The Difference Between Rebuilt Car Titles and Salvaged Car Titles

When it comes to buying a car, one key aspect that is often overlooked is the type of title it carries. Particularly, the terms ‘rebuilt car title’ and ‘salvaged car title’ often perplex potential buyers. While these titles may seem similar, they convey substantially different information about the vehicle’s history and condition.

This blog post aims to dispel any confusion surrounding these terms by providing an in-depth comparison between rebuilt and salvaged car titles. So, if you’re in the market for a car or simply want to increase your automotive knowledge, read on!

Call 317-450-3721 for a Local Auto Salvage Yard in Indianapolis Indiana
Call 317-450-3721 for a Local Auto Salvage Yard in Indianapolis Indiana

What is a Salvaged Car Title?

A salvaged car title is issued when an insurance company deems a vehicle to be a total loss. This typically occurs when the cost of repairs exceeds the monetary value of the car. In other words, it’s not economically viable for the insurance company to pay for the repair costs, thus resulting in them declaring it as a total loss.

When such an event occurs, the car is taken away from its owner and given a salvaged title by the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This title serves as a warning to potential buyers that the car has sustained significant damage in the past and may not be roadworthy. However, it’s important to note that if someone decides to purchase a salvaged car, they can get it inspected and repaired before registering the vehicle.

What is a Rebuilt Car Title?

A rebuilt title is similar to a salvaged title in that it’s issued when an insurance company declares a vehicle as a total loss. The difference lies in the fact that with a rebuilt title, someone usually buys the vehicle and then invests money in repairing it. The state’s DMV then issues a rebuilt title, which is typically designated as such on the physical document.

Unlike salvaged cars, rebuilt cars are inspected by a certified automotive technician or an authorized government employee before they’re issued a title. This ensures that the car has been repaired to meet safety standards and is suitable for use on public roads.

Tips for Selling a Car With a Salvaged or Rebuilt Title

Selling a car with a salvaged or rebuilt title can be a daunting task due to the skeptical nature of potential buyers. However, it is not impossible if you’re armed with the right strategies.

Full Disclosure: Be honest about the car’s history and the reason for the salvage title. Buyers appreciate honesty and it builds trust.

Provide Documentation: Have all the repair and maintenance records handy. This includes the documentation of the damage and the rebuilding process to assure buyers of the quality of the repairs.

Get a Pre-Purchase Inspection: An inspection by a certified mechanic can provide potential buyers with peace of mind about the car’s condition.

Be Prepared for Lower Resale Price: Cars with a salvaged or rebuilt title typically have a lower resale value compared to similar models with a clean title. Be realistic about the price and be open to negotiation.

Consider Selling to Dealers or at Auctions: There are dealers and auction houses that specialize in cars with salvaged or rebuilt titles. They might offer a faster selling process, though possibly at a lower price.

Remember, patience is key when selling a car with a salvaged or rebuilt title. It might take a bit longer to find the right buyer, but with the right approach and preparation, you can successfully sell your car. Here at Cash for Cars Indianapolis, we accept all make and model vehicles, regardless of type of title, condition, age, and location.


In conclusion, the main difference between a salvaged car title and a rebuilt car title lies in their history. A salvaged title is given to cars that insurance companies deem too expensive to repair. Conversely, a rebuilt title is issued to cars that have been repaired after being declared as total losses by an insurance company. So, before you make a purchase decision, it’s important to understand the type of title a car carries as well as its past history. This helps ensure that you get a reliable and safe vehicle when buying used cars.

Are you prepared to trade in your scrap vehicle for an immediate cash payout? Contact us at 317-450-3721 to speak with an Indianapolis cash for junk cars buyer and get a free offer today. We serve all of Central Indiana.

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