Branded title cars can be anything from returned lemons to salvages and can make for some great deals. Car gurus agree, though, there are some important things to check first before buying.
What are your tips for customers who are shopping for branded title cars?

Mark Beneke

Mark Beneke is the owner of Westland Auto Sales in Fresno, CA.

Tips for Busying a Branded Title Car

There can be plenty of great deals you can find when purchasing salvage title vehicles but it’s all a matter of going about it correctly.

You can’t always get all of the details behind a salvaged vehicle but you should never go into anything blind. Running a history report on any vehicle you are considering is a must. This will allow you to get a good idea of the type of damage the vehicle endured in order for the insurance companies to brand it as salvaged.

Following the report, an inspection before you purchase is also necessary. Have a trusted mechanic take a look at the vehicle for you and inform you of its overall condition. This can give you either the grounds to negotiate (if you can work on the vehicle yourself or are willing to put in extra money) or the information necessary to walk away.

Unless you know how to work on the vehicle or have a mechanic that can do it for cheap, you should get a salvaged vehicle already repaired. The great deal you can get can easily be eaten up once you start paying a mechanic to repair everything at retail.

A great option for many people looking for salvage titles is theft recoveries. When vehicles are unable to be recovered after a certain time period, insurance companies will pay them out and once they are found will be branded as salvage. Some of these cars come back fairly clean with only minor damage. These tend to be the only type of salvage vehicles we consider purchasing at auction, as they can be great deals.

Lastly, understand that financing options may be limited. If you’re not purchasing cash, take the time to find the right lender, and don’t just go with the first one. It is a very niche market and since there is a limited number of lenders, some are known to gauge the customer, even with great credit. We’ve had great experiences with local credit unions.

Hire a Mechanic to Inspect the Car

There are some advantages to buying a branded vehicle. For one, you have the opportunity to score a sweet deal. With the current state of the used car market, you may be considering buying branded instead of paying thousands of dollars more for a car that isn’t branded. That said, it’s typically riskier to shop for branded cars because they run a higher risk of experiencing problems in the future due to damage they’ve sustained.

If you’re seriously considering buying a branded title car, it’s important that you hire a mechanic to inspect the car. You should also consider getting a vehicle history report to find out why it is branded. Finally, you need to find out whether you’d be able to get insurance coverage for it. It is often harder to ensure branded vehicles since they are seen as risky.

What are your tips for customers who are shopping for branded title cars?

Daivat Dholakia

Daivat Dholakia, Director of Operations, Force by Mojio.
What are your tips for customers who are shopping for branded title cars?

Riley Beam

Riley Beam, Managing Attorney at Douglas R. Beam, P.A. He is a Personal injury and criminal defense attorney whose work is focused on motor vehicle collisions, civil rights, and more.

Check, Check, and Re-Check

1. Check for all safety features
Restoring safety systems is an expense that not all sellers are willing to make and so, it’s the first thing you need to keep an eye out for.

Create a comprehensive safety checklist that includes everything from airbag deployment, anti-lock braking systems, and all other security features that the vehicle originally came with.

2. Get it checked by a mechanic
Dealers will do everything they can to ensure that the title car appears in its finest condition. Only a professional will really be able to tell you what’s wrong, and what still needs to be fixed. Make sure that you get a trusted mechanic to thoroughly inspect every aspect, especially any damage to the car frame.

Some Things to Consider

Get in touch with a reliable, honest dealer
This one can be tricky because salvage cars are usually sold by small-time dealers, many of which can be shady. Based on the transactions alone, you’ll be able to tell whether or not you’re dealing with an honest dealer. Don’t hesitate to ask questions and do the necessary prodding. An honest dealer is easy to spot, and if you don’t feel right about it, speak up.

Have the car go through a basic examination
The car isn’t the best shape, and that’s a given. But you’ll want to make sure that you’re not putting yourself in a running death trap. Having it through a basic examination. Are the brakes working fine? Is there a problem with the steering? Are there any leaks from underneath? A good mechanic should help you through this process.

Get a background and history check
Go all out on this one. Find out the full history of the vehicle and how exactly it was damaged. If you can, get the full record of all the work done on it. With this, you essentially uncover every bit of information about the vehicle’s history and you know exactly what you’re dealing with.

What are your tips for customers who are shopping for branded title cars?

Jack Miller

Jack Miller is the founder of How I Get Rid Of.

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