Salvage theft examinationsIowa law requires that all vehicles that are designated "salvage" or have a "salvage" title to be physically examined by a "peace officer" who has been certified by the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy to conduct examinations.
The purpose of the salvage theft examination is to physically verify that no stolen parts were used to rebuild a vehicle. The exam is also used to authenticate the ownership of the vehicle that is being presented for examination. A typical salvage theft examination takes approximately 45 minutes, but may take several hours if the vehicle identification numbers are not easily accessible or there are problems with the ownership documents.
The physical examination of the vehicle will be performed by a peace officer with a local or county law enforcement agency who has been certified to perform these examinations. If you are requesting a salvage theft examination, you must call one of the agencies listed on the Agencies Conducting Salvage Theft Examinations document to schedule an appointment.
An Affidavit of Salvage Vehicle Repairs must be completed and presented to the examining officer prior to the examination commencing. These forms can be obtained from the examining officer, from this website, the Office of Motor Vehicle Enforcement headquarters, or possibly your county treasurer's office. It will also be necessary to bring with you to the examination site all bills of sale, receipts and invoices showing ownership to all parts used to rebuild the vehicle. A permit to drive the vehicle to the examination site is included on the affidavit and must be carried in the vehicle and presented to any peace officer if stopped.
The applicant must also present to the examining officer an Iowa salvage title in the name of the applicant or if the examination is performed within 30 days of the assignment of ownership, a properly assigned title is acceptable.
The fee for the salvage theft examination is $30.
Salvage vehicle information
- Was acquired by an insurance company as a result of damage or theft; or
- Was acquired by a licensed recycler or a person engaged in the business of buying and selling or exchanging vehicles of a type required to be registered in Iowa, and has repair costs exceeding 50 percent of its fair market value before it was damaged and that value was $500 or more; or
- Is from another state, and that state’s title indicates the vehicle is damaged and cannot be registered to be driven or moved on the highway until repaired.
- Sell used bodies, parts of bodies, frames or component parts of more than six used vehicles; or
- Deal in the wrecking or dismantling of more than six vehicles or parts of more than six used vehicles; or
- Rebuild or restore for sale six or more wrecked or salvage vehicles; or
- Store vehicles not currently registered or damaged unless the storage is incidental to your primary purpose of repairing motor vehicles for others, scrapping, disposing, salvaging or recycling of more than six vehicles or parts of more than six vehicles.
- An educational institution;
- Licensed as a new motor vehicle dealer;
- Engaged in the business of purchasing bodies, parts of bodies, frames, or component parts of vehicles only for sale as scrap metal; or
- Engaged in rebuilding or restoring vehicles as a hobby, not for profit.
- New motor vehicle dealer licensed under Iowa Code § 322.
- A person engaged in the business of purchasing bodies, parts of bodies, frames or component parts of vehicles for sale as scrap metal.
- A salvage pool (means the business of selling at auction wrecked or salvage vehicles as defined in Iowa Code § 321.52); or
- An authorized vehicle recycler licensed under Iowa Code § 321H.
How do I get a regular title and registration for an Iowa salvage titled vehicle that has been repaired?
- Salvage title;
- Salvage theft examination certificate; and
- Appropriate fees.
The regular title will be designated as prior salvage, which will be carried forward to all subsequent Iowa titles and registrations for the vehicle.
The following designations may appear on the upper right-hand corner of the Iowa title and bottom right-hand corner of the Iowa registration receipt:
- Prior salvage;
- Two-letter abbreviation of the out-of-state jurisdiction;
- Food, fire, vandalism, or theft; or
- Lemon buy back.
- An Iowa salvage title was issued and the salvage vehicle was rebuilt in Iowa prior to July 1, 1992; and
- The vehicle was more than five model years old; or
- The vehicle passed a component part review.
The salvage motor vehicle must be repaired before the examination except for minor body parts such as trim, body marking and paint.
- The motor vehicle;
- An Iowa salvage title in your name or properly assigned within 30 days of sale;
- An affidavit of salvage vehicle repairs;
- Bills of sale for all component parts replaced; and
- A $30 check or money order made payable to the department conducting the examination.
Office of Vehicle Services
P.O. Box 9278
Des Moines, Iowa 50306-9278