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How to clear a Salvage title

dpwestlakedpwestlake Member Posts: 207
edited March 2014 in Subaru
Isn't that a felony?


  • jubei_20mtgjubei_20mtg Member Posts: 4
    I'm looking at a 95 Subaru Impreza that has a salvage title. There is no damage to the frame or engine it just needs new fenders, a hood and grill. How could I clear the title or is it possible?
  • jubei_20mtgjubei_20mtg Member Posts: 4
    I have no idea if it's a felony that's why I'm asking. What is a salvage title and what affect does it have on the car?
  • dpwestlakedpwestlake Member Posts: 207
    Salvage title means the car was totaled. It is used to keep track of the disposition of junked cars. You may run into problems with insurance and/or registration in some states. It is usually illegal to "launder" the title.

    It may vary from state to state but you may be able to get it changed to a repair title.
  • jubei_20mtgjubei_20mtg Member Posts: 4

    here is a picture of the car (link above). How much do you think the repairs would be? The frame is straight and there is no damage to the engine. Does anyone know the laws about salvage titles in Maine?

  • dpwestlakedpwestlake Member Posts: 207
    The logic behind totaling a car is that the repair cost exceeds the book value of the car. It's hard to believe that the small amount of VISIBLE damage in the pic totaled the car. I would check really carefully. this could become a real money pit.

    Why are you hot on this car?
  • jubei_20mtgjubei_20mtg Member Posts: 4
    I was just looking for a small project car for me and my friends to fix up. A couple of my friends are Subaru mechanic so that's what I'm looking for.
  • jlreeve1213jlreeve1213 Member Posts: 1
    The laws vary by state. In Texas and some other states there is a difference between a "salvage" title and a "junk" title. The former can be repaired or bought to "part out" as salvage. The later is designated as "not repairable". I would suggest you either call your local DMV or even your insurance companies claim office. They will be able to explain the difference.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    You can't legally clear a salvage title, although there are actually ways to do it which I will not tell you, for obvious reasons.

    Should you figure out how to clear a salvage title and then sell the car without divulging that the car was salvaged, you would no doubt be liable to some kind of fraud conviction I would guess. "Why" the car was salvaged might matter in terms of whether you should buy the car or not, but it doesn't matter regarding the legality of covering up the fact by "laundering" a title.

    Most states require insurance companies to total any car once the damage estimate reaches a certain percentage of book value. In California, that is 80%.

    I'd guess that the car could easily be totalled with the damage shown, because Subarus traditionally don't have high resale value, especially if they aren't in top shape or have high miles. So 80% of this car's value probably isn't a lot of money, maybe $2,500, and you easily have that much damage to the car. You need a hood, two fenders, grille, both headlight assemblies, probably bumper work (it looks bent down) and the new parts are not going to just bolt on without some pulling. And then you have to paint everything. I'd say at a body shop this job would cost you around $3,200, which exceeds the car's book value if it's just a standard coupe, and is still 80% the value of an AWD model.

    The only way you are going to come out on a car like this is to get it for dirt cheap and to take all the junk parts off a car of the same color. And still you'll have lots of work ahead of you.

    I'd just go buy one for $3,000 and forget about it.
  • jgmilbergjgmilberg Member Posts: 872
    It might also need a radiator, and a/c condenser, both pricey parts for in import car.

    I would look into buying a different car. If you are really interested in a project car, try looking in your local car trader or something like that, in my area the rag I use is called Tradin' Times. You can find a wrecked car in one of these publications and more than likely won't have a salvage title to worry about. Good luck!!
  • jaserbjaserb Member Posts: 820
    let me assure you that if you do manage to clean the title and then sell the car, the future owner will be seriously, seriously angry with you. It's one thing to buy a car with a salvage title - you are usually expecting some problems, and allow for it. Buying a car with a clean title, experiencing the same problems, then discovering the "cleaned" title is absolutely infuriating. A pox upon anyone who tries this kind of underhanded scheme.

    -Jason (burned to the tune of $2000 by a bogus title)
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    and with all the electronics and connectors nowadays, that's an endless black hole for money.

    my sister was ripped through a legitimate car dealer by an Escort which had been garage-massaged into what their body shop called "a cheap cheat job" when they got a look at the car; the front end could have fallen apart on any road bump at highway speed from the frame damage. they took the car back at full credit on one that has crossed 110,000 with no problems, got on the cops, and there was a conviction of felony theft by swindle in the case.

    so my opinion is a little fixed... you clear the title by burning it, and crushing the car whole.
  • jgmilbergjgmilberg Member Posts: 872
    In some cases the State will allow you to fix up the car with a salvage title and then issue you with an "assembled" title. They make you have the car inspected inside and out for safety and they also make you remove all vehicle brand emblems. A friend of mine did this with a Mustang, and they issued him a '99 assembled title on a '94 Mustang, with out the Ford, or Mustang emblems. As far as I know this is the only way to "clear" a salvage title, it makes sure you have to disclose why the car has an assembled title when you sell the car later, anyone that doesn't ask why does it say assembled on the title get what they deserve for not reading the title carefully. You can still get burned if you don't say why the car was totaled and what was done to fix it. It says assembled in the Make section of the title, and if memory serves it has a different VIN number from the original the car came with. He had to remove the original VIN plate that too, I think.

    I still say it's too big of a pain to deal with, easier to buy a privately owned car and fix it up, like I said in my other post.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Let's make it clear here. It is probably provable fraud to "launder" a salvage title and sell it as "clean". And the statute of limitations begins not when you sell the car, but when the owner discovers the fraud. So they come after you years later.
  • jgmilbergjgmilberg Member Posts: 872
    I just want to make something clear, I am not saying this is how to "launder" a title, just saying that this is what they do in my state if you decide to rebuild a salvage car. My friend bought the car back from the insurance company, changed the front clip and frame. The car is fine, it had to go through a state inspection. The state police issued the new VIN#, and DMV issued an "ASSEMBLED" title, like they do for a kit car. It was a real pain to get everything dine to get the car back on the road. My state protects the other potential buyers of the car by only issuing an assembled title.
  • dpwestlakedpwestlake Member Posts: 207
    Here in CT there is a "repair" title. I believe that is what is used for a rebuilt wreck.
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