How to Get a Rebuilt Title For a Salvage Vehicle in New York

Before you can apply for a rebuilt title in New York, your vehicle must first pass the DMV salvage examination.
Written by Amber Reed
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
background
You can’t legally drive a salvage car on
New York’s
public roads until after it’s repaired and you acquire a
rebuilt title
—but you have to pass the DMV salvage examination first.
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What is a rebuilt title?

If an insurance company declares a car
a total loss
and pays out on a claim, the damaged vehicle is then given a salvage title. These cars often do not run, are considered extremely unsafe to drive, and in most cases cannot be registered or insured. If you want to drive a vehicle with a salvage title, the first step is to repair the car and apply for a rebuilt title.
A rebuilt title is a title certificate that indicates a totaled car was repaired and rebuilt and is now considered drivable. But before you can get a rebuilt title for your vehicle, the car must pass a safety inspection to prove it meets your state’s requirements.

Does my car need a rebuilt title?

If you want to
get rid of a salvage title
and drive your vehicle on public roads, you must get a rebuilt title. The exact requirements for getting a new title for a rebuilt salvage vehicle vary from state to state, but they usually include a salvage vehicle examination. At a minimum, this examination determines whether your car is safe—so if you want to get a rebuilt title for your salvage vehicle, you should complete all necessary repairs before you apply.
You absolutely must get a rebuilt title if you intend to drive the car again yourself, but it’s also a good idea to get one if you want to sell it. A rebuilt title can increase the value of the vehicle and help you get a better price for it than you would with a salvage title.

How to get a rebuilt title in New York?

In New York State, a car is considered salvage if it’s 8 years old or newer and the owner of the car received an insurance claim payout of at least 75% of the vehicle’s value. Cars that meet these criteria are issued a salvage certificate and are illegal to drive until you apply for and receive a rebuilt title. 
To get a rebuilt title in New York, you’ll have to fix your car and pass the state’s salvage vehicle inspection. Let’s break it down.

Repair your vehicle

The first and most important thing you need to do before you can get a rebuilt title in New York is
repair your car
. The work can be extensive and costly, so it’s a good idea to research auto mechanics thoroughly before you start this type of project. Be sure and find someone you trust! Of course, if you’re mechanically inclined yourself, you also have the option of doing the work on your own.
Once you're confident the car is drivable, you can apply for a salvage vehicle inspection and a new title certificate through the Department of Motor Vehicles.  

Apply for a salvage examination

To get the rebuilt title, you’ll need to fill out a Salvage Examination/Title Application by using
Form MV-83SAL
. You’ll also have to pay a $200 fee if you have a New York salvage certificate, or a $205 fee if your proof of ownership is anything other than a New York salvage certificate. Payment can be made by check or money order made out to the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles
Form MV-83SAL must be returned by mail to the following address:
Auto Theft and Salvage, DFI
P.O. Box 2105
Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY 12220
You can not apply for a rebuilt title if your vehicle has an out-of-state title or a salvage certificate with one of the following labels:
  • Parts-only
  • Non-rebuildable
  • Non-repairable
  • Scrapped
  • Destroyed
Once your Salvage Examination/Title Application has been approved, you will receive a letter from the DMV with a date, time, and location for your salvage examination. Make sure you keep your appointment—if you’re more than 30 minutes late for your scheduled time, you will be asked to reschedule and pay a $150 fee. If you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment, call 1-518-474-0955

Documents to include with your New York rebuilt title application

To ensure your Salvage Examination/Title Application isn’t rejected, make sure you sign the bottom of Form MV-83SAL, enclose a check for the appropriate amount, and include the following documents:
  • Proof of identity
  • Original proof of ownership
  • Original bill of sale (if applicable)
  • Sales tax receipt (follow the instructions on
    Form FS-6T
  • Original lien/lien release (if applicable)

Documents to bring to the salvage examination

To pass the New York salvage examination, you’ll need to present receipts for any parts used to fix your vehicle—and each of these receipts must include the vehicle identification number (VIN) of the car from which they were originally taken
During the examination process, the inspector will ensure your vehicle is safe for road use, verify that your repairs match what’s written on the insurance claim and that you haven't used stolen parts to fix your vehicle. 

How long does a rebuilt title take in New York?

The total amount of time it takes to acquire a rebuilt title in New York largely depends on how long it takes to fix your vehicle. But once you start the process with the Department of Motor Vehicles, you should expect about 3 to 5 weeks between the time you submit your Salvage Examination/Title Application and your examination appointment.
Once you pass the salvage examination, you will receive your rebuilt title in approximately 15 business days.
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FAQs

It depends. If you’re getting a rebuilt title for a salvage vehicle you intend to drive yourself, it’s a great way to get back on the road. But buying a used car with a rebuilt title is a little risky since it’s extensive repair history makes it harder to gauge the condition of the car. Additionally, cars with rebuilt titles can be difficult to resell.
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