Tow & Salvage Yard Inspection Process

Salvaged vehicle with damage in the front.

You’ve found a rebuilt vehicle at a stellar price at a salvage yard, and you look forward to taking it out on the road in Phoenix soon. But first, the vehicle needs to be inspected.

Research shows that the auto salvage industry today is vast, and tow and salvage yard inspections are an important part of protecting people, like you, who want to take advantage of it.

The question is, what can you expect from third-party tow and salvage yard inspections?

Here’s a rundown on what to expect from the inspections of salvage vehicles and how they can benefit you.

What Is a Salvage Vehicle?

Salvage vehicles are vehicles that have been destroyed (including damaged by water), wrecked, stolen, or otherwise deemed inoperable and too expensive to repair.

A leasing company, financial institution, car owner, or insurance company can make this determination.

You may receive a salvage title for a car that has been water damaged, destroyed, or wrecked and is uneconomical to fix as we mentioned earlier.

What Is a Restored Salvage Vehicle?

A restored salvage vehicle is a car that was issued a salvage title previously but has since been restored, repaired, or rebuilt for use on the highway.

A salvaged vehicle can successfully be restored following careful restoration and inspected for roadworthiness. Then, it can be given a title marking it, or branding it, as a restored salvage vehicle.

Only if the vehicle passes the inspection for roadworthiness will it be issued a restored salvage title. An inspection is also mandatory before a repaired salvage vehicle is registered.

Tow and Salvage Yard Inspections

Note that third-party tow and salvage inspections in Phoenix are not safety inspections. Rather, the purpose of a salvage inspection is to protect customers from fraud. That’s because sellers are not always truthful about the specific damage that caused their cars to get salvage titles.

These inspections also help to prevent people from selling stolen car parts.

Such inspections may be done off-site. To do this type of inspection, a Level I inspection, you will likely need to schedule and pay for the evaluation upfront. Then, an inspector will visit your site.

A salvage inspection may also be performed on an abandoned vehicle. This is particularly true if the driver information and vehicle identification number (VIN) are in question.

What an Inspection Involves

A salvage inspector will check your car’s VIN and appraisal report. They’ll also take a close look at the bill of sale associated with each major part that was replaced in the car.

During inspections, inspectors also look at cars’ odometer readings. They also examine the cars’ exteriors. This is done to verify that the vehicles conform to the colors, models, makes, and years of the cars identified in the associated supporting documents and inspection applications.

The inspector of a car will make certain that the parts of the vehicle haven’t been tampered with, destroyed, or defaced. They’ll also ensure that the parts haven’t been falsified or removed.

The inspector’s other main job is to make sure that the car information included in your inspection application and supporting documents is correct and true.

If your vehicle passes the inspection, you can complete an application for a title. Meanwhile, if the car fails the inspection, the inspector should provide you with guidance on the next steps you need to take to address the matter.

Inspection Requirements

If you are requesting a salvage inspection, do not commingle the vehicle you want to be inspected with a vehicle that is not to be inspected. Also, keep in mind that your vehicle should be inspected only in a pre-designated area.

The inspector will also require the inspection area to be safe. The condition of the vicinity should not pose a danger to the inspector.

Inspectors additionally will not inspect vehicles while they are stacked. Likewise, any vehicles that are being inspected cannot be located close to stacked vehicles. A clearance of several feet should be around the car being inspected as well.

Your inspector will furthermore require you to unlock your vehicle prior to having it checked. In addition, all documentation related to the car needs to be readily available so that the authorized inspector can review it as needed.

So, Should I Buy a Salvage Vehicle?

Absolutely. However, the person selling the salvage vehicle must tell you that you are, in fact, buying this type of vehicle.

Also, during the purchase process, be sure to ask for proof of ownership of the replacement parts that were used in your car’s restoration or repair.

Keep in mind that qualifying for financing or insurance is difficult with a salvage vehicle. Insurance companies usually offer only limited insurance coverage, if they offer any at all.

This limited coverage, called liability coverage, likely will not cover the expenses associated with fixing the car if it is involved in an accident.

How We Can Help

Tow and salvage yard inspections in Phoenix play a vital role in helping to protect drivers against fraud. They are also designed to protect you against the negative effects of car damage.

Fortunately, at GG&D, we offer high-quality abandoned vehicle and Level 1 inspections at salvage and tow yards. We also offer car registration, title transfer, temporary permit, and notary services.

Get in touch with us to learn more about our inspection services and how they can help you as a vehicle owner in Arizona.


GG&D provides complete full service vehicle registration & title services. Driver License & ID Services available at all GG&D locations.


GG&D Motor Vehicle Services, LLC was a founding member of the 3rd Party Motor Vehicle Association. We offer vehicle title transfers, license plate replacement, motor vehicle registration, duplicate titles, notary services, temporary permits and other MVD Arizona services. GG&D has locations in Phoenix, Glendale, and Mesa. Find a location near you!

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