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What Is A Rebuilt Title? Here’s 5 Things You Probably Didn’t Know

What Is A Rebuilt Title? Here’s 5 Things You Probably Didn’t Know

Have you been searching for a used car and run across the term “rebuilt title”? Are you wondering what exactly that means and whether you should buy a car with that notation? Cars with a rebuilt title shouldn’t necessarily be avoided at all costs, but there are some precautions you should take before purchasing one. If you are considering purchasing a vehicle with a rebuilt title, then you need to continue reading! We will explain exactly what a rebuilt title is, how it differs from a salvage title, and 5 things that you may not have known about!

What Is A Rebuilt Title?

To understand exactly what a rebuilt title is, let’s first discuss how the car titling process works. When you purchase a vehicle, your state’s DMV issues a title as proof of ownership. The title includes important pieces of information identifying the vehicle such as the VIN, year, make, model and owner’s personal information. If you purchased a new car or used car with no problems in the car’s history, then you get what is considered a “clean title.” If you got a car loan to purchase the car, then the title goes to the bank until the loan is paid off.

If your car suffered extensive damage that is beyond repair, you will no longer have a clean title. The car then gets what is called a salvage title. This occurs when your auto insurance company decides that the car is a total loss. This could be due to a natural disaster such as a tornado, flood damage, hurricane, or other disaster. It could also be due to an accident or even vandalism.

Typically, if the repairs required on the vehicle equal 50%-80% of its total value, then the car is considered a total loss and you then have a salvage vehicle on your hands. There are several things that can be done with a salvage car. First, most car insurance companies will pay you the value of the vehicle for the loss, and then they retain ownership of the car. They may choose to scrap the car, sell it for parts, or sell it to someone who plans to rebuild it.

When a salvage car is rebuilt and once again becomes usable, it will be issued a rebuilt title, or reconstructed title, by the local Department of Motor Vehicles. A rebuilt title car is one that was once considered totaled, but has now been fixed and is driving again. So, a car can go from clean title to salvage title to rebuilt title after a major accident or disaster. Let’s now take a look at what this really means when you’re looking to purchase, or maybe sell, one of these motor vehicles.

What Does a Rebuilt Title Mean?

Now that you know what a rebuilt title is and why a car may be issued one, let’s take a look at what that means for you. Here are 5 things you probably didn’t know about these vehicles.

1. The Car Likely Passed an Initial Inspection

Even though the car suffered extensive damage, it has been rebuilt to proper working standards. In most states, it must pass an inspection and be deemed adequately repaired before the new title will be issued. This should help to ease some concerns over whether you will continue to experience problems with the vehicle.

Even though it may have passed a state inspection, you should always get a second opinion for an unbiased mechanic who has experience inspecting rebuilt cars. Have your trusted mechanic thoroughly check the car for problems to make sure there are no outstanding issues or hidden defects remaining that may cost you loads of money down the road.

2. You Might Not Be Able to Purchase Auto Insurance

Many insurance carriers are unwilling to sell policies for a rebuilt vehicle. Even if you can purchase insurance coverage, it’s likely to only be liability insurance. Many companies choose not to offer full coverage for rebuilt cars, so you might run into issues there if you need a loan to buy the car. Most banks require that you carry full coverage on the vehicle for the life of the loan. If you are thinking of buying a rebuilt vehicle, you should contact your insurance agent first to determine whether you can get a policy. Try to get insurance quotes from a few different companies to see who can offer the best terms as premiums can vary widely between companies on a rebuilt car.

3. You May Have Trouble Selling Later On

Many potential buyers are hesitant to buy a rebuilt car because they know they will have trouble selling it when they decide to move on. Most dealerships refuse to buy rebuilt cars or even accept one as a trade-in. In addition, it can be difficult to find a private party buyer as well. If you have a rebuilt vehicle that you are having trouble selling, you can always contact Auto Wranglers for an instant cash offer. We will buy your vehicle regardless of its history or condition. We will assess your car’s value and make you a fair offer based on your car’s condition.

