How To: Reregister a Salvage (Total Loss) Vehicle (HTVR 13)

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What Is a Revived Salvage Vehicle?

A revived salvage vehicle is a vehicle that has been reported to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) by the owner or insurance company as a total loss and now has been restored to operational condition. (For information on revived junked vehicles, see the How To: Reregister a Junk Vehicle (HTVR 4) brochure.)

What Do I Need to Reregister a Salvage Vehicle?

  • An Application for Title or Registration (REG 343) form (PDF) signed by all listed owners.
    — The vehicle cost must include the labor cost, even if the labor was done by you.
  • Proof of ownership. This may be one of the following:
    — A Salvage Certificate in your name or endorsed for transfer to your name. If the Salvage Certificate is missing, the insurance company or person who applied for the original must complete an Application for Salvage Certificate or Nonrepairable Vehicle Certificate (REG 488C) form (PDF) and a Statement of Facts (REG 256) form (PDF) describing the vehicle and disposition of the original Salvage Certificate.
    — The Certificate of Title or an Application for Duplicate or Paperless Title (REG 227) form in your name or endorsed for transfer into your name and a REG 488C.
    — You may also need a Vehicle/Vessel Transfer and Reassignment Form (REG 262), bill of sale, odometer disclosure, or power of attorney, as necessary, to complete the chain of ownership.
  • A vehicle inspection by the California DMV or California Highway Patrol (CHP).
    — CHP conducts inspections by appointment only at one of the telephone numbers listed at the end of this brochure.
    — You must bring the bill(s) of sale for parts and proof of ownership to the CHP inspection appointment.
    — A nonrefundable inspection fee will be collected by DMV at the time the registration application is presented.
    — Vehicles manufactured with a supplemental restraint system (air bags) need to be equipped with working air bags that meet applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards and conform to the manufacturer's specifications.
  • California brake and light inspection certificates. Certificates are not required for trailers weighing 3,000 pounds or less gross vehicle weight. For a listing of California state-licensed brake and light inspection stations, check your local telephone directory or the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) website at www.bar.ca.gov.

EXCEPTION: When a California state-licensed brake and light inspection station that inspects specific vehicles, such as motorcycles or large commercial vehicles, is not located within a reasonable distance, the California DMV will accept a Statement of Facts (REG 256) form from a California state-licensed repair shop certifying that the brakes and lights are in proper working order.

  • A California public weigh master's certificate of the vehicle's empty, unladen, scale, or tare weight for trucks and pickups. For a list of public scales, check your local telephone directory or with the California Department of Food and Agriculture website at www.cdfa.ca.gov.
    A weight certificate is not required for:
    — Trucks or pickups previously registered in California when the prior California Certificate of Title or registration shows the empty or unladen weight and the number of axles, and the vehicle has not been modified to change the weight.
    — Trucks or pickups with an empty or unladen weight of 6,000 pounds or less when the empty, unladen, scale, shipping, or tare weight is indicated on an out-of-state title or registration, and the vehicle has not been modified to change the weight.
    — Two-axle or three-axle trucks weighing 10,001 pounds or more; the estimated weight is required.
    — Autos (unless registered as commercial vehicles), trailers, and motorcycles.

NOTE: A Declaration of Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW)/Combined Gross Vehicle Weight (CGW) (REG 4008) form is required for commercial vehicles weighing 6,001 pounds or more, except pickups.


  • Smog certification from a California state-licensed smog inspection station, unless your vehicle is:
    — Diesel-powered and manufactured prior to 1998 with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of more than 14,000 pounds.
    — Electric.
    — Natural gas-powered with a GVWR of more than 14,000 pounds.
    — A hybrid.
    — A motorcycle.
    — A trailer.
    — A 1975 year model or older.
    — Already titled in your name and does not require a smog certification for renewal of registration.

NOTE: A California Certificate of Title will not be issued if you do not obtain the required certification(s) and reregister your vehicle before moving it out of California. California does not recognize out-of-state salvage vehicle inspection certifications.



NOTE: For registration fees, see the Registration Related Fees Fast Facts (FFVR 34) brochure. Because fees are subject to change, visit the DMV website at www.dmv.ca.gov for the most current information.


How Do I Make an Appointment for a CHP Inspection?

Inspections will not be conducted without an appointment. Call one of the offices listed in the following section to set the appointment date and time. The addresses listed are for appointment scheduling only and may not be the actual inspection site.

For an Appointment Contact:

Northern Division
2485 Sonoma Street
Redding, CA 96001-3026
Phone: (530) 225-2120

Valley Division
2555 First Avenue
Sacramento, CA 95818
Phone: (916) 464-1480

Golden Gate Division
1551 Benicia Road
Vallejo, CA 94951-7568
Phone: (510) 622-4611

Central Division
5179 N. Gates Avenue
Fresno, CA 93722-6414
Phone: (559) 277-7250

Coastal Division
4115 Broad Street #B-10
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401-7963
Phone: (805) 549-3006

Inland Division
847 E. Brier Drive
San Bernardino, CA 92408-2820
Phone: (909) 806-2437

Border Division
1722 East Main Street
El Cajon, CA 92021
Phone: (858) 492-1745

13200 Golden West Street
Westminster, CA 92683
Phone: (714) 892-4426

2335 Enrico Fermi Drive
San Diego, CA 92154
Phone: (858) 492-1745

Southern Division
437 N. Vermont Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90004
Altadena Phone: (626) 296-8100
Monterey Park Phone: (323) 980-4600
Torrance Phone: (323) 644-9593
Valencia Phone: (661) 294-5540
Woodland Hills Phone: (818) 888-0980

HTVR 13 (REV. 4/2013) WWW