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If a vehicle has been involved in an accident and declared to be a total loss by the owner or the insurance company, the California Department of Motor Vehicles will brand it with a salvage title. 

Generally, a salvage title car cannot be driven on public roads in California until it has been adequately repaired, inspected, rebranded as “rebuilt” or “revived”, registered, and insured. 

This page will cover the salvage title process in California, and provide you with tips on how to get a salvage vehicle back on the road. 

For official information or questions about your specific situation, please contact your local California DMV office or visit the official DMV website:

What is a Salvage Title in California?

Like many other states, a salvage title in California means that the vehicle has been reported to the DMV to be a total loss, wrecked, or damaged to the point where it is no longer roadworthy. 

California salvage title cars cannot be driven until they have been repaired and inspected. 

Vehicles that have been issued a Non-Repairable Title Certificate cannot be registered again. 

How to Get a Salvage Title Cleared in California

In order to clear a salvage title brand in California, you’ll need to apply for a Revived Salvage Certificate of Title. 

To do so, you’ll need to submit the follow items to the DMV:

You may also be required to provide:

Register a Salvage Title Car in California

Once the salvage vehicle has been repaired, inspected, and issued a revived salvage certificate of title, it can be re-registered for road use. 

To register the vehicle, you’ll need:

  • Proof of ownership. 
  • A completed registration application. 
  • Proof of smog inspection, if applicable. 
  • Proof of car insurance. 
  • Payment for your registration fees and taxes. 

Related Pages:

Next Steps

If you’re in the market to buy, sell, or register a salvage title vehicle in California, VINvaquero.com has the free resources you need to get back on the road. 

Check out some of our related guides and useful tools below: