, or reregistered.
You can learn more about salvaged vehicles and titling on the North Carolina DMV website.