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Your car’s title is the most important document associated with your car. It says that you own your ride, but more than that, it also documents whether your car is pristine and undamaged or heavily damaged. This is the difference between a clean title and a salvage title.

Though that definition is apt, there’s more to understand and learn about clean and salvage titles. To aid you in that quest, Car Bibles’ bookish editors have broken down the differences between the two and more! Ready to earn your education?

Getting the car's key after signing the new title.
Getting the car’s key after signing the new title.

What Is a Car Title?

A car title is a legally binding document that denotes who owns the car in question. For example, if you buy a new or used car, you own the car, and your name will appear on the title. That is unless you financed your car with your bank, at which point the bank is the legal owner of the car and will hold the title until you pay off the loan.

What Is a Clean Title?

A clean title is a title that declares that the vehicle in question has not been involved in an accident. There have been no major repairs, nor incidents that would necessitate denoting it on its title. Simply put, a clean title is a title to a car in good and safe working order.

What Is a Salvage Title?

A salvage title is a type of car title meant to tell a potential buyer that the car has been in a serious accident, saw significant weather-related damage, or has been stolen before. This usually occurs after the car’s value craters due to your insurance claiming it a total loss.

Signing the car's title.
Signing the car’s title.

What’s the Difference Between Clean Title and Clear Title?

A clean title is a title to a car that hasn’t undergone any extensive repairs or seen massive damage. A clear title is another type of title that denotes the car has been repaired to return to good working order.

What’s the Difference Between a Salvage Title and a Branded Title?

A salvage title is a type of branded title, which details part of the history of a car. In this case, a branded title is meant to inform the potential buyer of past damage. You can learn more about Salvage Titles by heading over to our article about them.

Car Bible’s Car Title Glossary

Welcome to Bible School!

  • Branded Title

A branded title is a designation convention that states whether or not a car has been seriously damaged or endangered by any number of instances, including water damage, hail damage, theft, Lemon law issues, modified odometers, or vehicle rebuilds.

  • Rebuilt Title

A rebuilt title is a type of title that is for a vehicle that’s been seriously damaged but repaired by either the owner or a mechanic to the point that it becomes road-worthy once again.

  • Clean Title

As stated, a clean vehicle title is a title for a vehicle that’s not been in an accident and is dubbed “clean.”

Handing over a car's title.
Handing over a car’s title.

Your Questions, Our Answers on Clean Title

Car Bibles answers your burning questions!

Q: Is It Bad to Buy a Car With a Salvage Title?

A: Not really, no. A salvage title is meant to help you understand your purchase. If you’re confident you can repair the car, or that it’s been repaired properly, a salvage title isn’t something you need to necessarily fear. Some, however, have a personal preference to eliminate any risk by avoiding them completely.

Q: How Do I Know if I Have a Clean Title?

A: When a car is in an accident, your insurance company will issue a new title if it warrants a salvage designation. If not, the title will be clean.

Q: How Do You Turn a Salvage Title into a Clean Title?

A: You’ll have to repair the car to a point where it’s both safe for the operator and those on the road. In other words, it must be returned to good working condition.

Clean Title Video

Car Bibles’ editors understand that not everyone is a text-based learner. For those kinesthetic people out there, we have your back with a video showing you exactly how clean titles work. We pulled it from one of our most trusted sources and it’s a great additional resource.

Car Bible’s Favored Clean Title Related Products

You can buy tools to fix your clean titled car at almost every auto parts and home improvement store. As well as online stores like Amazon. You have a sea of options to select from. Car Bibles’ editors put together a list of things that’ll help you repair your clean titled car, such as Rust Removers, Dent Repairers, and Glass Repair kits.

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