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 What are the rules on cutting up cars, selling parts, VINs, titles, etc.?

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AA
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PostSubject: What are the rules on cutting up cars, selling parts, VINs, titles, etc.?   Wed Nov 14, 2012 7:21 pm

I've got a few questions for those of you who have experience cutting apart cars and putting them back together, or maybe you know who I could talk to. I know that when someone takes parts from a wrecked car to fix another wrecked car, there is a process of tracking the VINs for inspection & registration purposes. I know a copy of the VIN is located on all major parts of the car that can be removed, including the engine. When you sell a door, a hood, or an engine, I understand the VIN is included on the receipt with the sale, so that the new owner can provide for inspection. This varies by state, but basically this is the way it works.

What I don't know is at what point the title moves along with the car to the next owner. If I buy a car with salvage title and sell all the body panels and engine, I'm left with the chassis. Can I continue cutting off parts and selling without transferring the title? Like a rear clip for example. If I sell that, the title doesn't transfer, right? Then say I sell the bumpers and other portions. At what point can I still legally hold the title for the car, even though it's no longer a complete car? Can I own just the dash/cowl portion with VIN and say I'm the owner of the "car"? What if I chop up the car and sell all the parts except for one door? Since it has the VIN, could that be considered the "car" for ownership purposes?

Btw, I'm not planning to cut apart my Riv or anything of the like. This is for a project I'm doing at work. The reason I'm researching this, we have acquired a donor car with salvage title. We will be using an engine and suspension parts to build a concept vehicle, then selling the remainder as parts. Trying to decide if we keep the title, or sell it with the last piece we sell. Or does the title go along with a specific part of the car?

I will contact the highway patrol or BMV if needed, but hoping maybe someone has some experience and can give me a head start. Any help/info is appreciated. Thanks!

_________________
'98 SC Riviera • 268k miles • 298 HP/370 TQ • 0-60: 5.79s • ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 • 4087 lb • 20.1 avg MPG • Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley • AL104 plugs • 180º t-stat • FWI w/K&N • 1.9:1 rockers • OR pushrods • LS6 valve springs • SLP headers • ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts • MaxAir shocks • Addco sway bars • UMI bushings • GM STB • Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s • F-body calipers
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'05 GTO • 49k miles • 0-60: 4.8s • 16.9 avg MPG • Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
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denim
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PostSubject: Re: What are the rules on cutting up cars, selling parts, VINs, titles, etc.?   Wed Nov 14, 2012 8:34 pm

That seems to be a question for Ohioans, or what I assume is the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. States differ. For instance, some now want to secede, again. smile    In NY, I'd contact the DMV.

If you do call the Highway Patrol, Broderick Crawford may show up in this:
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albertj
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PostSubject: Re: What are the rules on cutting up cars, selling parts, VINs, titles, etc.?   Wed Nov 14, 2012 8:53 pm

AA wrote:
I've got a few questions for those of you who have experience cutting apart cars and putting them back together, or maybe you know who I could talk to. I know that when someone takes parts from a wrecked car to fix another wrecked car, there is a process of tracking the VINs for inspection & registration purposes. I know a copy of the VIN is located on all major parts of the car that can be removed, including the engine. When you sell a door, a hood, or an engine, I understand the VIN is included on the receipt with the sale, so that the new owner can provide for inspection. This varies by state, but basically this is the way it works.

What I don't know is at what point the title moves along with the car to the next owner. If I buy a car with salvage title and sell all the body panels and engine, I'm left with the chassis. Can I continue cutting off parts and selling without transferring the title? Like a rear clip for example. If I sell that, the title doesn't transfer, right? Then say I sell the bumpers and other portions. At what point can I still legally hold the title for the car, even though it's no longer a complete car? Can I own just the dash/cowl portion with VIN and say I'm the owner of the "car"? What if I chop up the car and sell all the parts except for one door? Since it has the VIN, could that be considered the "car" for ownership purposes?

Btw, I'm not planning to cut apart my Riv or anything of the like. This is for a project I'm doing at work. The reason I'm researching this, we have acquired a donor car with salvage title. We will be using an engine and suspension parts to build a concept vehicle, then selling the remainder as parts. Trying to decide if we keep the title, or sell it with the last piece we sell. Or does the title go along with a specific part of the car?

I will contact the highway patrol or BMV if needed, but hoping maybe someone has some experience and can give me a head start. Any help/info is appreciated. Thanks!

Call the state BMV -- the reason for the salvage laws is to catch folks with stolen cars. Yours is not stolen, just tell the person you reach what you told us (we have a salvage vehicle at work, we are going to use the engine and suspension and sell the rest. It's a proof of concept. What happens to the title?). The answer will vary somewhat by state but most likely will be that title follows the engine into the concept car (you may find this **very** convenient in case you want to run that car on public roads) or that title remains vested in the last owner and as long as that owner does not complain or file any complaint or affidavit there's no further official action. The laws vary enough state by state that your best move is to call the BMV in the morning.

Albertj
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denim
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PostSubject: Re: What are the rules on cutting up cars, selling parts, VINs, titles, etc.?   Wed Nov 14, 2012 9:02 pm

Kudos to Albert for following up out of state. Sounds correct that the engine and VIN are most closely linked than all the rest.
Frankly, the risk of the challenge of ownership depends on the age of the vehicle. The older (unless a valued antique) the less likely. After all, cars are mostly a depreciating asset.

