Rebuilt title cars are great ways to score a deal on a vehicle, but it doesn’t come without risks. Asking a car dealer the right questions about the rebuilt car you are interested in can help you determine whether or not it is a good investment. What questions should you ask? We reached out to some car aficionados to see what they recommend asking a dealer. Keep reading to see what they suggest.

What questions should a customer ask about a car with a rebuilt title before purchasing it?

Robert Walden

Robert Walden, Editor-in-Chief and Founder of

Gather Information About the Accident

A rebuilt title (or a “salvage title” if the vehicle has not been repaired) indicates that a car has been declared a total loss by an insurance company, but has been repaired for resale. It may sound like a risky bet, but there are pros and cons to buying a car with a rebuilt or salvage title.

There are several questions a customer should ask when buying a car with a rebuilt title from a dealer to determine whether it’s worth purchasing.

  • What are the specifics of the accident that resulted in the total loss of this vehicle? Front-end and flood damage can cause the most problematic issues with a rebuilt title car. Make sure you get an extensive vehicle history that includes the vehicle’s accident history. If the damage (especially flood damage) is too risky, then it is likely not a good idea to purchase the car.
  • How much further repair will this vehicle need? If you have mechanical aptitude with cars, a garage, and equipment of your own to make extensive repairs, this might make a rebuilt title vehicle easier to own and more valuable to you as a daily driver. However, if the damage is too extensive for you to repair on your own, it may not be a good idea to purchase the vehicle. Either talk with an independent mechanic or inspect the car yourself to determine future repair needs.
  • Is this vehicle insurable? All rebuilt title vehicles are subject to insurance limitations, including, but not limited to, higher premiums and restrictions for certain types of coverage. Check with your insurance agent and review relevant laws in your state regarding used cars and salvage/rebuilt titles. If you are unable to insure the vehicle, then you may want to think twice about a rebuilt title vehicle.

These Questions Provide Peace of Mind

1. Ask the dealer what kind of accident that vehicle was involved in and what damage was done. If the dealer tries to hide the vehicle’s history, there’s probably a reason, and it’s likely not a good one. Find out if the airbags deployed. Crashes significant enough to deploy airbags may do more damage than can be adequately repaired.

2. Ask if they offer financing. Sometimes, lenders refuse to insure rebuilt vehicles. If the dealer offers to finance, and their interest rate isn’t drastically higher than typical used vehicle loan interest rates, you will have the peace of mind that if other lenders can’t give you a loan, you have a backup plan.

3. Inquire about what kind of repairs were made and who made them. You should look for repairs done by a trusted repair shop with receipts for quality parts and repairs.

4. Ask if the dealer offers any kind of warranty. Not many dealers will offer much of a warranty on a used car because it’s a considerable risk, but if your dealer has even a small warranty, that can help reassure you that they trust their repairs.

What questions should a customer ask about a car with a rebuilt title before purchasing it?

Melanie Musson

Melanie Musson is a used vehicle expert with
What questions should a customer ask about a car with a rebuilt title before purchasing it?

Cody Crawford

Cody Crawford, Co-Founder of Low Offset.

Ask About the Rebuild Cost

This is probably the most important question to ask when considering purchasing a rebuilt title car. It will give you an idea of how much money has gone into repairing the vehicle and, as a result, how reliable it is likely to be. A low repair cost means the car may not have been rebuilt to standard. A high repair cost may suggest that the car has been properly fixed. The cost of the rebuild also helps you determine the price of the car. While cost is a good indicator of the rebuild’s quality, you should always consult an expert before making a purchase.

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