Mechanic inspections now required for rebuilt salvage vehicles

March 30, 2017

LANSING — Under a new state law now in effect, damaged vehicles deemed salvage must be inspected by a certified mechanic before being allowed back on the road, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson recently announced.

Previously, only an inspection by a trained law-enforcement officer was required to verify that the vehicle was not repaired using stolen auto parts. The new law adds a certification by a licensed mechanic to ensure the repair work was done adequately and the vehicle is safe to drive.

“Michigan car-buyers now will have peace of mind that a newly rebuilt vehicle they buy has been inspected by a certified mechanic and wasn’t repaired poorly,” Johnson said. “I thank lawmakers for approving this important consumer-protection law.”

People who have repaired a salvage vehicle must use the same salvage-vehicle inspection form, which now includes a section for a certified mechanic to fill out. The form is available online or at any Secretary of State office. Once completed, the vehicle owner must submit the form at a Secretary of State office along with the vehicle’s salvage title and a salvage certification form before receiving a rebuilt salvage title.

Salvage titles are issued to distressed vehicles that weigh 4 tons or less and were manufactured in the last six model years, or those that weigh more than 4 tons and were manufactured in the last 16 model years. A vehicle becomes distressed when one or more of its major components, such as bumpers, engine, body or frame, have been wrecked, stolen or missing so the vehicle’s estimated damage is from 75 percent to less than 91 percent of its pre-damaged value.

A seller is required to disclose if the vehicle has a salvage title. Car buyers should watch for an orange title when purchasing a car. An orange title means that the vehicle has a salvage title, and may not be worth as much as the same car with a green or “clean” Michigan title.