Edit: Changed my mind. The chassis is probably the "car" as others have noted further on in the thread.


Last edited by denim on Thu Nov 15, 2012 8:44 am; edited 1 time in total
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1998 Riv
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PostSubject: Re: What are the rules on cutting up cars, selling parts, VINs, titles, etc.?   Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:33 pm

In my experience with "older" vehicles, the title belongs with the body/chassis of the car, not with the engine. Engines come and go... the rest of the vehicle is what is titled. If I blow the 3800 in my Riv and need a replacement, my title does not change.

Aaron, AFAIK you can sell off any and all parts one by one til nothing is left and never give anyone else the title. If you sell someone basically a mostly complete vehicle, then the title should be signed over to the buyer. It would NOT have to include the engine. It would NOT have to include the hood. Generally, the title should go with a buyer who purchases the body of the car including the dash area vin plate. I also believe it is illegal to remove and sell the VIN plate, in all states.

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turtleman
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PostSubject: Re: What are the rules on cutting up cars, selling parts, VINs, titles, etc.?   Thu Nov 15, 2012 3:13 am

I'm not an expert but the way I keep seeing things happen in IL, there's no need to do anything to the title until it's convenient for you. If you end up permanently dismantling the car to use strictly for parts, then there's no reason you would want to be stuck paying to register it every year or whatnot. Change it to a salvage title or whatever.

I would like to know if there are official rules about this though. The VIN tag its self is fixed to the unibody so I'd think the shell of the car is kinda the "car". Since it's illegal to tamper with the VIN tag, I think that's the mother of it. Everything else like the hood, engine, etc. don't really matter.
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AA
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PostSubject: Re: What are the rules on cutting up cars, selling parts, VINs, titles, etc.?   Thu Nov 15, 2012 7:01 am

Thanks for the info, guys. Our car has a salvage title. I understand it would be illegal to sell only the VIN tag, which is why I'm asking how much of the car must be attached to the VIN tag? For example, our car has a good rear end. I understand you can sell the "rear clip", which means we would cut the car in half. The front end is already damaged, so the only thing left would be the firewall and cowl (it's a convertible). From what Dave is saying, and I think he's correct, we could keep the title in our possession, even if we sell the remainder of the car, which has the dash VIN tag.

_________________
'98 SC Riviera • 268k miles • 298 HP/370 TQ • 0-60: 5.79s • ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 • 4087 lb • 20.1 avg MPG • Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley • AL104 plugs • 180º t-stat • FWI w/K&N • 1.9:1 rockers • OR pushrods • LS6 valve springs • SLP headers • ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts • MaxAir shocks • Addco sway bars • UMI bushings • GM STB • Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s • F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus • SS lines • Brembo slotted discs • DHP tuned • Aeroforce • Hidden Hitch


'05 GTO • 49k miles • 0-60: 4.8s • 16.9 avg MPG • Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
Because fun
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http://www.cardomain.com/ride/657082/4
deekster_caddy
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PostSubject: Re: What are the rules on cutting up cars, selling parts, VINs, titles, etc.?   Thu Nov 15, 2012 3:16 pm

My understanding is that the VIN tag on the dash under the windshield is the only one that matters. I don't know if you can actually take that tag off and sell the cowl, VIN-less, or if you need to cut the part with the VIN out, but that's the only critical tag as far as I know.

I still think you would need to check with the local BMV to confirm. Maybe a cop knows the answer? (although sometimes they think they know and spread incorrect information...)
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1998 Riv
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PostSubject: Re: What are the rules on cutting up cars, selling parts, VINs, titles, etc.?   Thu Nov 15, 2012 4:13 pm

Don't transfer the title to anyone who is not buying at least the front section of the car that includes the dash VIN tag. The title should go with the front end if the VIN plate section is part of what is being sold.

But I do agree you should consult with your state's DMV.
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bigdave
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PostSubject: Re: What are the rules on cutting up cars, selling parts, VINs, titles, etc.?   Thu Nov 15, 2012 7:03 pm

In my experience with vehicle titles in New York state, the title is only to prove ownership of the vehicle. The title should never be transferred for the sale of parts from a car. When rebuilding a salvage vehicle in NY, the Department of Motor vehicles requests that all invoices from used parts used to repair the vehicle have V.I.N from parts vehicle to establish that they are not stolen. All recycling yards in NY list the V.I.N. on invoice when selling parts.

If rebuilding a damaged vehicle that has not been deemed salvage, this is not necessary as there is no inspection for title. These rules may or may not apply in other states. I know NY has tougher laws than most in these issues.

Also. in NY, if a good portion of the vehicle is being scrapped, it would be necessary to have the title. Only someone with a dismantlers permit can scrap a vehicle without a title.

Even if the cowl with the V.I.N. tag is sold, the title would not necessarily go with the part. The tag from the repaired vehicle should be transferred to the salvage part. I believe it is only illegal to tamper with the tag if it was done for no reason but to be deceptive. If the tag is removed and replaced for a legit reason it is not illegal.

I would recommend you check your state for proper procedures as I am not an expert in anything!
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