Saving the Big Bucks or Buying a Problem?
What is a Salvage Title
A salvaged title car runs usually for sixty to seventy percent less than the car´s real market value. This makes them irresistible to most buyers. Is it as easy as it sounds? There are some things you have to know before embarking in such and adventure. Read on as I reveal all the secrets of buying salvage titles.
What is a Salvage Title?
Cars that have been exposed to:
- Flood damage.
- Fire damage.
- Severe damage from an accident (totaled cars).
- Featured excessive use (former police cars and heavily-used taxis).
- Was returned under manufacturer´s CarWarranty.
- Was remanufactured or refurbished for resale purposes (rebuilt title).
- Was reported as a stolen unit and it has missing parts.
In these cases, the cars are deemed a total loss mostly by car insurance companies. Whenever that happens, the insurance company declares a total loss on the vehicle and takes repossession of it. Most of these scenarios mean that the cost of repairing the unit is higher than the cost of the car itself.
In an attempt to recover some of the money that they had to pay for declaring the total loss, insurance companies often sell the car. It might get remanufactured or used by parts (depending on the damage). Once the car is sold as a salvage car, it is given a salvage title. It depends on the laws of each State, but it is mostly given a salvage title to inform future owners of its past.
Vehicle History Report
As with everything, once the rule is created, the way around it is created too. There is a practice known as title washing that is used to cover the car´s origins. One of the ways of doing this is to steer the unit to a State that has softer regulations for salvage car titles. To avoid this kind of practice, it is useful to run a vehicle history report. It is a relatively cheap practice by Auto Check and can be done immediately online.
Your Friend, The Mechanic
Never go about buying a salvaged title car without a look by a trusted mechanic. In fact, it is a piece of advice I like extending to all used cars. I never go buying a used car without a fellow mechanic. It often costs me a cold beer and a cool chat; other times a hot coffee and a hug. Having a mechanic friend is always a great idea. Especially my friend Tony, who is a great mechanic, and an expert in knowing past repairs through EngineType music. He just asks me to start the car and listens to it. Sometimes he doesn´t even need to open the hood.
There are salvaged titles that have received damage in the inside of the EngineType. Those are cars you should definitely walk away from. The irreparable factor is the one to avoid because you might end up buying trouble instead of a bargain. The most likely place to find this kind of issue is especially cars exposed to flood damage. Your mechanic will tell you about it, always, always trust your mechanic.
Buying a Car with a Salvage Title
If you find the ideal ride and your mechanic gives you the green light, there are still some key indicators to look at:
- The Title of the Car – The information about the car´s past is reflected in the salvage title vehicle. Most States require that information to be added to the car title for future buyers. Ask for it before anything else. Also, you will be safe from other stuff like stolen cars.
- Look for the CAPA Sticker – The Certified Automotive Parts Association posted on the car could mean that the car was in a collision and repaired. Look for the sticker on car parts or car glasses.
- Misalignment of the Wheels – Most cars that underwent a heavy collision will have a sign of a touched chassis. If the car has a twisted frame, it is close to being irreparable and hence, you should walk away from it.
- The Hood – Another misaligned sign that could mean that the car went through a heavy crash is the hood. If it doesn´t close perfectly and looks odd when staring at it from the outside, it could mean that has been severely crashed. If the crash in which it was declared a total loss was perfectly fixed, the hood should be perfect.
- Electrical Components – If the electrical components of the car don´t work perfectly and are oddly intermittent, the car could have gone through flooding. If the car was flooded, you should walk away from it.
The Initial Price and the Fixed Price
When purchasing a salvaged car and generally when buying any used motor vehicle, final price means buying and fixing. A salvaged vehicle might mean a 70% discount, but the money you spend after buying is what should define the purchase. A clean title can be found in the blue book, but most salvage cars don´t, so getting a loan for repairs can prove to be hard. Put an eye on the mentioned specs and an ear to your mechanic´s verdict before embarking on an adventure that can really prove to be expensive.
It is very tempting to buy a car that has been carefully refurbished on the outside and the inside and looks awesome. More tempting still if the price tag on it is a few zeros below market value, but mechanics play the biggest role in the game. To avoid buying a problem, it is necessary to go past that initial temptation and put a cold thought to it. If you follow the tips and listen to your mechanic´s voice, you have a great chance of success. Also, buying salvaged title cars is not for those who are not well-versed into the car buying and selling the world.
In my own experience, I have done it many times and I have mixed experiences to talk about. The times it went out ok (Hyundai Elantra at 25% of the price) paid for the times it didn´t (unusable Corolla with flood damage). I don´t regret having gone through it but I did learn a thing or two. I hope it works as an advice and you have a wonderful experience.