What does reconstructed title mean?08/01/2019
There are 15 types of automotive titles. For example, there is a clean title meaning that there are no liens against the car or truck. We will be focusing on topics relating to reconstructed titles which are also known as rebuilt titles. What a reconstructed title is, the difference between salvage and rebuilt titles, the process of converting a reconstructed title into a clean title, and more. Particular focus will be placed on laws governing a reconstructed title in PA.
The Meaning of Reconstructed Title
A reconstructed title is issued for a wrecked vehicle that has been significantly overhauled to make it roadworthy. In some states, reconstructed titles are issued by a body shop, collision center, insurance company, or licensed rebuilder. An inspection to guarantee the car or truck is safe for use on the road may be required.
Reconstructed Title in PA
Under Pennsylvania, DOT guidelines to qualify for a reconstructed title a vehicle must be restored to factory specs. If they are original to the car or truck airbags have to be operable. Seat and shoulder belts must be in place and functional. If the vehicle came from the factory with a catalytic converter or other devices that limit emissions the emission limiting components need to be installed.
After reconstruction is complete the car or truck is taken to an enhanced vehicle safety inspection station. The owner must present certain documentation to the enhanced inspector or certified document reviewer. The documentation includes form MV-426B an application for a reconstructed vehicle title covering specially constructed vehicles.
- Collectible vehicles
- Modified vehicles
- Flood damaged vehicles
- Vehicles recovered after theft
- Street rods
A Pennsylvania certificate of salvage or a certificate of salvage or reconstruction from another state must be presented to the inspector as proof of ownership.
Reconstructed Title vs Salvage Title
If a vehicle is wrecked and the cost of repairing it exceeds the vehicle's value the insurance company will declare the car or truck to be totaled. A salvage title will then be attached to the vehicle. Even though it has been declared totaled a salvage vehicle may be rebuildable.
As mentioned earlier a rebuilt title is issued for a salvage vehicle that has been rebuilt and satisfies the standards for registering the vehicle in the state in which the vehicle will be driven. The fundamental difference between a salvage title and reconstructed title is that the majority of states will not issue a registration for a car or truck with a salvage title.
Can I Change a Reconstructed Title to a Clean Title?
The only reference I found to R-titles being converted to clear titles centers around theft. In Pennsylvania, a stolen and recovered vehicle can be given clear title if the vehicle did not incur any significant damage as a result of being stolen. My best advice is to check the motor vehicle laws in your state.
How to Clear a Salvage Title in Pennsylvania?
The first phase of clearing a salvage title in Pennsylvania is to restore a wrecked vehicle. Receipts for parts and repairs and photographic and written records of the rebuilding process need to be provided. The next phase is to get your name on the salvage title and submit the car or truck for inspection. The third phase is to apply for either a reconstructed or branded title. Reconstructed and branded mean the same thing.
To apply for a new title four things are required. Completed forms MV-1, MV-5, MV-14, and MV-426B. You must also produce a bill of sale and receipts relating to repairs made to the car or truck. Photographs, at least four, of the completed vehicle are required with a bill of sale.
Reconstructed Cars For Sale
The thing to remember when buying a car or truck with and R-title is that rebuildable vehicles were once wrecked vehicles. Sometimes the cheap turns out to be expensive and this applies to reconstructed vehicles. If the repairs were not executed properly owning an R-title car can be more expensive in the long run.
Conversely, if the overhaul was done right reconstructed cars or trucks can be half the price of other used vehicles. Even though a vehicle has to undergo a state inspection to be certified reconstructed it is wise to have your own mechanic inspect any cars for sale that you are considering buying.
When dealing with the seller ask for all the documents pertaining to the vehicle's overhaul. If the seller cannot or will not produce the documentation walk away. Ask is the rebuild was done with new or used parts. It is important to know that many insurance companies will not cover vehicles with rebuilt titles.