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Not too many people look forward to selling a salvage car. In South Carolina, there are different steps you’re required to follow, but it’s not as complicated as you may think. We’ll help you through the entire process. It’s time for you to learn how to sell your salvage car!

Table of Contents

What is a Salvaged Car in South Carolina?

When your auto insurance company settles a claim on your damaged vehicle and determines the vehicle suffered damage that exceeds 75% of the vehicle’s fair market value, your auto insurance company must declare the vehicle a total loss, commonly referred to as a salvaged car.

Your auto insurance company also has the option of declaring your vehicle a total loss if the car suffered damage under 75% of the vehicle’s fair market value or has a fair market value of less than $2,000.

It’s up to your auto insurance provider to decide if your car meets the total loss criteria associated with the company’s policies. Speak to your auto insurance agent about any questions or concerns you may have about determining a vehicle’s salvage status in SC.

Understanding Actual Cash Value and How It’s Determined for Cars

Since your car has a salvage title, you may think it doesn’t have any value. Well, it does! Let’s talk about your car’s actual cash value (ACV). The ACV is equal to the car’s replacement cost minus its depreciation. Although the ACV reflects the car’s accounting value, it doesn’t necessarily reflect the economic value of the car, which means the car can be more or less of value than its ACV when you sell it.

How is a Car’s Actual Cash Value Determined?

If you’re not a numbers type of person, understanding how your car’s cash value is determined can be beyond frustrating, so we’ll give you a simple equation to help you determine everything.

ACV = purchase price x (expected life – current life) ÷ expected life

Use this equation to help you determine your car’s ACV. In general, the life expectancy of a car is 11 years. The current life of the car is the age of the car, so, if your car is a year model 2019, and the current year is 2023, the current life of your car would be 4 years.

Actual Cash Value vs Replacement Cost

A lot of people don’t consider this, but the actual cash value is important when you’re obtaining auto insurance. As the policyholder, we’re going to guess that you would prefer to be paid the replacement cost of the car instead of the car’s actual cash value. Here’s why.

Let’s say your vehicle was severely damaged in an accident. If you were paid the replacement cost of the car, you would be able to purchase a new car of the same type. Let’s take the same scenario of your car being severely damaged in an accident, and you accept payment for the car’s actual cash value. In this scenario, you probably wouldn’t have enough money to purchase a new car of the same type because depreciation is taken into account.

Before you sign your name on any auto insurance policy, make sure you read the fine print and can handle the risks and terms of the policy. If the auto insurance company says they will ONLY pay for the ACV, make sure you’re okay with these payment terms. Once you sign your name, you are acknowledging the policy terms and agreeing to them, which means you won’t be able to change your mind if the outcome isn’t to your liking.

How Do You Sell a Salvage Car in South Carolina?

Selling a salvage car in South Carolina is a straightforward process. When you’re selling a salvage car in SC, if you have the car’s title and sell the car or transfer ownership of the car to another person, you are required to sign the title over to the buyer and include the following information on the back of the car title:

  • Odometer reading at the time of sale
  • Purchase date
  • Selling price

When you sell your salvage car, you must notify the SC DMV by completing a Notice of Vehicle Sold form (Form 416), and submitting it at any SC DMV branch or mailing it to the following address:

Mail-in Registration
P.O. Box 1498
Blythewood, SC 29016-0036

The Notice of Vehicle Sold form is intended for the protection of the last registered owner until the actual transfer of ownership is completed by the person you sold the vehicle to.

If you sell your vehicle but don’t want to transfer the license plate to another vehicle you own, you must surrender the license plate. If your license plate is expired, you do NOT need to surrender your license plate. Only active license plates can be surrendered.

If the individual who purchased the vehicle from you is making payments on it, you need to complete Section F of the Title Application (Form 400) that the buyer completes. You will be considered the lienholder for the vehicle, and the car’s title will be mailed to you. Once the buyer pays you in full, you must sign off on the lien and the buyer will be able to obtain a clear title from an SC DMV branch.

Is a Bill of Sale Required to Sell a Salvage Car in South Carolina?

Before you sell your car, you need to make sure you have the required documents, such as a copy of the registration papers, the original car title, and a bill of sale. You must provide original documents, so make sure you have everything you need. You can visit your local SC DMV branch to obtain these documents.

Why is a Bill of Sale Needed to Sell a Salvage Car in South Carolina?

