Dismantler License

Under Construction Street Sign

You need a dismantler license if you:

  • Buy, sell, or deal in vehicles that are nonrepairable for the purpose of dismantling them.
  • Buy or sell the integral parts or component materials of nonrepairable vehicles.
  • Deal in used motor vehicle parts.

This does not include occasional vehicle dismantling by dealers whose principle business is buying and selling new and used vehicles, or by owners who dismantle three or fewer personal vehicles within a 12-month period.

Do you know all there is to know as a dismantler? Check out the Dismantler’s Handbook of Registration Procedures.

How to Apply for a Dismantler License

Apply for your license and pay your fees online.

To apply for your license, submit the following:

After DMV processes your application, you’ll receive an email instructing you to schedule an inspection of your business location. Once you receive that email, you’ll need to create a DMV online account and select a time slot for an inspection. The email you receive will provide the information you need to get started.

Need help? These step-by-step guides can help you use DMV's online inspection scheduling service:

Create your DMV Account
Occupational License Online Registration – NEW CUSTOMERS
Occupational License Online Registration – EXISTING CUSTOMERS
Schedule an Inspection
YouTube Video
View your Inspection Report and Upload a Photo
YouTube Video

Please note that this inspection tool supports these browsers: Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, and Safari (iOS/OS X).

The OL inspector will:

  • Inspect the main place of business where you conduct business.
  • Inspect all books and records pertinent to the business.
  • Ensure the dismantling area is adjacent or in close proximity to the dismantler’s office.
  • Ensure that California Streets and Highways Code (SHC) §747 is met. This section states that junkyards (including dismantlers) are prohibited from locating within 1,000 feet of the nearest edge of the right of way and visible from an interstate or primary highway if not in an area zoned for industrial purposes.
  • Inspect your signs to ensure that:
    • Sign or device provides information relating to the licensed entity by its exact firm name and indicate the nature of the dismantler’s business (for example, “automobile dismantler”, “automobile wrecker”, etc.).
    • Every sign erected or posted has an area of not less than 32 square feet per side and contains lettering of sufficient size (not less than six inches) to enable the sign to be read from a distance of at least 50 feet.
    • Sign is permanent in nature, erected to the exterior of the office or the display area.


  • $100 nonrefundable application fee
  • $1 family support program
  • $50 for each branch location (if applicable)
  • $92 fee for each auto plate (plus county fees, if applicable)

Application Checklist

Take a look at the Dismantler Application Checklist (OL 249A) to make sure you completed all the steps.

Advertising Requirement

Licensed dismantlers cannot advertise their services without indicating their occupational license or permit number in the advertisement.

How to Renew a Dismantler License

Renew your license and pay your fees online.

To renew your license, submit the following:

Mail your application and fees to the address on the form.


  • $85 renewal application fee
  • $1 family support program
  • $92 renewal fee for each auto plate (plus county fees, if applicable)

How to Modify a Dismantler License

Modify your license and pay your fees online.

To modify an existing license, complete and submit one of these forms:


  • $50 name change fee
  • $50 address change fee
  • $50 add a branch fee
  • $70 officer change fee

Automobile Dismantler Exclusions

The term “automobile dismantler” does not include any of the following:

  • The owner of any premises on which two or more unregistered and inoperable vehicles are held or stored, if the vehicles are used, or intended to be used, for restoration or as replacement parts or otherwise in conjunction with any business of a licensed dealer, manufacturer, or transporter, or in conjunction with the operation and maintenance of any fleet of motor vehicles used for the transportation of persons or property.
  • The owner of any premises or property used in conjunction with any agricultural, farming, mining, ranching, or motor vehicle repair business.
  • Any person engaged in the restoration of vehicles of the type described in California Vehicle Code (CVC) §5004 or in the restoration of other vehicles having historic or classic significance.
  • The owner of a steel mill, scrap metal processing facility, or similar establishment purchasing vehicles of a type subject to registration, not for the purpose of selling the vehicles, in whole or in part, but exclusively for the purpose of reducing the vehicles to their component materials, if either the facility obtains, on a form approved or provided by the department, a certification by the person from whom the vehicles are obtained that each of the vehicles has, except as provided in CVC §9564, been cleared for dismantling pursuant to CVC §5500 or CVC §11520 or the facility complies with CVC §9564.
  • Any person who acquires used parts or components for resale from vehicles which have been previously cleared for dismantling pursuant to CVC §5500 or CVC §11520.

Nothing above permits a dismantler to acquire or sell used parts or components during the time the dismantler license is under suspension.

Dismantler Licensing Authority

California Vehicle Code (CVC) §§29, 220, 221, 320 (b), and 11500 et seq. The CVC is available for purchase from DMV.

California Code of Regulations, Title 13, Chapter 1.

California Government Code §6157 (a) – (d).

California Health and Safety Code §25504 (a) – (c).

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