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Old 02-18-2016, 05:47 PM   #1
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Nate's Guide to Registering a Salvage Certificate Motorcycle

So today marks my success of getting my first salvage bike registered. I began the process on 2/4 so that means I got it all done in 14 days. Here's a little summary of what I learned along the way that might help anyone in the future who comes searching for help.

I'm just going to list the steps on what will need to be done and add my notes. The process typically involves 3 trips to the DMV, which is ludicrous, but there is a way to save a trip by doing the brake and lamp inspection and CHP inspection on the same day.

1) Determine if your bike has a "Salvage Certificate" or a "Salvage Title." These are two different things. If you have a regular vehicle title that just lists "Salvaged" in the history, then you don't need to read any further. You can just fill it out and go to the DMV and register it (unless it's out of state and it will need a VIN check most likely. This can be confusing as the title that came with my bike was from out of state and said "Certificate of Title: ***Salvage Title***." I found out, in fact that this was a Salvage Certificate as it also stated on it "This vehicle has been declared salvaged and may not be registered." This is usually the state the vehicle will been in if it has just been bought back and resold by an insurance company. This also means the bike may not have been repaired yet (though mine was and came with receipts for the repair which you should keep for the CHP inspection). Also make sure that you have a Bill of Sale (this can be a simple receipt) from whoever you buy the bike from, as both the DMV and CHP will want to see this as proof you bought it.

2) Repair your bike and make sure everything works and the VIN/Engine number are both visible and legible. You must make sure that all lights on that bike that came equipped from the factory work and function correctly (no fast blinking turn signals etc.).

3) Go to the DMV with your Salvage Certificate, Appication for Title (Reg 343) (it doesn't have to be complete, just fill out what you can), Bill of Sale, and a fat wallet and prepared to get reamed with fees and use tax (in my case, it cost over $1000, so take your heart medicine if you need to before going). You MUST do this step before proceeding to the inspections. The DMV will then tell you that you need to get a brake and lamp inspection and then come back to get a temporary registration so that you can then go get a CHP inspection. They won't (at least they didn't for me) give you the referral form for the CHP yet, but it's not actually needed to get the inspection. CHP inspection will be required for a salvaged motorcycle, so you can't do it at one of those independent VIN verifier places or at the DMV. What they will give you is a one day temporary Vehicle Moving Permit with a blank date for you to fill in so you can take it for the Brake and Lamp inspection. They will also give you an itemized receipt that should have a listing on there that says "REV JNK/SALV $50." This is important because the CHP will need to see that when you get your inspection as proof that you paid for it.

4) Here's the trick to save a trip to the DMV (yay!). First, you need to fax...yes, fax the CHP a piece of paper with the following information:
1 - Your full name, address and phone number
2 - vehicle year, make and model
3 - VIN number and engine number
Fax this to them at 510-622-4637 and they will call you. You can try calling them at 510-622-4611 between 9am-12pm and 1pm-3pm, but good luck on them picking up. In my case, they called me back within a couple hours of me sending the fax and scheduled me for the following Monday (3 days away). Click here for more info on the CHP inspection. Schedule your CHP inspection later in the day as you will need to get your B&L inspection earlier on the same day. Next, find a brake and lamp inspection place (I used Google for this) and schedule a brake and lamp inspection for the same day as your CHP appointment (I recommend scheduling this BEFORE the CHP appointment, as they may ask to see the B&L certificates - which you will get two of: one for brakes and one for lamps).

5) Inspection day! Good thing you have that one day vehicle moving permit! Fill out the movement date on the permit and sign and you have permission to ride to both your inspections (and believe me, the CHP WILL care about this. On that note, make sure your DL is not suspended and has a M endorsement as they may check). Get your brake and lamp inspection, then on to the CHP. In my case, the CHP inspection took all of 5 minutes. He checked the paperwork (Bring it all, including repair receipts and especially the itemized DMV receipt), then the VIN and then the engine number. BEFORE YOU LEAVE, DOUBLE CHECK EVERYTHING ON THE CHP97C CERTIFICATE. I yell this because I didn't, and when I got to the DMV and had the plate in my hand, I double checked the engine number and realized the officer had got it wrong on the certificate (which led to an extra trip back to the CHP and DMV to get it corrected).

6) Go home, have a drink and ponder the meaning of life.

7) Time to go back to the DMV! At this point you should have the following: DMV temporary registration card (given to you on the first trip), DMV itemized receipt, your Salvage Certificate, Bill of Sale, Brake and Lamp certificates, and a shiny new CHP97C form along with your original Reg 343 Application. At this point, they will go through everything and put it into the computer and hand you a new valid registration card, plate and stickers and you are good to go!

Hope this helps anyone else going through the process. My one disclaimer is I did not actually do the B&L and CHP inspections on the same day so I can't confirm absolutely it will work, however at no point would there have been a problem with doing this had I known about it in advance.

One last thing...make sure to add the bike to your insurance right away. They should only need the VIN to do this.

Last edited by danate; 02-18-2016 at 05:50 PM..
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Old 02-18-2016, 06:19 PM   #2
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good post.

I have gone to CHP for vin verification for engine swaps a couple time. The local office picked up the call luckily and connected me to the officer doing the inspections and he gave me an appt. I took my bike in the truck and the officer was cool enough to climb on the bed and told me not to unload the bike.
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Old 02-18-2016, 07:25 PM   #3
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Great post on how to get it done. I did a salvage Blazer years ago, was not a problem at all. One thing I want to reinforce:

2) Repair your bike and make sure everything works and the VIN/Engine number are both visible and legible.

Good friend bought an out of state K1300GT. The engine number required a mirror to see, and you had to move a cable to see one half at a time. He took a thick old blanket so the CHP could see the number without getting on the ground. The officer said why don't you just read it to me. Life is good.
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Old 02-18-2016, 07:31 PM   #4
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Cool! Thanks for the info. I will bookmark this.
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Old 02-19-2016, 06:55 AM   #5
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This thread should be in your signature line Nate.
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Originally Posted by atoyf View Post
DMV test is not there to teach or prove you can ride the bike, it is there to prove that you can control the bike.
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Old 02-19-2016, 07:13 AM   #6
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Good work, did you leave the code lights on
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Old 02-19-2016, 09:09 AM   #7
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Posts like this are why I wade through the white noise on BARF. Genuinely helpful and informative.

Thank you, Nate.
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Old 02-19-2016, 12:43 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by ThumperX View Post

This thread should be in your signature line Nate.
Good idea!

Originally Posted by Tharkūn View Post
Good work, did you leave the code lights on
I did. There was no easy way to remove them and turns out it was completely unnecessary. All CHP is concerned with is the VIN and engine number and the paperwork. The brake and lamp inspection is basically outsourced to a private shop. Now I gotta see if I can find some amber LEDs to replace the blue and reds....
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Old 01-16-2018, 06:27 AM   #9
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Thanks Nate. I’m just working on this for a bike I bought at a Copart auction for fun and this post is gold. The repeat trips to DMV are gonna slow me down a bit (I do have a job after all).
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Old 01-16-2018, 06:26 PM   #10
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Thanks for sharing your write up!
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Old 01-18-2018, 08:59 AM   #11
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Salvage Thread - Kudos!

Originally Posted by ThumperX View Post

This thread should be in your signature line Nate.
Good idea to post in your sig, +1!

This is extremely generous of you, Nate! Thanks for posting!
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Old 01-19-2018, 11:09 PM   #12
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Glad to see my post has been useful to y'all. Hopefully everything still works the same way! I've done it twice myself now.
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