The purpose of an SC bill of sale is for record-keeping when you’re selling your vehicle privately, which means you’re selling it to another individual. You can create a bill of sale of your own as long as it includes the following information:

  • Vehicle information (make, model, year, vehicle identification number (VIN), and current odometer reading)
  • Buyer information (name, address, and signature)
  • Seller information (name, address, and signature)
  • Selling price and date sold

Are There Salvaged Vehicle Restrictions in South Carolina?

Once your auto insurance company declares your vehicle a total loss, it is illegal to operate the car on ANY road. In addition to this, the SC DMV will cancel your car’s registration. Your auto insurance company will send the car’s title with the word “salvage” on it to the SC DMV. You must remove the car’s license plate. However, you are allowed to transfer the car’s registration and license plate to a different car you own.

Can You Sell a Salvaged Car Without the Title in South Carolina?

No. You can’t buy or sell a salvaged car without the title in South Carolina. If you’ve lost the car’s title, you’ll need to apply for a South Carolina duplicate car title with the SC DMV by completing a Lost/Stolen or Destroyed Certificate of Title Report (Form TI-004A). Even if you are considering selling your salvage car to a junkyard or scrap yard, you must have the car’s title.

Why is the Car’s Title Important?

The car’s title is also referred to as a certificate of title and an essential, legal document that provides proof of vehicle ownership. The car’s title possesses different information, such as the following:

  • the name(s) of the car owner(s) and the following information:
  • Year, make, and model of the vehicle (may include the body type of the vehicle)
  • Vehicle color
  • Odometer reading
  • The date on which the odometer reading was done
  • Owner or owners of the vehicle
  • Owner’s address
  • The date on which the title was issued

A car’s title can also include the following:

  • Title number
  • The vehicle’s weight
  • The number of cylinders in the engine
  • The engine number
  • The type of fuel used in the car
  • The license plate number

Some states will require information regarding flood damage or a “salvage” label will be included on the car’s title. The “salvage” title can be removed if you repair the car to SC’s safety standards. At this time, you will be eligible to apply for a salvage SC rebuilt car title.

The car’s title should have the signature of one or multiple state officials who are in charge of motor vehicles or revenue collection, such as the Division of Motor Vehicles or Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), Department of Transportation (DOT), Motor Vehicle Division (MVD), and similar motor vehicle departments. In South Carolina, you would be looking for signatures from the DMV.

Can You Sell a Salvaged Car Without the Car’s Registration in Connecticut?

The car’s registration is similar to the car’s title. Both the title and registration card are legal documents that prove the legal ownership of a vehicle. However, in most scenarios, you don’t need the car’s registration card to sell a car, salvage or not. Keep in mind that you must have the car’s title to sell it.

How to Get a South Carolina Salvage Car Title

To obtain a salvage title in SC, you must complete the Request for Total Loss Title (Form TR-3). You will need this total loss title form if the vehicle’s damages do not exceed 75% of the car’s value or if the car’s value is less than $2,000.

You will also need the car’s original title if you have any liens on the car. If liens are present on the car’s title, you will need to complete a lien release form for each lien holder. You are also required to pay all applicable SC title fees.

SouthCarolina Salvage Rebuilt Car Inspections

If you chose to receive a partial settlement from your auto insurance company and keep and repair your car, your auto insurance company will provide you with the car’s salvage title. Once you have the car’s salvage title, you can start the rebuilding process.

You need to take your salvage car to a licensed rebuilder in SC to have the necessary repairs made. The salvage rebuilding process requires a post-repair, rebuilt car inspection.

South Carolina Rebuilt Vehicle Inspections

Once you make the necessary repairs to your salvage car that meet SC’s safe legal operating standards, you’ll need to schedule a rebuilt vehicle inspection appointment. During the inspection, your car’s major components will be checked. You can call the SC DMV at (803) 896-5000 for specific information about making your rebuilt vehicle inspection, the required fees, and documentation.

An SC DMV agent will perform the inspection at your rebuilder’s place of business or another designated area if required. If the inspector is required to use a private facility lift to conduct the salvage vehicle inspection, you may be required to pay an extra fee. During this vehicle inspection, you and the licensed rebuilder are required to present specific records to the SC DMV inspector, such as the following:

  • Receipts for all parts used to rebuild the car (receipts for parts taken from other vehicles must ALSO include the vehicle identification number (VIN) of each car from which the parts were removed)
  • Photographs of the vehicle from the pre-inspection
  • Specific information about the following:
    • Rebuilt car (including its make, model, body type, odometer reading, and VIN)
    • Owner (which would be you) to include their full legal name and address
    • Any applicable inspection certificates from the licensed rebuilder

Once your reconstructed salvage vehicle passes inspection, the SC DMV inspector will give you a final certificate of inspection. Make sure you don’t lose this! You must have this certificate to retitle your car.

