Once a vehicle has been repaired, and before it can be registered, the vehicle must be inspected. Salvage inspections protect customers because they combat fraud and prevent the sale of stolen parts. Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 90D Section 20D governs the salvage inspection process.
At the salvage inspection, the inspector checks the vehicle’s identification number, the appraisal report, and Bills of Sale for all major component parts that were replaced. The salvage inspection is not a safety inspection.
If the safety inspection sticker was removed from a vehicle's windshield at the time of the damage appraisal and replaced with a rejection sticker, vehicle owners may submit the vehicle to any official inspection station for a valid safety inspection sticker any time after the vehicle has passed the salvage inspection and the vehicle has been properly registered. Note that the rejection sticker is valid for 20 calendar days from the date of inspection.
Salvage inspections sites are located throughout the Commonwealth. All inspections are conducted on a first come, first serve, walk-in basis. Please visit the Registry of Motor Vehicles' Website for a list of salvage inspection sites. If a customer has any questions, he/she should call the Auto Theft Department.
Salvage inspections are done by the Massachusetts State Police. A customer may contact the Massachusetts State Police Salvage Unit for information about whether or not a vehicle may be driven to the inspection site or must be carried on a trailer.
Prior to the Salvage Inspection
A customer seeking a salvage inspection will need to go to a Registry branch office prior to the salvage inspection and bring with him/her:
• A completed Application for Inspection of a Salvaged Motor Vehicle
• The current Salvage Title
• The Salvage Inspection fee. Please see the Title Fees section for the applicable fee.
What to Bring to a Salvage Inspection
At the time of a salvage inspection, a customer must present all of the following documentation:
1. A completed, signed Application for Inspection of a Salvage Motor Vehicle
2. The current Salvage Title
3. The Insurance Appraisal Report, issued by the insurance company, that declared the vehicle to be a Total Loss Salvage vehicle. Bills of Sale (receipt or invoice) proving the purchase of all major component parts used to restore the vehicle. The Bills of Sale must contain the following information:
a. Name and address of buyer
b. Name and address of seller
c. Date of purchase
d. Purchase price
e. Identification information:
i. New part: description of the new part
ii. Used part: part number; description; and, VIN, make, model, and year of the vehicle from which the part was removed (a Certificate of Title of the vehicle which the part came from shall be accepted as proof of ownership). Customer must present Bills of Sale (receipt or invoice) as proof of ownership for each major component part used in the reconstruction, rebuilding or repair of the motor vehicle, including the following parts: engine, transmission or trans-axle, front bumper, rear bumper, each fender, hood or engine cover, each door, each quarter panel, deck-lid, tailgate or hatchback, dash, frame, air bags, assembled items such as a nose (fender hood bumper radiator support), front clip (cowl frame section, shock and apron structure), rear clip (rear sheet metal, frame section, roof), short clip (rear clip without roof), and interior, including seats & dash
4. If an airbag has been replaced with a used airbag, a copy of the Certificate of Title for the vehicle that the airbag came from must be provided, regardless of whether the airbag was purchased in Massachusetts or out-of-state. A "used airbag" is an airbag that has been removed from one vehicle and reinstalled in a salvage vehicle being rebuilt.
5. On all 1987 and newer model year vehicles, the manufacturer's label as required by the federal motor vehicle theft standard must be attached to the major parts of new car models designated as high theft vehicles and to replacement parts for these models.
a. If federally mandated anti-theft labels are covered with paint, the Inspector will reject the vehicle, and the paint will either have to be removed or the part(s) must be replaced.
6. The receipt confirming payment of the Salvage Inspection fee. This fee should have been paid at the branch office prior to the inspection.
The salvage inspector will perform a partial inspection of all vehicles that are submitted for a salvage inspection. In addition, the Registry has created a procedure for the random selection of some salvage vehicles for full inspection. This procedure is documented in regulation at 540 CMR 12.00.
The inspector will inspect the Vehicle Identification Number and odometer reading of every vehicle presented as part of an application for a salvage inspection. The inspector may check secondary sources on the vehicle to confirm the Vehicle Identification Number and examine the exterior of the vehicle to verify that it conforms to the year, make, model, and color of the motor vehicle identified in the application and supporting documents.
Using the random selection process, the inspector will select a certain number of vehicles to undergo a full inspection of the major component parts which have been repaired or replaced as part of the rebuilding process. The inspection will verify that:
• The vehicle's parts have not been removed, falsified, altered, defaced, destroyed, or tampered with
• The vehicle information contained in the application and supporting documents is true and correct
In addition to the vehicles randomly selected for a partial inspection, any vehicle that does not possess a vehicle identification number will be required to undergo a full inspection. If a customer removes a vehicle from the inspection facility after being informed that the vehicle has been selected for a full inspection, but prior to such inspection, an Inspector may withhold the customer's original documents and forward such documents to the Registrar. The Registrar may refuse to issue a Title for such vehicle.
If the customer requests that the original documents specified in this section be returned to him/her, he/she must provide photocopies of the documents. The salvage inspector will retain the photocopies and stamp all of the original documents "Submitted for Salvage Inspection" to deter the re-use of original bills of sale or receipts.
After the vehicle has passed the salvage inspection, the customer may apply for a Reconstructed or Recovered Theft Title, whichever is applicable.
If a salvage inspection is failed, the salvage inspector will provide the customer guidance on next steps.