Salvaged Vehicles in Texas
A salvaged car is one that has ceased to be safe to use, and would require an enormous amount of money to make roadworthy and safe again. In the state of Texas in particular, there is an element of concern over cars that are for sale, but actually should be salvaged because they are dangerous to drive. Great care should be taken to check for damage on any car that you think may be salvaged. You could be seriously injured if you do not take the necessary precautions, and the car you buy may actually be worthless.
What Exactly is a Salvaged Title?
A salvaged car will be issued a salvaged vehicle title from the Texas DPS. This certificate is a legal requirement, and allows anyone that comes into contact with the vehicle to know the basic history of its use, and that it is currently considered unsafe to drive.
If you decide to sell a salvaged car to a dealer, please ensure that you have seen and checked their salvage vehicle dealer license. It is a requirement that any person that sells, dismantles, repairs or resells a salvaged car carry this license to demonstrate that they are regulated by the proper authorities.
Rebuilding a Salvaged Vehicle
A salvaged car has not necessarily come to the end of its useful life, however. There may be enough of the shell and parts left for it to be mended and put back on the roads. If a car has once been considered salvaged, but rebuilt back up to standards that are legal, it must always be branded a “rebuilt salvage.” This lets the customer know exactly what they are purchasing, and it should be just as safe as a typical car. Be aware that as cars move over state borders, the “rebuilt salvage” title can get lost, causing potential harm to both sellers and buyers.
After a salvaged car has been rebuilt, it will gain a new certificate from the Texas DPS reading: “REBUILT SALVAGE – DAMAGED.” This will allow potential owners to see that although the car was once considered unsafe to use on the roads, it is now approved by the DPS to be road safe.
What is a Junked Vehicle?
Vehicles that have sustained more damage than a salvaged car are labeled as “junked.” Vehicles that are considered junked are those that are viewed by mechanics and the DPS as cars that are so destroyed or damaged that it is not possible to return them to a usable condition. This is the main difference between a salvaged and a junked car. Examples of the sort of damage that would render a car junked includes fire damage or extreme mechanical failure. Junked vehicles have typically undergone a major crisis, such as flooding or hurricane damage.
A junked car will have a “Non-Repairable Vehicle Title” issued to it by the DPS. This means that the vehicle may not, by law, be rebuilt, re-titled, or re-registered. Doing this would put lives at risk.
Can I Re-Register a Junked Vehicle?
Because of the inherent dangers of using a previously junked car to transport passengers, it is not possible in Texas to re-register a vehicle that has already been titled as junked. The only potential value it contains is the parts that may be safe to use within other vehicles.
You can learn more about Texas titling requirements from the DPS guide.