What Are the Major Components of a Vehicle?

During a South Carolina salvage rebuilt vehicle inspection, a car’s major components are inspected, and this  includes the following parts:

  • Cowls
  • Transmission
  • Frames
  • Engines
  • Doors
  • Trunk lids
  • Front and rear fenders
  • Quarter panels

Why Are Car Inspections Performed in South Carolina?

Salvage-rebuilt car inspections in South Carolina are performed to ensure your car was not repaired with stolen parts and that the vehicle itself is not stolen.

South Carolina Vehicle Safety Inspection Failures

If you fail the rebuilt salvage car inspection, you will need to fix the issues that caused your car to fail the inspection and have the reinspected. This inspection is likely a time-sensitive matter, so make sure you make the necessary repairs and have your car reinspected as soon as possible.

How Do You Register a Salvaged Car in South Carolina?

Since salvage cars are deemed unroadworthy, you won’t be able to register the car. However, you can register a salvage rebuilt car. Once you rebuild your salvage car, you’ll be able to register the car.

South Carolina Vehicle Registration Fees

The vehicle registration fees in SC vary depending on the type of vehicle you own. The following are the registration fees in South Carolina:

  • Electric vehicles: $120 plus registration fee
  • Hybrids: $60 plus registration fee
  • Most passenger cars: $40
  • One-time fee for a new vehicle previously registered in a different state: $250

How is a South Carolina Salvage Title Different from a Rebuilt Car Title?

A South Carolina salvage title car has extreme damage and needs to be repaired before it can be deemed roadworthy. If you plan on driving a salvage car again, you must make the necessary repairs and have the car inspected by a certified inspector. Cars with a rebuilt car title have been repaired and passed the inspection and emissions test, which means they are roadworthy once again and can be driven on any road and highway.

How is a South Carolina Salvage Title Different from a Junk Title?

Cars that have an SC salvage title still have life left. If you want the opportunity to drive this car again, you must make the necessary repairs and have the car inspected to obtain a rebuilt salvage title, allowing the car to be driven again. Cars with a junk title can NOT be driven ever again and will never have a different title. Junk cars must be sold to a vehicle recycling company or junkyard, and will not have the option to obtain a rebuilt title status. Junk cars will remain unworthy and illegal to operate on roads and highways.

Who Buys Salvage Cars Near Me in South Carolina?

You have a lot of different options when it comes to salvage yards in South Carolina. Although we couldn’t list each salvage yard in SC, we’ve listed a handful of them to help point you in the right direction.

Auto Salvage Company
230 Royle Rd.
Ladson, SC 29456
(843) 821-1989
Monday – Friday (8:30 AM – 5 PM)
Saturday and Sunday (Closed)

Sunshine Auto Salvage, LLC
228 Southland Rd.
Orangeburg, SC 29115
(803) 531-1008
Monday – Saturday (8 AM – 5 PM)
Sunday (Closed)

Godfrey’s Auto Salvage & Dave’s Repair, LLC
2645 Alpine Rd.
Columbia, SC 29223
(803) 788-3582
Tuesday – Saturday (8 AM – 6 PM)
Sunday and Monday (open 24 hours)

Hwy 15 Recycling & Auto Salvage, Inc.
2054 US-15
St. George, SC 29477
(843) 563-9667
Tuesday – Saturday (9 AM – 4:30 PM)
Sunday and Monday (Open 24 hours)

When Can I Get a South Carolina Auto Insurance for My Salvage Car?

Since salvage cars can’t be registered, you won’t be able to obtain an auto insurance policy for a car with a salvage label. Before you can get auto insurance for your car, you must make the necessary repairs, pass the SC vehicle safety inspection, and obtain a rebuilt salvage title for the car. Once you complete these steps, you’ll be able to obtain an SC auto insurance policy.

Can I Salvage My Car Without a Title in South Carolina?

No. You can salvage your car without the car’s title in South Carolina. If you’ve misplaced the car’s title, no worries. You can apply for a duplicate SC car title by completing a Duplicate Title Application (Form 400-D).

