Tips For Buying A Car With A Salvage Title


There are more Salvage and Rebuilt cars on the road these days than most people could imagine, as it seems almost every vehicle has been in some type of collision, or had hail damage, been the target of a theft, or other reasons that would lead to a car getting branded as salvage. Still, most people are unfamiliar with salvage and rebuilt cars, and because there is such a disparaging difference between any given number of cars that have been given this status, people become quite confused when they begin researching them. On the other side of the coin, salvage and rebuilt title cars can offer a savvy consumer an amazing deal on a vehicle that they might not otherwise be able to afford. So, if you are in the market for a car, and have been intrigued by one or more salvage or rebuilt title automobile, here are some tips for buying a car with a salvage (or prior salvage) car.

For starters, if you have come to this article without much knowledge on what these different titles represent, you can read our past article on what is a salvage title on a car, where we discuss the various circumstances that can lead to a vehicle being branded as a salvage title car. As if salvage titles were not unfamiliar enough to your average car consumer, there are also rebuilt titles, or prior salvage, which is an entirely different category of automobile. If you want to know about what is a rebuilt title on a car, we have written an article on this topic, as well.

Now that you hopefully have a better idea on the two title types, and the differences between the two, here are some solid tips for buying a car with a salvage title:

  1. Chose your seller wisely — often the individual who is selling the salvage or prior salvage car is the one that bought it with the damages still present. That means that they were the ones who repaired the vehicle, so you want to know who you are dealing with, and if they are reputable or not. In this case, it is advisable to buy from a dealer, preferably one that has some experience and reputation with repairing and selling cars. The reputation will speak for itself.
  2. Request photos of the damages — a reputable seller, especially a used car dealer, will have pictures of the what damages the car sustained. Do not be afraid to ask for these pictures, as the dealer should be glad to show you. This is a tip for buying a car with a salvage title that many people overlook. Take a close look at the pictures, and often times you will see that only a few parts sustained damage, and the car only required minimal repairs.
  3. Request receipts for replacement parts — again, a reputable seller/dealer will have these on hand, and will gladly share them with you if you show that you are interested in purchasing the vehicle. Make sure that the parts purchased match up with the parts that you could tell were damaged from the pictures.
  4. Still request a Carfax Report — this is an often overlooked tip for buying a car with a salvage title, as people assume that just because the car has had a salvage or prior salvage branding on it, you need not check the Carfax. You should actually still request a Carfax to be sure that there was no Frame Damage or any other major problem with the vehicle’s title (odometer discrepancies, flood damage, junk title, lemon, etc.).
  5. Have a mechanic or body shop inspect — let them give the car a look over, as they may be able to see things that stick out better than you can. It always feels good to have an expert give a thumb’s up on a matter that we are not necessarily well-versed in. Most mechanics will do this for a nominal fee, just be sure to pick one with a good reputation!

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