1. Understand what salvage means.
A salvage title indicates that the car associated with the title has experienced damage. The amount of damage, however, can vary. Typically, insurance companies write off a car as “totaled” if the cost of the repair is higher than the value of the car or it may be because that particular state is litigious and the risk of fixing it outweighs the pay out to the customer.
Salvage title cars may have damage from flood or fire, or they may have light body damage from hail or collision that would be costly to fix. The salvaged title car with the light body damage, however, could easily still have lots of life. Remember a salvage title may mean repairs have or have not been done. Each state recognizes branded titles differently. In most states to legally register a vehicle requires a rebuilt title.
2. Find a dealer you can trust.
Salvage title cars can be bought by someone who claims to have repaired the car in their backyard, but they will typically not be able to offer you a warranty on their work. If you are serious about finding the right salvage title car for your situation, it’s in your best interest to first shop around for a dealer. A dealer can take that salvage car and repair it so that it passes inspection.
Finding one of these dealers who specializes in quality rebuilt title cars and has a strong reputation for doing quality work will get you a step ahead on your search. You can always take a look at the reviews left by past customers.
3. Learn the exact damage.
Once you have chosen a dealer and started perusing their inventory, you may find a rebuilt title car that piques your interest. Take a moment to look deeper! Find out the extent of the damage the car experienced. Ask for pictures of the car before the repairs so you can see for yourself where the damage occurred, and you can know where to focus on ensuring the repairs are satisfactory.
Additionally, running the vehicle identification number (VIN) through a car history report service (such as CarFax) can help you get a broader understanding of the history of the vehicle. If a car has experienced flooding or fire damage, the risks are typically higher than the potential savings. As you search through cars, keep in mind that these salvaged title vehicles are more difficult to repair properly.
4. Inspect the car with two sets of eyes.
Unless you are a certified mechanic, in addition to your own approval, you will want to enlist the help of someone very familiar with cars to look over the vehicle to ensure it is safe and repaired properly. You should be able to find a skilled mechanic who can perform a pre-purchase inspection on a vehicle for a reasonable fee.
Remember that even if a vehicle passes a state inspection, that does not guarantee that the car is in the best condition and should be considered for purchase. There are things the state inspections don’t catch that a trained mechanic could.
If you are skilled with cars, a salvage title car is an option to put some sweat equity into and turn a profit. If you can find a damaged vehicle that you have the means to repair, you can sell a rebuilt car for more than you bought it for.
5. Make sure you can purchase the car.
The actual purchase of a salvage title car is a little trickier than a purchase of a regular clean title car. Here are a few things to consider before you start signing paperwork.
● Financing. Some banks do not finance salvage or rebuilt title vehicles. Many credit unions will finance a rebuilt title. Find out if your dealership will accept financing for the vehicle you are checking out.
● Insurance. Some insurance companies will not insure salvage title cars. Other companies will insure salvage title cars but at a higher price. Talk with your insurance provider to find out if a salvage title vehicle is an option to be added to your plan.
● Warranty. Discuss warranty policies with the dealership. Keep in mind that some dealers only offer minimal warranties on salvage/rebuilt title cars.
Bonus Tip: Consider the resale value.
If you are hoping to sell a salvage title vehicle in the future, remember that once a car has a salvage/rebuilt title, it will always have a salvage/rebuilt title. If you repair it completely to full working order, the title will still be marked as salvage/rebuilt forever.
If you’d like the savings of buying a salvage/rebuilt title car but don’t know where to start, take a look at our inventory. Our meticulously rebuilt title cars are available at our auto dealership in Salt Lake City. We also ship our cars to buyers across the country. Our cars are backed by a one-of-a-kind, “peace of mind” warranty, and our used cars over 60,000 undergo a rigorous 150-point inspection before we even consider selling them to you.
When checking the market for a car, many are tempted to go for salvage or rebuilt car title. It is understandable, given the price tag that new vehicles come with. However, there are some vital considerations to remember in choosing a salvage car title that can save you money and ensure you don’t end up with a dud unit. Read on to learn the following steps.