How To Get a Rebuilt Title in California
Chris is Head of Content for FindTheBestCarPrice and is based out of Philadelphia, PA. As a seasoned automotive industry analyst and car enthusiast, he ensures the highest level of quality across all our content and curates our picks for the best deals each month.
Chris studied information systems and marketing at Drexel University and writes about a wide range of topics ranging from car buying tips to troubleshooting common mechanical issues.
When he’s not thinking about cars, he likes to stay in with his dog and make an “attempt” to finish a crossword puzzle (he’s not quite at the Saturday/Sunday level…yet). As a former cheesemonger, Chris still has a “sharp” passion for all things cheese, and his fridge is always loaded with it!
Basically, totaled cars have a salvaged title, which you may want to get rid of to sell the car. In California, when you revive a totaled car, you need to get a rebuilt title before you can sell it or engage in some automotive activities using the car.
To get a rebuilt title in California, you must follow an application process and fill out some necessary forms, after which your car would be inspected before the rebuilt title is issued. With the rebuilt title, you can drive and resell the car anytime.
In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about getting a rebuilt title in California.
Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
What Is a Rebuilt Title?
The rebuilt title removes the “salvage” title on a previously totaled vehicle - that’s the simple definition. When a car is involved in a ghastly accident and it happens that the car is damaged beyond repair, the insurance issuer will pass the vehicle as a salvaged car. If the car owner decides to fix the car going forward, they need to re-register the vehicle.
Particularly, in California, a salvaged vehicle is any vehicle reported to the DMV - by the car owner or insurance company - as a totaled car that cannot be repaired. The rebuilt title is simply a sign that a once-totaled vehicle has been “revived” and is now drivable as every other typical vehicle.
In other words, when you revive a trashed car, you must get a rebuilt title, which is a sign that the car has been re-registered. This way, you can still legally sell the vehicle as a “used car” to any new buyer. Cars categorized as “rebuilt titles” have really gone through a lot - in terms of repairs and bodywork.
Until you get the rebuilt title, your salvaged car-even though it is fully in good condition and has been registered before it got totaled-won’t still be recognized as a registered vehicle, which could put you into trouble.
Reviving a salvaged vehicle can be very expensive - even costlier than buying a new one - it’s up to you to decide if you really want to revive a salvaged car and get a rebuilt title for it.
Why Get a Rebuilt Title?
The main reason to get a rebuilt title is to make it legal to drive a revived salvage car. If you do not get the rebuilt title, you won’t be able to sell that car with the salvage title it already got - unless to a bodywork mechanic who only needs the car parts for fixing other cars.
Getting a rebuilt title is highly recommended if you have a totaled car that has been revived.
How To Get a Rebuilt Title in California
Getting a rebuilt title follows an application process, and you have to provide some documents as you would do when registering a new vehicle. The local DMV will review your application, and if satisfactory, you’d be offered the rebuilt title. Here are the steps to get started:
1. Repair the Damages
You will have to fix and replace the damaged parts before applying for a rebuilt title. If some parts can still be repaired, you should repair them, and if they’re beyond repair, then you should have them replaced with new parts.
Ensure to keep all receipts of the parts bought and repair documents. You can proceed to your local DMV when the repair is complete and the car is back to driving normally.
2. Apply for Rebuilt Title
Your local DMV will inspect the repairs you made on the car to confirm everything that was reported during the “salvage title” documentation has been properly fixed. When the inspection is complete, you’d be asked for some documents and receipts. Here are some documents you’d have to submit:
- The signed and completed Application for Title or Registration (REG 343) form.
- A junk receipt issued by the DMV.
- A Statement of Facts (REG 256) form that details everything that had happened to the vehicle.
- Verification of Vehicle (REG 31) or CHP Certificate of Inspection (CHP 97C) form authorized by a DMV employee or the CHP.
- Brake and light adjustment certificates.
- Applicable fees ($23 for the title registration and other fees).
3. Wait for the Title
After you have fulfilled the requirements above, you should always check in your local DMV to know when your title is ready and pick it up. It takes about four to six weeks to prepare your rebuilt title.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does it cost to get a rebuilt title in California?
The main cost is $23 for a rebuilt title in California. However, when you submit the requested documents to your local DMV, you may be asked to pay additional fees for processing your submissions.
How long does a rebuilt title take in California?
The typical period is between four to six weeks from the time you submit all the required documents and receipts, as well as pay the fees. Within the application’s six-week waiting period, you should always check in with your DMV to know when the title will be available to you.
Does California accept rebuilt titles?
Yes, in California, you can obtain a rebuilt title to overrule the salvage title on a “revived salvage vehicle.” With a rebuilt title, you can get insured again; however, it may be a bit difficult as some insurers won’t accept a rebuilt car.