A vehicle title, commonly known as the “pink slip,” is a legal form or certificate that verifies a person or establishment as the legal owner of the vehicle. A vehicle title brand shows whether a vehicle has sustained damage or is safe to be taken on the road.
These titles are official designations made by the state agency and appear on the vehicle title’s documents. Individual owners or private companies cannot brand titles.
Here are some of the most common types of vehicle titles that may baffle car customers:
A vehicle with a clear title is issued to a car owner if the vehicle has not been severely damaged and has no liens placed on it. This type of car title is the most desired and is sometimes the only type of title that is qualified for auto financing.
Salvage titles are issued to vehicles which been stolen, extensively repaired or sustained damaged beyond 60 percent of the car’s value. A vehicle that has gotten a salvage title can be fixed to be roadworthy but will never be able to get a clear title. In rare cases, very expensive and complicated procedures may be able to reconstruct the vehicle to get a clear title; however, these procedures involve more cost than what the car is worth.
Salvage cars can be driven on the road but trying to remove or conceal a salvage title brand can result in serious criminal penalties.
Bonded title is typically obtained when there are some serious discrepancies in the original car documentation. When this happens, a security bond worth the amount of the vehicle is purchased as security in the event a valid claim to the vehicle comes forward. This bond is used to remove any claims of lien or ownership. A bonded title will have the “Bonded” stamp for three to five years.
Each state has different laws which make a vehicle a “lemon.” Typically, if a car has many components that do not function properly or which make the vehicle unsafe to drive, this car can be branded as a lemon.
Before stamping the lemon title, vehicles that are lemon are given the opportunity to get repaired. However, if the problem persists, the vehicle will then be branded as lemon. Additionally, the issues may have occurred during a warranty period.
A vehicle that has been repaired extensively to restore it to full operations may have a rebuilt title. This vehicle may be considered safe to be on the road. In some states, these titles are still called salvage titles.
Dismantled titles are given to vehicles that have been sustained severe damage to many of their various components and have been deemed totaled. These cars cannot become roadworthy and may only be used as scrap metals or for salvaging other parts.
Junk titles are similar to salvage titles giving to vehicles that have sustained damage beyond 75 percent of the vehicle’s value. These vehicles cannot become roadworthy. Some states consider junk and salvage title to be the same.
Certificate of Destruction
When an insurance company takes ownership of a vehicle, it has the choice to give it a certificate of destruction. If this is the case, the vehicle is supposed to never be driven on the road and is set to be destroyed.
Sometimes the vehicles that have been given the certificate of destruction by the insurance company seem to be in not such a bad condition. However, the insurance company gives it that title to prevent someone from taking the car on the road, having an accident at a later date due to a hidden fault, and then laying a claim that the insurance company should not have deemed the car roadworthy.
Flood/Water Damage Title
Thunderstorms, floods, or the vehicle pitching in a lake can all be responsible for water damage to a car. Water damage can wreak havoc to your car’s mechanical and electronic components. If you are buying a car from an auction or a used car dealership, make sure you get it checked by a mechanic to avoid any headache later on.
Odometer Rollback Title
Some unscrupulous people may roll back the odometer of their car to conceal the high mileage of their car and sell it at a higher price. Only a certified mechanic can detect this fraudulent act. When detected, these cars will be branded with an odometer rollback title. Vehicle history report from Carfax and AutoCheck can also let you know if the odometer of the vehicle has been rolled back.
The above titles are some of the most common titles that you will see when you are buying a salvage car.