Mexico: Importing Vehicles with Salvage Titles

Occasionally, I receive an email from a reader asking if vehicles with salvage titles can be permanently imported into Mexico. I actually had one this week, so I decided to do a quick post on the subject.

Generally speaking, the answer to this question is no — however, there are some exceptions to the rule.

Prohibited From Importation

There is a long list of reasons why a vehicle may have a salvage title. If the salvage title indicates any of the following, then it cannot be imported into Mexico*:

  • DLR SALVAGE
  • SALVAGE-PARTS ONLY
  • LEMON SALVAGE
  • SALVAGE LETTER-PARTS ONLY
  • FLOOD SALVAGE
  • SALVAGE CERT-LEMON LAW BUYBACK
  • SALVAGE CERTIFICATE-NO VIN
  • SALVAGE TITLE W/ NO PUBLIC VIN
  • DLR/SALVAGE TITLE REBUILDABLE
  • SALVAGE THEFT
  • SALVAGE TITLE-MANUFACTURE
  • BUYBACK
  • COURT ORDER SALVAGE BOS
  • SALVAGE / FIRE DAMAGE
  • SALVAGE WITH REPLACEMENT VIN
  • BONDED SALVAGE
  • WATERCRAFT SALVAGE
  • SALVAGE KATRINA
  • SALVAGE TITLE WITH ALTERED VIN
  • SALVAGE WITH REASSIGNMENT
  • SALVAGE NON REMOVABLE

* Diario Oficial de la Federación ANEXO 1 de las Reglas Generales de Comercio Exterior para 2018, publicado el 18 de diciembre de 2017.

Exceptions

According to the Diario Official de La Federacion, if the salvage title indicates a reason other than the ones specifically prohibited (shown above) or has additional wording that says clean, rebuilt or corrected, then it can be imported, provided that it meets all of the other requirements.

Let’s Wrap This Up

This post only addresses salvage titles, there are also restrictions on titles that indicate any of the following: junk, crushed, parts only, seizure/forfeiture and not eligible for road use.

If you have any specific questions about whether a specific vehicle would be eligible to be permanently imported into Mexico, you should direct them to a licensed custom’s agent (agente aduanal).

I know this post was a little dry, but hey — they can’t all be fun posts about how we spend our days drinking Margaritas on a Mexican beach.

Speaking of that, I’m going to stop here because my Margarita’s almost gone and it’s time to reapply sunscreen.¬†Hasta luego.

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About the Author

Q-Roo Paul
Paul Kurtzweil (Q-Roo Paul) was a deputy sheriff in Florida for 25 years before retiring at the rank of lieutenant in 2015. He and his wife moved to Mexico looking to maximize their retirement income. They later started a blog called Two Expats Mexico (qroo.us) to share their experiences, as well as information about the logistical and legal aspects of retiring south of the border.

7 Comments on "Mexico: Importing Vehicles with Salvage Titles"

  1. I don’t know how you manage the stress, Paul. Sunscreen or Margaritas first?!

    With all the hassle and expense of importing and nationalizing a vehicle, it’s astounding that people want to do all that work for a car with a salvage title.

  2. So I have two vehicles, one the title is from California and one is from South Dakota. Both of them say Salvage on the title (both newer, nice looking cars) on both of the forms there is no “additional wording” nor is there a space for it. Have you actually seen that “additional wording” on a title yourself? So what do you think would happen with ours if you had to guess? And secondly, do you have to show the original document, just curious? Thanks for your time Paul.

    • Yes, I’ve seen the additional wording on car titles before.

      Every state has their own style of car titles and the “additional wording” is commonly called branding. It may be words or just a code somewhere on the title that you have to look up. It helps to check with the DMV of each state to see how they handle salvage titles.

      Here’s the Salvage Title Guide from Nevada. It explains branding on page 21:

      http://www.dmvnv.com/pdfforms/salvageguide.pdf

  3. Wait!!! I’m sorry I just sent you a message. I was talking about getting a TIP, I think its called (LOL, sorry) coming from Baja Calif. to the mainland. Can I get a TIP with a salvage title?

  4. Dave Fredericksen | December 8, 2018 at 8:25 pm | Reply

    Thanks Paul, that was something I had wondered about.

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