What Is A Blue Title? Everything You Need To Know

Article Summary

Every car has a title, but a title does more than indicate ownership. Cars can have one of four types of titles: clean, clear, salvage, and rebuilt. If you find a vehicle that has a “blue” title, chances are the car has experienced significant damage and was declared “salvage” because the repairs cost more than the car itself. However, purchasing a blue title car can be a cheap option if you perform the repairs yourself.

A blue title is an important piece of information on your vehicle. In most states, a blue title indicates that the car experienced an accident that led to a total loss. If you’re thinking about purchasing a blue title vehicle, you will want to have a clear idea of what a blue title means and how it might affect you. Keep reading to learn all the basics you should know about a blue title car.

What is a car title?

A car title is the legal form of ownership of your vehicle. Cars receive title classifications based on the condition of and debt against a vehicle. There are four basic types of car titles:

  1. Clean: A car in good and reliable structural condition.
  2. Clear: A car with no debt owed against it.
  3. Salvage: A state agency or insurance company declared the car a total loss. This means the cost of repairing the vehicle is more than the car is worth.
  4. Rebuilt: A title upgrades to a rebuilt if a salvage car has been fixed enough so that it can drive safely.

What is the difference between a clean and salvage title?

A salvage title suggests that the vehicle is inoperable due to damage from a collision, flood, fire, or something similar. New cars or cars with little to no damage have clean titles. A salvage title cannot be a clean title. Furthermore, a salvage vehicle can never be completely cleaned, but sometimes you can get the title re-assigned to rebuilt if the vehicle receives the correct repairs.

What is a blue title?

In most states, the term “blue title” refers to a salvage title. The name comes from the blue paper used for printing these documents.

State of California certificate of title salvage
A “blue” title often refers to a salvage title, but this depends on the state.

In Texas, a blue title actually indicates a clean and clear title and a purple title (you guessed it, purple paper) indicates a salvage title. In other states, a salvage title is printed on pink paper, and a car title is printed on orange paper if it is rebuilt. If you want to know what the title color means in your state, check with local DMV or vehicle registration departments.

Is a blue title a clean title?

A blue title may indicate a clean title only in select states. Check your with local DMV to see if this applies to you. Throughout this article, we will assume that a blue title is equivalent to a salvage title.

Is it safe to buy a car with a salvage title?

Similar to buying any other type of car, you should do research on your prospective car before buying. SuperMoney’s 10 questions to ask when buying a used car can give you a good place to start when browsing salvage cars. Buying a salvage title car can be safe, but there’s a reason the vehicle has a salvage title. The vehicle’s damage is, or was, severe enough that the repairs cost more than the car itself. If you feel comfortable performing repairs on a salvage vehicle, you may have a great and cheap car! However, take the time to do your research before purchasing a car with a salvage title.

Financing a blue title car

You cannot insure salvage cars, and there’s a low chance of finding a bank willing to finance such an automobile. Not only that, but a salvage car is not legally allowed to drive on the road in many states. If you want to buy a salvage car, your best option is to use cash.

How do I clean a blue or salvage title?

As mentioned previously, you can’t clean a salvage title car. However, you can go through the following steps to change the car’s title to “rebuilt.”

  1. Repair: Find out what damage made the car totaled, and fix it.
  2. Inspection: Get your repaired car an inspection as required by your state.
  3. Application: The last step is all the required paperwork for your state DMV.
  4. Issue: The DMV will (hopefully) approve your paperwork and issue a new title—a rebuilt title.

What is a rebuilt title?

A rebuilt title belongs to a formerly salvaged vehicle. This type of title is issued when a salvage car has been adequately repaired, per state-specific standards. Unlike a salvage title car, a rebuilt title car can be insured and legally driven. However, some insurance companies might hesitate to insure a car that has had severe prior damage, even if it passed an inspection. If an insurance company believes past damage might impact future safety, they will either charge a high premium or refuse to insure it.

That being said, it’s a good idea to shop around with insurance providers to get an estimate for a rebuilt title car. If you want to buy a salvage title car and convert it to a rebuilt title, do some research to make sure the damage won’t scare all insurance companies away.

WEIGH THE RISKS AND BENEFITS

Here is a list of the benefits and the drawbacks to consider when buying a car with a blue title.

Pros
  • Lower price tag.
  • Potential for profit.
Cons
  • Hidden damage.
  • Might not pass inspection.
  • Hard to resell.

What are the advantages of buying a blue title car?

Buying a blue title car can have many benefits! If you know what you’re getting yourself into, and you have a plan, you can save or even make some serious money.

Save money by buying a blue title car

Salvage title vehicles are a great way to get an auto fixer-upper at a fraction of the cost. They can be found in local car auctions or salvage yards. Use SuperMoney’s checklist for buying a used car as a starting point.

Repair potential of a blue title car

A car may hold a salvage title, but the repairs may still be reasonable. If you find a salvage title car that doesn’t need too much repair, it could be a great money-saving deal.

What are the disadvantages of buying a blue title car?

Buying a blue title car comes with inherent risks. These shouldn’t alarm you. The more information you have about the car, the better chance you have of a successful deal.

Hidden damage in a blue title car

There are two types of damage that cars can sustain in an accident. The first type is what you would expect—there are obvious, visible dents and scratches on the exterior or broken glass from windows. The second type is damage you can’t see. Before buying a salvage car, ask about frame damage or water damage, which can’t be repaired.

Blue title cars might not pass a safety inspection

It’s important to check if the car can pass inspection before buying it. Whether it’s possible or not varies by state. Talk to your local inspection agency to find out what a car needs to pass inspection.

Difficult to resell salvage vehicles

Cars that have salvage titles tied to them can be difficult to resell. There are some companies out there who will buy salvage cars, so look for that in your area. If you want to resell a blue title car that you have put work into repairing, think about getting the title adjusted to “rebuilt.”

Blue titles — In a nutshell

When a car is declared totaled by an insurance company, the car receives a salvage title. This can happen if there is significant damage or vehicle structural failure during an accident or other event. A salvage title doesn’t mean the car is a lost cause. This type of car cannot be made clean again but instead needs a rebuilt title status to get back on the road legally. You can use SuperMoney’s recommendations on how to get the best deal on a used car as a resource. Buying a blue title car has the potential to be a fun and lucrative project.

If you are in the market for buying a car and need financing, here are some auto loans to consider. This free auto loan comparison tool allows you to check what rates and terms you prequalify for without hurting your credit.

Key takeaways

  • A car title acts as proof that you own your vehicle.
  • A vehicle can have different four types of titles: clean, clear, salvage, and rebuilt.
  • A “blue” title often refers to a salvage title, but this depends on the state.
  • You can change a car title from salvage to rebuilt given the right repairs.
  • Always do your research before purchasing a used car.
Article Sources
  1. What Is a Car Title? Everything You Need to Know – Car and Driver
  2. Instructions for releasing vehicle titles  – Oregon.gov
  3. 10 Questions to Ask When Buying a Used Car – SuperMoney
  4. Used Car Checklist: Check For This When Buying a Used Car? – SuperMoney
  5. How To Get The Best Deal On A Used Car — A Complete Guide – SuperMoney