I’m sure a lot of you guys went through this: your efforts finally paid off – you found the most amazing car online! Great price, solid mileage, and it looks amazing too. But then there’s this thing – it’s being sold with a salvage title. And you ask yourself: Should I Buy A Car With A Salvage Title? Believe it or not, I’ve been there too, maybe like 10-15 years ago. The Internet wasn’t that big back in the day, and we just had to make do with ads in newspapers (yep, good old newspapers with that unmistakable smell of fresh coffee in the morning).
The Four Titles
So, basically, a vehicle’s title is a label describing the exact condition of the vehicle and whether something serious (like an accident) had happened to it or not. These labels are generally attached to a vehicle after an insurance claim or an accident, as I just mentioned.
There are 4 type of labels (titles, rather): Irreparable, which means the car is a piece of junk, and it will never make its way back on the road – it’s only as good as its parts are.
Next, we’ve got Salvage – that means the vehicle has been through a terrible accident/crash, and is a total loss unless it passes the inspection, in which case it could get back on the road.
If it does successfully pass the inspection, it earns the Rebuilt title.
And finally, there’s the No Title label, which means the vehicle is in a solid shape and is ready to serve on the road. A vehicle can get the Salvage title if it’s been in an accident or a collision and the cost of a complete repair in this case would actually be higher than the value of the car.
To Buy Or Not To Buy
Vehicles like these are written off and doomed to the scrap yard. The scrap yard, in turn, has a decision to make: take the poor fella apart and try to sell the parts, or, instead, sell it in one piece to someone who’s willing to repair it (to re-sell it for a higher price, that is). So, now that you know how the process works, what do you think – should you buy a Salvage labeled car or not? Well, it’s only worth considering purchasing if the price is substantially low, if you conduct a very thorough inspection and find no serious problems, and if you plan on driving the car for a really long time. That’s what the experts in the field think. I’m guessing we should listen to them, ’cause they make a very good point.
Stay Away From Re-Builders
Note: if you’re about to purchase a vehicle that has already been rebuilt, be careful and don’t rush it, because cars like this are not always fully inspected and certified. So, generally, if you don’t think it’s the perfect one for you, just stay away from rebuilt vehicles – the world of re-builders is full of crooks, and you don’t want your first experience with buying a salvage car to go bad. So, if you’re asking yourself “Whether should I buy a Car with a salvage title or not”, then the answer should be a definite “No” for a rebuilt car.
You remember Frankenstein, right? Well, most re-built cars are pretty much like him – cobbled together from two separate vehicles.
Me personally, I’ve never seen a decent rebuilt car, and plus, sellers usually like to downplay the horrible shape the vehicles were in before the rebuild. True, there are some good folks out there, making an honest living selling cars like this, but they definitely are a rare breed.
I’ve been at a couple of pre-buy inspections of rebuild vehicles, with the seller, the potential buyer and the inspector present. I, by the way, was the buyer. Once the inspector – a very good friend of mine – showed me the really bad repairs that I would’ve missed on my own and thus saved me from a bad purchase.
The State Of Affairs
Despite the fact that a rebuilt car can sometimes be a very good deal for potential buyers, the sellers are having trouble with selling rebuilt or salvage titled cars. Basically, that’s because they are dark horses, and you never know what could be go wrong. And there are not a lot of people who are ready to pay for something they’re not sure about.
Reselling a Salvage or Rebuilt titled car is maybe even more difficult, as folks will start asking you all kinds of questions and wondering why you’re selling your car – maybe there’s something wrong with it and you just want to get rid of it? So, from this point of view, should I buy a car with a Salvage title? Absolutely not. Unless…
When Should I Buy A Car With A Salvage Title?
Despite all that stuff I said about salvage titled cars, there are still some situations when a vehicle like this might come in handy. If what you need is just car parts, then that salvage title is not a problem for ya. Cars with Salvage and Irreparable titles are a great way to score some solid parts for a reduced price. So, that said, Salvage titled vehicles are a good investment for your money if your goal is to revive or to extend the lifeline of your favorite car with the better parts.
In addition, you would almost certainly have some problems with insuring a vehicle with a Salvage or Rebuilt label on it. The majority of insurance companies will most likely refuse to provide comprehensive coverage on a piece of junk like that, and that means any repairs your vehicle might need in the future will have to be covered by you solely. On the other hand, some vehicles get written off if they get stolen (sometimes even if some things have been stolen from them). Vehicles like these – they call them the theft recoveries – are like a goldmine, a huge stroke of luck, because the vehicle is probably in a great shape and never been in an accident.
Don’t Get Too Excited
However, don’t get too excited, because if you rush and buy a car like that and don’t even check it, you might be really frustrated later when you find the car has indeed some problems. Basically, if you ever decide to by a car with a Salvage title, you better be 100% sure about it. And while Salvage titled cars do sometimes look great and catch your eye with a low price, they might cause you a lot of trouble and you might end up spending more bucks on them then they’re actually worth.
So, once again, if you’re asking yourself – Should I buy a car with a Salvage title – you must be absolutely sure to say yes. Otherwise, stay as far from Salvage titled cars as possible. You’ll save yourself a lot of frustration that way. Trust me – been there, done that.
And, as always, make sure to leave a comment below and tell us about your personal experience with a Salvage titled car.
Watch this video “Should You Buy Salvaged Title Cars When Flipping Cars for Profit”?