Will a Rebuilt South Carolina Title Affect My Car’s Value?

Since your car is a rebuilt salvage, the car’s value will be affected. However, your car still has value, just not as much as the same type of car that has a clean title. A clean title is what cars that have no damage have. Since your car is a rebuilt salvage, this title means your car has sustained extensive damage, but has been repaired. The good news is your car is roadworthy and can be driven on roads and highways.

How Can I Get the Most Money for My Salvage Car in South Carolina?

Show me the money! It’s not a crime to want the most money for your salvage vehicle. There are different methods you can use to sell your salvage car, and it’s up to you how you choose to sell it. However, there are a few factors you need to take into consideration when you’re selecting a selling method. You must consider the time and effort you’re willing to commit to selling your car.

Selling Your Salvage Car to Another Individual (Private Sale)

If you’re considering selling your salvage car in a private sale, we hope you don’t mind playing the waiting game. People who are selling their salvage car using this option usually want to find their ideal buyer. An ideal buyer is someone that you want to sell your car to for different reasons, such as the level of care or repairs the car needs and other factors. Sometimes selling a salvage car using this method can take a while, so sit back and enjoy the ride.

Selling Your Salvage Car to a Salvage Yard or Junkyard

Maybe you’re considering selling your salvage car to a junkyard or salvage yard. This is an excellent option if you want cash-in-hand, and aren’t looking for the highest price. Junkyards and salvage yards pay you cash on the spot. A lot of the time, you can sell your salvage car to a junkyard or salvage yard online, and schedule the car to be towed. If everything checks out when the tow driver arrives, you’ll receive your funds. Be advised that you will still need the car’s title if you choose to sell the car using this method.

Selling Your Salvage Car for Parts

Selling your salvage car for parts is also an option. This selling option is known as “parting out” your car. With this method, you will sell the parts of your car that are valuable. A mechanic can help you point out which parts are valuable and help you remove the parts. This selling method takes time and effort, so if you’re willing to spend the time to remove the car’s parts, it could be a big payout for you.

Selling Your Salvage Car As-Is

If you don’t want to make any repairs to your salvage car, your best option is to sell your car as-is. This selling method can take a while, or your car can sell quickly. It depends on the car you have and the buying market for your car. Any repairs that need to be made will be the responsibility of the car’s new owner.

The Woes of Selling a Salvage Car in South Carolina

Selling a salvage car isn’t as easy as you may think. A lot of individuals who are looking for a car will be weary of purchasing a car with a salvage or rebuilt salvage title because of the damage the car sustained. However, some people won’t shy away from a challenge, such as a mechanic or DIY guru who’s looking for a side project.

The Importance of Disclosing Information

As the seller of a salvage car, regardless of the selling method you choose, you are responsible for disclosing all information about your salvage car. Disclosing information is one of the most important steps in selling a salvage car.

In the car’s selling description, make sure you tell potential buyers about the damages the car sustained. If you have made any repairs to the car, you should also include this information in the description. Make sure you keep all receipts or invoices as proof that the repairs were made.

Buyers understand that your car is a salvage, but they want to know how much time and effort they have to put into it, such as making repairs, before it can be roadworthy again. Give buyers peace of mind by having the proper documents ready and available to view.

How Do You Apply for a South Carolina Rebuilt Car Title?

Once you’ve repaired/rebuilt your salvage car and it passes the SC vehicle safety inspection, you’re eligible to retitle and register the vehicle with the SC DMV. You will follow the same process as titling and registering any other vehicle in South Carolina. However, you may be required to provide the following additional documentation:

  • The final certificate of inspection (you will receive this document when your car passes the rebuilt vehicle inspection)
  • Receipts and invoices for the parts and services required to repair your vehicle

The requirements for applying for an SC rebuilt car title vary by situation, so call the SC DMV at (803) 896-5000 to make sure you have everything you need to retitle and register your rebuilt salvage car. Once everything is confirmed, you’ll legally be able to drive your vehicle again. Congratulations!

How Long Does it Take to Receive a Rebuilt Title in South Carolina?

We get it. You’re excited and want to drive your car again. We’re happy for you! You should allow the SC DMV 3 to 6 weeks to process your rebuilt car title. This may seem like quite a while, but the DMV needs to review and verify the information you provided, put it in the DMV system, then mail your rebuilt title.

You just learned the different ways to sell your salvage car in South Carolina.