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Junk vehicles are not eligible for repairing and use on public roads. Title washing scam makes it possible for junk vehicles to get back on the road and be sold to unsuspecting buyers. Check VIN history for Junk records before your buy.

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Junk Title: What It Means and What to Do about It

Although the exact terms, bureaucratic procedures and criteria / eligibilty may vary by state, the general concept of a Junk title is the following: it's a vehicle damaged beyond repair. The same definition is often mistakenly applied to salvage vehicles, but the difference is immense. Salvage vehicles are officially repairable vehicles that can be fixed and get a rebuilt status. It's just that the insurance company finds it less disadvantageous to pay total loss and sell it at a salvage auction than repair. The final bids for salvage vehicles at salvage auctions are sometimes really high as some of them have only minor damage that is costly to fix but does not impair safety or operability, like hail damage. A junk vehicle is damaged to such an extent that the result of all repair efforts is questionable and driving it later will be unsafe. Such vehicles are sold to junk yards and dismantlers, quite often with a Junk Certificate, Non-Repairable Certificate or a Certificate of Destruction instead of a title so as to prevent title washing scam. The purpose of such a document is to serve as a proof of ownership.

What you should know about nonrepairable / junk vehicles in the first place:

  • it can never get back on the road again because it is not safe even if fixed
  • it can be used only as a source of replacement parts or as scrap metal
  • it can never get license plates again
  • the VIN of a junk vehicle cannot be registered with a DMV for a roadworthy title

The last point should be paid closer attention because it still gives a loophole for junk vehicles to be fixed and driven again, legally.

How come that Junk / Nonrepairable vehicles may get back on the road?

  1. The first way is a title washing scam. This means that a vehicle with a junk title is fixed and transferred to a state that does not recognize title brands issued by another state and that issues a new, clean title for the vehicle. In this manner, the junk records may only be detected via a vehicle history check by VIN.

  2. The second way is legal, not matter how much of a contradiction with the very definition of a junk vehicle it seems to be. But the fact is that by the law, a Junk vehicle can never be fixed and used...unless it's different vehicle according to the papers and DMV records. Or, in other words, being registered with a different VIN makes it a totally different vehicle with a roadworthy status. Certainly, such vehicles should retain a branded title for its entire lifespan. Such vehicles may get a Reassembled / Restored title. Specifically, California has a very straightforward approach to handing fixed junk vehicles: they get a Revived Junk title and it's a roadworthy title. Such vehicles are registered "by the original make name and year model" (directo quote from CA DMV). However, they should obtain a new VIN. A that's where tha magic starts. A hint: a vehicle with a Reassembled / Restored / Rebuilt with the year model dated 10 years back and an empty history should raise concerns. A new VIN means a new history so you can't say for sure what happended to the vehicle or the vehicles it was assembled from (if it is assembled from used parts as opposed to brand new kits) or what turned them into junk. For that, you need to know the history of the vehicle(s) it was assembled from. For instance, one of the most frequent types of loss that brings a vehicles into a Junk status are severe water or unibody / frame damage. The unibody is the basis of the vehicle, the component that actually defines the vehicle and the VIN is etched on the unibody. If case of a major damage parts of unibody can be cut off and replaced with identical parts from other damaged vehicles. This construction may pass state inspections becuase the function of the brakes and other major components will be verified. However, these are not in-depth checks and such vehicles may break apart at any moment or give your other surprises related to the damage the donor cars reecived. You need a good expert to do inside-out checks on such a car for you before you buy it because this is the only way to verify its actual condition, the amount of damage done to its components, whether or not its a clip-job or in other words, consists of multiple damaged unibodies welded together and other issues like malfunctioning, defective or missing airbags.

That is the reason why one should beware of any junk records in the vehicle history or Reassembled / Restored titles. Please note that in some states the same title can be given to both ex-salvage and reassembled vehicles. You should study closely re-titling procedures of the state that issued a Reassembled / Restored / Rebuilt title, whether a new VIN has been issued or it has a history, where the parts used in reassembling come from, the unibody, in particular. If the vehicle received a new VIN it is highly advisable to check the VIN history of the vehicle the unibody belongs to.

We hope this informatin helps you avoid vehicles with a junk history.

Welcome to rebuilt vehicle information portal. Please, choose the information you need.

I want to:

Junk vehicles are not eligible for repairing and use on public roads. Title washing scam makes it possible for junk vehicles to get back on the road and be sold to unsuspecting buyers. Check VIN history for Junk records before your buy.

Check VIN Now Start VIN Check

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