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Salvaged Vehicles in Colorado

One man's trash is another man's treasure—and the same goes for his vehicles.

A salvaged car may be nothing more than a pile of useless parts to some, but with a little effort and know-how, you can have it hitting the streets in no time.

Keep on reading to find out more about how to bring your salvaged car legally back up to speed and on the road again.

What Is a Salvaged Car?

The Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) specifically defines a salvaged vehicle as a car with a cost of repair exceeding fair retail value after it's been damaged due to:

  • Collision.
  • Fire.
  • Flood.
  • Accident.
  • Trespass.
  • Other occurrences EXCLUDING hail storms.

Your insurance company will likely inform you of your car's worth after such an occurrence, and whether it has been deemed a total loss. Contact them, or your local Colorado DMV office, for information.

Salvaged Car Titles in Colorado

First thing's first: In order to get your salvaged car back on the road in Colorado, you'll need to title it.

A salvage title in CO will allow you to sell your car without making any further repairs to it. If you're buying a salvaged car, you will have to apply for your own salvage title in order to legally drive the vehicle.

You'll have to get your CO salvage title in any of the following situations:

  • BEFORE selling a salvaged car, if you are the vehicle's owner.
  • Within 60 days of purchasing a salvaged car/having it transferred to you.
  • AFTER your insurance company settles your claim, if you choose to keep it.

Selling a Salvage Car

If you're selling your salvaged car, visit your local Colorado DMV office and:

The office should then issue your salvage title. Your next step will be registering your vehicle.

Buying a Salvage Car

You'll need to do a few things after buying a salvaged car before titling it.

Stamp the words “rebuilt from salvage," with each letter being at least 1/4 inch in size on the appropriate area based on your vehicle type:

  • Motorcycle: Frame in a visible location.
  • Motor home: Main entrance doorjamb.
  • Trailer: Area next to the public VIN.
  • All other vehicles: Driver-side door's body post.

Next, you'll need to have your vehicle inspected by a state-certified inspector for its vehicle identification number (VIN) and rebuilt from salvage status. This should take place no more than 1 year prior to titling your vehicle.

Call your local CO inspection center ahead of time to see if there are any special requirements involved in bringing in a salvaged car. Be sure to bring:

  • Receipts for any repaired or replaced parts so the inspector may review them.
  • Payment for the $20 VIN inspection fee.

If your vehicle passes inspection, the inspector should complete and sign a:

Bring the completed and signed forms to your local Colorado DMV branch along with:

At that point, the DMV should issue your salvaged car title.

Contact your nearest CO Division of Motor Vehicles office for more information on specific fees or paperwork you may need.

*NOTE: If you are attempting to have a VIN assigned to a vehicle where the number has been removed, changed, or destroyed, you'll need to apply for new VIN. Consult the Colorado Assigned Vehicle Identification Number Checklist (Form DR 2709) for details.

Re-registering a Salvaged Car

When it comes to getting your salvaged car back on the road, getting the title is the trickiest part. After that, it's all downhill.

Registering your salvage vehicle in Colorado is the same process as registering any car in Colorado. You'll just need to bring your salvage title certificate with you.

Check out our guide to registering a vehicle in CO for more information.

Salvaged Car Fees in CO

Fees for salvage vehicle titling and registration in Colorado are very specific to each individual situation, and take into account factors such as your:

  • County.
  • License plate type.
  • Vehicle's:
    • Weight.
    • Year of manufacture.
    • Original taxable value.

Additionally, there is a $20 fee for a VIN inspection.

Check out the CO DMV's page on titling and registration fees for more information, or contact your local Division of Motor Vehicles office.

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