Salvage Vehicles Draw Interest From State

Salvage vehicles are ones that have been deemed a total loss by an insurance company because they sustained damages in which the cost of repairs is close to or exceed the value of the vehicle. These vehicles’ titles are branded as “salvage” and many are subsequently repaired and put back on the road.

Many salvage vehicles are re-registered with the California Department of Motor Vehicles every year. Currently, only official brake, lamp, and smog inspections are required to re-register a salvage vehicle. Salvage vehicles, if improperly repaired, create safety concerns for not just the vehicle occupants, but other motorists as well. Improper repairs can include, but are not limited to, substandard structural repairs, inoperative supplemental restraint systems (air bags), damaged vehicle suspension components, and faulty electrical issues. Salvage vehicles may even be sold to consumers without disclosing the extent of the vehicle’s damage or the quality of repairs performed.

In April 2016, Assemblyman Ed Chau invited the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) to attend a meeting with the Chinese American Auto Association (CAAA) in southern California. CAAA expressed concern that salvage vehicles are being sold by unlicensed automotive dealers to consumers who may be unaware that the vehicles are salvaged. The group discussed inspection requirements to re-register salvage vehicles and agreed that consumer safety is the top concern.

In response, BAR is currently expanding its Auto Body Inspection Program to include a focus on salvage vehicles. The program offers no-cost inspections to consumers to verify that collision-related repairs to their vehicles were done correctly. For more information visit the Auto Body Inspection Program page at or call toll-free at (866)799-3811.

Printable Version