The Smog Stop
6414 University Ave, San Diego, Ca 92115
Mon-Sat: 07:00 - 17:00

Salvage Vehicle Registration

Salvage Vehicle Registraton
The Smog Stop, Salvage Vehicle Specialist

Salvage vehicles are common place in California, today. The value of the car and cost to repair the car is what determines if a insurance company is going to salvage a vehicle. If you are in a accident and your car is over 5 years old, there is a good chance the vehicle will be salvaged. If this happens there are certain things that you must do to register your car with the California DMV, once your car has been branded salvage. The Smog Stop is considered the salvage vehicle specialist in San Diego. We perform all the necessary inspections to put your salvage vehicle back on the road. Of course you must repair the car prior to The Smog Stop performing the inspections.

The Fast and Easy Way To Register A Salvage Vehicle

The following information will demonstrate how you successfully register your salvage vehicle in San Diego. It is imperative that you follow these steps exactly as described so you can put your salvage back on the road as soon as possible.

  1. Your vehicle must be repaired to the point that it is roadworthy. If there are dents on the side of the car and they do not affect any of the lights on the car, you will probably be okay. The Smog Stop has witnessed some cars pull up for the salvage inspection and pieces of the car are literally falling off. This is not okay and your vehicle will not pass the salvage inspection.
  2. You will need to find the title to the vehicle that was salvaged. If you are still paying payments on the car, you will have to get the title from the lien holder. The insurance company should have paid off the car, so there is no longer a lien on the car. Please do not spend the money if they sent a check to you to pay off the lien holder, you will no be able to re-register your salvaged vehicle until the lien holder is paid in full.
  3. With your title in hand, come to The Smog Stop, located at 6414 University Ave San Diego, Ca 92115. We will post your fee’s with the DMV and get to work on registering your salvage vehicle.
  4. Come pickup your vehicle and you are all done! It was that easy to register your salvage vehicle.


The Long and Wrong Way To Register A Salvage Vehicle

  1. Obtain the title for the vehicle you wish to register as a salvage vehicle and proceed to the Department of Motor Vehicle. Be prepared to stand in line for 3-4 hours! You will post your fee’s with the DMV so make sure to have the following documents completed when you go to register your salvage vehicle.


2. Once you have completed the process you will need to get the following inspections done in order to complete the registration requirements for a salvage vehicle.

  • VIN Verification – The DMV performs this inspection and the inspector will review your documents prior to the inspection. NOTE: You can not do this first, The inspector will direct you to go inside the field office to post your DMV fee’s prior to completing this inspection. The DMV VIN Inspector will give you a Salvage VIN Verification Form (Reg 31) to turn back in to the DMV, on your next visit.
  • Brake and Lamp Inspection – You will need to find a State of California licensed brake and lamp adjusting station to inspect your car. The Smog Stop is a licensed brake and lamp adjuster and can complete your inspection to register your salvage vehicle. Click here for a list of certified brake and lamp adjusting stations.
  • Smog Check – If you are due for your biannual smog check or you have just purchased the salvage vehicle you will need a smog check in order to complete the salvage vehicle registration.
  • Weight Certificate –  If your vehicle is a pickup truck or commercial vehicle your must obtain a weight certificate to complete the registration requirements to revive your salvage vehicle.

3. Now that you have all of these inspections completed, you will need to head back to the local DMV field office and turn these documents in. You will be extremely lucky if have everything the DMV wants on the second            trip. Most often the DMV will find something wrong and send you away one more time, so on average it takes 3 trips to the DMV in order to complete your salvage vehicle registration.

4. Once the DMV clears your salvage vehicle, you will be issues new license plate and a new re branded title will come in the mail. Make sure that your address is correct on the documents or your will not receive your               new salvaged title in the mail. This will lead to a 4th trip to the DMV, costing you another 4 hours.