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Our goal is to give you the most up-to-date, accurate information about your state DMV's processes. You can locate your vehicle identification number in a few different places, both off and on your vehicle itself. If you don't have the documentation mentioned above, you can find the VIN on the actual vehicle itself.
The VIN can often be found on the lower-left corner of the dashboard, in front of the steering wheel. Once you know your VIN, it's important to record and store the number some place other than in the vehicle. Registering a brand new vehicle, or registering your car in a new state if you've recently moved.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began requiring standardized VINs in 1954 for all road vehicles. Vehicles model year 1981 and newer have a VIN made up of 17 characters (letters and numerals). You will likely need a bill of sale form whenever you buy a vehicle from, or sell one to, another person. I acknowledge that DMV.org is a privately-owned Web site that is not owned or operated by any state government agency. DMV.org is a privately owned website that is not owned or operated by any state government agency. All five-model year or newer vehicles that are purchased out-of-state must have their vehicle identification number verified. Salvage vehicles are damaged vehicles that are declared total losses by insurance companies. Examples of ownership documentation include a salvage certificate, non-repairable certificate, or certificate of title.
If you are the owner, you can declare your vehicle non-repairable by submitting an Non-Repairable Certificate Application (Form VSA 57) to the DMV, and exchanging the title or salvage certificate for a non-repairable certificate. If an insurance company declares a vehicle non-repairable, it must apply for a non-repairable certificate and submit the vehicles's salvage certificate or title within 15 days of payment of a claim.


It is illegal to sell a non-repairable vehicle to anybody except a scrap metal processor, demolisher, salvage dealer, or vehicle removal operator. You cannot use a non-repairable certificate as a title to transfer ownership or to register a vehicle. If you own an uninsured or self-insured vehicle for which the cost to repair the damage is more than 75% of the actual cash value, you must submit a Salvage Certificate Application (Form VSA 56) to the DMV. As part of the application process, you'll need to get an estimate of the cost of repairs on insurance company letterhead or the official stationery of an independent Virginia appraiser. If an insurance company takes possession of a damaged vehicle and pays the owner (or lien holder) for the value of the vehicle, the company must apply for a salvage certificate within 15 days of paying the owner or lien holder.
Salvage vehicles may not be operated on Virginia highways and may not be registered as long as there is an active salvage certificate. For information on titling your repaired or rebuilt salvage vehicle, visit the Virginia DMV website. If the vehicle record says the damage is 75% or less, the title will be branded "REPAIRED." There is no need to notify future buyers that this was a salvage vehicle. If the damage is more than 75 percent, up to 90 percent, the title will be branded "REBUILT." Every time the vehicle changes ownership, each new buyer must receive the title and be notified on a Rebuilt Vehicle Disclosure Statement (Form VSA 59). The world of salvage and rebuilt salvage vehicles is complicated, and the Virginia DMV imposes a number of regulations and processes to protect consumers from fraud and theft. Submit this form if you're keeping a vehicle that is considered salvage, water-damaged, or nonrepairable.
Before your car has expired tags, you'll need to complete your license plate sticker renewal. The date you see here reflects the most recent time we've verified this information with your state DMV.
This should be easy to spot by popping open the hood, and looking at the front of the engine. Open the door, and look underneath where the side-view mirror would be located if the door was shut.
Open the door, and look near the spot where the door latches, not too far from the seatbelt return.


To learn what the individual characters in a VIN represent, visit our page on decoding the VIN. But before you do, there will be some paperwork that you will need to provide the new owners so they can properly title and register the vehicle in their name. Our Free Vin Check reports let you check the Vin# of your car for a free basic car history report.
They may also be recovered stolen vehicles for which insurance companies have already settled claims with the owners. The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) must also be notified when a vehicle is demolished or stripped of its parts. Include the vehicle's title, which will be noted "Branded if Rebuilt." You must pay a $10 titling fee. The estimate must include the vehicle identification number (VIN), make and year, a list of all parts that would be repaired or rebuilt, the cost and whether the parts are new or used, and the total costs for both labor and parts. However, if the vehicle is rebuilt, a salvage certificate may be reassigned to a licensed rebuilder. If so, the brand will be permanent and carried forward for each title issued in the future, for the life of the vehicle.
If you're thinking of salvaging a vehicle you own or buying one that has been salvaged and rebuilt, you'd be wise to read all the DMV has to say about salvage, non-repairable, and rebuilt vehicles.
Before you put the "For Sale" sign in the window, check your state to see what is required to sell your car.
The most common required documents are a bill of sale, also known as a vehicle transfer form and a release of liability.



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