4. You Need to Research The Vehicle’s History

Before buying a car with a rebuilt title, do your research! Find out as much about the car’s history as possible by getting a vehicle history report through a service like Carfax or AutoCheck. This may lend some insight into how badly the car was damaged and what kind of damage it suffered. You should also ask the seller for all the information they have about the vehicle. If possible, talk to the repair shop or mechanic who rebuilt the vehicle. This research can help you determine whether you should avoid the vehicle or whether it is likely OK to purchase it.

5. You Can Probably Save Some Money

Most people are aware that the resale value on a used vehicle with a rebuilt title is quite lower than a similar vehicle with a clean title. In some cases, it can be as much as 50% lower! That can be a great option for someone looking to save money on their next car purchase. If you are thinking of going that route, make sure you don’t overpay for the car. Research industry valuation guides such as Kelley Blue Book or NADA to get an idea of what the car is worth. Also remember that saving money on the purchase could equate to spending more money in repairs if you buy a car that still has problems. Don’t let the enticement of a lower purchase price lead to even more money down the road. Make sure you know what you are getting into before proceeding with the purchase of a rebuilt car.

What Is A Salvage Title?

Your car’s title status in most states will have three options: clean, salvage, or rebuilt. A car with a salvage title is one that has generally been considered totaled, but has not been repaired yet. In some cases, salvage vehicles may never be repaired, and thus, will never have a rebuilt title issued. Some salvage vehicles are sold for parts or maybe even scrap metal. Whether the car is rebuilt usually depends on the extent of the damage.

Should I Buy A Car With A Salvage Title?

Unless you are an experienced mechanic, the answer to this question is usually no. A car with a salvage title cannot be driven or insured, so it is only good for parts or scrap unless it is rebuilt. Rebuilding a car takes time, money, expertise, and specialized tools that the average person does not have. It must be rebuilt well enough to pass inspections, so the work must be performed properly. Most people should steer clear of salvage cars unless they happen to need that specific car for parts.

If you have a salvage car that you are trying to sell, it can be quite difficult to find a buyer. Selling a salvage title vehicle is even more difficult than selling a rebuilt car. If you need to sell your junk car for $500 or more, then you should contact Auto Wranglers for an instant offer. We’ll buy your car even if it is only good for the salvage yard.

How Does A Car Title Go From Salvage to Rebuilt?

When a salvage title car is rebuilt to a point where it is properly functioning and driving again, it will be issued a rebuilt title. Most states require the car to pass an inspection, although the specific requirements of the rebuild vary from state to state. Some states may require a chassis-up rebuild, while others do not. The car may or may not have suffered serious frame damage, so be sure to familiarize yourself with your local laws before considering purchasing a rebuilt car.

If you decide to go ahead and proceed with the purchase, then make sure you know how to spot improper repairs. In addition to having a trusted mechanic inspect the vehicle, there are some basic things you can do to make sure the repairs were done well. Make sure the doors open and close properly and that all body panels align. Check the tread wear on the tires. If it’s uneven, it could mean that the frame is bent and not repaired well. Look for dents or damage underneath the vehicle that could be hiding from plain view. Make sure the airbag light is not illuminated. If you see any of these issues, then you should avoid that vehicle!


Cars with a rebuilt title have been involved in a major accident, but they have been repaired to a point where they are once again roadworthy. While they have passed an initial inspection, they may still have some lingering problems due to the extent of the initial damage. These cars can be purchased much cheaper than similar cars with a clean title, although the money you save might end up being negated by money you spend on additional repairs. If you are considering buying one of these vehicles, then make sure you follow the advice in this article. If you have a rebuilt car you need to sell, then contact Auto Wranglers as many dealerships won’t touch them! We will make you a cash offer to buy the car, and we’ll even come to you and pick it up free of charge. Rebuilt cars can be great options for many buyers, but just be sure to do your homework and know what you are getting so that you don’t spend your hard-earned money on a headache!