6 Steps to Rebuilding a Salvage Vehicle

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The salvage vehicle: what others see as a lost cause…you see as an opportunity. You see the chance to take something left for lost and restore it to the machine you know it has the potential to be. You see the unmistakable value in a specific vehicle, and with the right steps you can make others see it as well.

If this sounds like you and you’re looking to get started on a salvage rebuild project of your own, keep these six tips in mind as you start your project.

Find the Perfect Vehicle for Your Project

If you are looking for a specific type of salvage vehicle, an online auction should be your stop. Websites like Copart.com allow you to search through dozens of auctions that have thousands of vehicle options. This will cut down your search time and allow you to find the perfect vehicle for your project at an affordable price.

Understand the Regulations in Your Area Regarding Salvage Vehicles

Once you find your perfect salvage vehicle, you’ll be itching to get to work as quickly as possible; however, it’s important to do your homework and understand the laws for salvage vehicles in your state before you start getting your elbows dirty. The department of motor vehicles in your state is a great first place to check and should provide the information you need. Depending on state laws you may have to document every step in your restoration process with notes and/or photos. That’s why it’s important to take a proactive approach and understand the regulations in your state.

Keep Your Records

In addition to recording your progress on the restoration process, it’s important to keep any documentation related to the vehicle. Keep any notes about the initial purchase, receipts for pieces acquired and summaries of work done by any professionals. Should any questions come up about the legitimacy of your finished vehicle at a later date, having this documentation will help verify that you followed every step by the book.

Seek Expert Advice When You Need It

If this is your first salvage vehicle rebuild, there may be some challenges along the way. If so, don’t be afraid to seek some expert advice. A quick internet search can uncover the information needed or point you in the direction of someone who can help. This may seem like an extra step, but a little looking now will lead to a better final product.

Have the Vehicle Inspected

Once your restoration project is complete, it’s time to schedule your vehicle’s inspection with your state officer or the DMV. During the inspection the officer will review your vehicle to make sure it complies with state guidelines. They may question the origins of some of the parts or work, so bring along any receipts or documentation acquired (see tip number four). In many ways this inspection will feel like a financial audit, but if you’ve done good work and you have the necessary paperwork, you should receive a document from the inspector stating that your vehicle has passed the standards. This information will be recorded with the DMV and you will become the proud new owner of an official rebuilt salvage title. This title will then allow you to drive and insure the vehicle.

Find the Right Insurer

This can be trickier than you may think. While the title allows the vehicle to be insured, not all insurance companies will jump at the chance to do so. Don’t be surprised if you have to submit the vehicle to a second inspection — this time conducted by the insurance agency. While this additional step may seem like a chore, it may be necessary in order to obtain insurance for all your hard work.

Rebuilding a salvage vehicle can be a fun and rewarding process, but to begin your journey you first need to find the perfect machine. With over 125,000 vehicles up for auction, and dozens of live auctions taking place daily, Copart.com is your one-stop location for all things auto. Start your search today, because you never know what you may find.

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