Rebuilt Title

What you need to know about the rebuilt title and vehicle branding.

Rebuilt vs Salvage title - Know the difference!


A frequent question from used car shoppers is: Is rebuilt title same as salvage title?. The answer is no. Although on multiple automotive forums you’ll be told that rebuilt and salvage cars are practically the same - a junk car which is not worth buying, it’s not correct. Rebuilt and salvage titles are not the same thing, and bother a rebuilt and a salvage title car can be a good buy. Below is rebuilt vs salvage title comparison by a number or criteria:

Much confusion about salvage and rebuilt title is caused by title names varying from state to state, and categories for establishing whether or not a vehicle should receive a salvage title. For example, in some states (NJ) there is no “rebuilt” title - a reconstructed vehicle is given a normal title which, however, pertains a “salvage” affix on its title for all the time. In Colorado, a “Rebuilt from Salvage” title is give to rebuilt damaged cars. In in Virginia or PA, they use “Reconstructed” title for rebuilt salvages, in Delaware it’s “Restored title”. In 11 states, all recovered stolen vehicles get salvage titles, even if they were not damaged.

Also, a salvage car and a junk car is not the same. Although the terminology differs depending on the state’s law, a salvage car is generally the one can can be repaired, although repair cost will exceed 70% of it’s actual cost (that’s why such cars are written off by insurance companies). A junk car is good for parts only and is not repairable, although there are exceptions from this rule, for example in California. Stolen or stripped cars may be given a salvage title.

The bottom line is, if a vehicle has a salvage or rebuilt title, it is highly recommended to study the state’s criteria for issuing such titles. A rebuilt title can equally be a better deal than a used regular car or just a hurriedly fixed junk. In the same manner, a salvage car can be better than a rebuilt car. Many used car experts will say that mandatory state inspections are more about examining the vehicles for altered VIN and stolen parts than safety, and some DMV agencies directly warn about it on their websites. So, be on the alert with rebuilt title cars, choose those with the least damage and hire a qualified mechanic to inspect it.