• Salvaged Vehicles

PA Salvaged Vehicles

There are different definitions of salvaged vehicles in different states, with PennDOT defining a salvage vehicle as one that meets one or more of the following criteria:

  • Inoperable legally or mechanically within the state’s roadways
  • Unable to pass safety inspection in PA without repairs that cost more than vehicle’s value

You are not allowed to register or drive a salvage/branded vehicle, but you can buy, sell, or own these vehicles. These vehicles, however, are the main point of a vehicle history report as they are often sold to buyers unexpectedly.

Since these vehicles are often sold to buyers through fraudulent means, PennDOT imposes very strict requirements for registration and titling to prevent this type of fraud from continuing.

Registration and Titling of Salvage Vehicle

Registering a salvage or branded vehicle will require proof of satisfactory repairs to bring the vehicle up to standards, with a rebuilt-salvage title also necessary.

  1. Complete and submit Application for Certificate of Title – Form MV-1, if the Certificate of Salvage isn’t already in the applicant’s name. This form must be obtained directly from the driver license center and cannot be found online.
  2. Complete and submit Form MV-5, which also cannot be obtained online, or the certificate of salvage from out of the state.
  3. Complete and submit Application for Reconstructed, Specially Constructed, or Modified Vehicle, You will find the instructions for completion of the form in the file you download.
  4. Submit photos of all profiles of vehicle – front, sides, and back – all in color.
  5. Attach the PA Bill of Sale or any receipts representing the purchase of parts or components used to repair the vehicle. You can even download and print a generic bill of sale.
  6. Complete and submit form MV-41, which is also offered online at  Application For Correction Of Vehicle Record Or Verification Of Vehicle Identification Number. This is the VIN plate application and isn’t always needed.
  7. Include all fees necessary, which includes $22.50 for the title and $36 for the registration.

You will need to bring the vehicle to a PennDOT service station for inspection, at which time the inspector must sign the application – so make sure that you have all the paperwork with you. Along with safety inspection, the vehicle will be inspected to ensure there are no stolen parts or that the vehicle itself has not been stolen.

When you get everything together, send it to the following address with a check or money order for your fees:

            Bureau of Motor Vehicles
            Research and Support Operations Section
            P.O. Box 68031
            Harrisburg, PA 17106

Salvage Vehicle Declaration

If you wish to apply for an original salvage certificate, you will be required to complete the Application for Nonrepairable or Salvage Certificate. You must be the vehicle’s current owner and you will be required to surrender the vehicle’s title.


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