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used ta could
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As some of you know I had a mishap on my XR a while back. Enough of a mishap to make the insurance company consider my bike a total loss. It doesn’t take much damage for that to happen ,considering labor costs, to get to blue book. In my case the insurance company figures blue book value +$3000 max for aftermarket parts+$600 for a new helmet. Then they knock a little bit off if you want to keep the bike so you have enough to fix it back up.
——Once the insurance company declares the bike a total loss you have 10 days to get to the DMV and get a Salvage Title and surrender the license plate. Then if you want to reregister the bike you have to get a “Brake and Light” inspection from a licensed shop, fill out the “Salvage Retention“ forms, and take the form and inspection certificate along with the motorcycle back to the DMV so they can cross check the VIN # and engine # to the inspection certificate ( to make sure you’re not trying to pull a fast one). After all that you get a new license plate and a new registration in your hand and a new title ,in the mail, that says “Salvage” on it somewhere.
——I don’t know if it’s the same in all the U.S. but I know there is some new Cali owners on here that this may help. I’m sharing so folks don’t make the same mistakes I made or could have made if I didn’t know nuthin’.
——First I didnt pay attention to the 10 day part and waited almost a year. In that time the registration expired and I had to pay $198 for that. The “Retention Fee” was another $90.
——Second, and the main reason I wanted to share, is the Brake and Light inspection($125). The guy has a headlight calibration machine that he points at the light with the rider sitting on the bike to make sure it’s adjusted properly and didn’t get knocked out of whack. He checked the tail light, blinkers, and brake light to see that they work properly and have no cracks and are activated by both the lever and foot pedal(brake). He looked to see that there is sufficient brake pad left everywhere and, here’s an important tip, that you have REFLECTORS in place. A yellow reflector on both sides of the fork. A red reflector on both sides at the rear AND a red reflector in back.
——It took quite a few phone calls to find a place that does the inspection on motorcycles. This place happened to be next door to one of the places I physically stopped into. No advertising or anything. I’m glad I called ahead because he told me about reflectors and cracks in the lights. Both of which would have had me doing a rounder. That and the horn. I was using the horn button as a blinker.
——Lastly, don’t forget to bring the motorcycle to the DMV. Even though this guy had to take classes and pay for a special license to be able to certify that your machine is safe and is the machine that the title says it is, They still want to inspect it for themselves. Not all the lights and stuff, just the #s.(this cost me an extra trip)
——I know…..long read. Maybe someone will be helped by this. Save all the stuff you take off. You may have to put it back on someday.
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Premium Member
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1,345 Posts
Excellent write-up Dwight thank you for sharing.

A little over 10 years ago I took a motorcycle I was putting back together to the DMV to do the brake and light inspection I don’t know if they do that or not or do they have you going to someplace else? I don’t remember them checking for reflectors but this was on a 1985 GPz550 back in 2012. I guess times have changed. The more I think about this it wasn’t a Salvaged crashed bike it was just a very old and outdated registration so that’s probably why the DMV was able to inspect the operation of the lights.
 

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used ta could
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2,280 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The DMV does not do the brake and light inspections themselves anymore. Neither does the Highway Patrol. The DMV suggested the HD dealer but they don’t do them. At least not my dealer. Not a lot of info online either. I had to pound the pavement
 

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Sonya's a pretty kitty!
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3,439 Posts
Wow. And I thought Roadworthy Inspections in Victoria (which can sometimes involve getting and Engineers report for more involved mods) was arduous. Looks like the state of California take it to a whole different level. I've always kept my take off stock parts so the next owner can put on whatever's necessary to get his own Roadworthy, got a 50L plastic tub full of them under the house (not to mention the old 18" stock front wheel...) Yep, good writeup yt.
 

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As an ex motorcycle insurance adjuster and specialist I would post an easier way around the salvage title post. Most ot the time it is the shop that totals the motorcycle by not listing repair of minor damages and instead lists new parts only. Especially Harley shops! So many claims where the engine guard mount on frame got twisted and the shop would state it was a liability issue and request new frame. I could take a mallet and two by four and straighten that out. So if you want to keep the motorcycle without getting a salvage title just take it to independent shop that would list repair or cosmetic damage credit that would keep estimate to about 70% of actual cash value. Have the check for repairs made out to you and then repair as you need. It always bugged me that the shops and customers would always blame the insurance companies for totaling a motorcycle out. If the motorcycle was repaired the company would likely keep the customer as a client, but if they totaled it the customer might not get another bike or use another company.
 

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used ta could
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2,280 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
My situation was slightly different. The bike was still on a trailer at my house. The insurance company sent someone to take pictures. No shop or skullduggery involved.
 
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