Author Topic: Car question: Would you buy something with a salvaged title?  (Read 4834 times)

superone!

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I'm in the market for a new car and I'm planning to purchase a Honda Fit. Would you consider purchasing a car with a salvage title? They are just so much cheaper than cars with clean titles...but I don't know how much risk I'm willing to take.

Thoughts, mustachians?

For example: http://losangeles.craigslist.org/lac/cto/5136170439.html

Telecaster

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Re: Car question: Would you buy something with a salvaged title?
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2015, 06:12:22 PM »
Depends on why it was totaled.  Try to never buy a car that was hit.   If it was hit, make sure you see pics of the damage and what they did to repair it.  Sometimes cars can be totalled just due to interior damage, in which case it is more straight forward.     A common scam with cars that have been hit is to replace the dash, but not replace the air bags. Another thing that sometimes happens is that after a car is stolen the insurance company will total it. If the car is recovered, the insurance company will then sell it with a salvage title.   If that case, it might be okay.   

MikeBear

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Re: Car question: Would you buy something with a salvaged title?
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2015, 06:20:44 PM »
I HAVE bought vehicles with salvage titles, but ONLY at a "throw-away" price.

It must be very cheap, so if I discover something horrible and costly with it afterwards, I might choose to dump it instead of pouring more money into it to keep it.

That at least limits the lemon factor a bit...

VCaddy

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Re: Car question: Would you buy something with a salvaged title?
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2015, 08:14:15 PM »
Nope.  Resale value is terrible, that might not matter if you're going to drive the wheels off it for the next 15 years though.  Lots of flood cars around with salvage titles, and those are always an electrical systems nightmare. 

JLee

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Re: Car question: Would you buy something with a salvaged title?
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2015, 08:24:51 PM »
I'd consider it, but not if I cared about resale and not if it was a flood salvage.

I have a buddy who does body work for a living and we've talked about picking up a wrecked car at auction, I pay him to fix it, then I drive it. I'd be able to get something for ~half of what it'd cost to buy used with a clean title.

Faraday

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Re: Car question: Would you buy something with a salvaged title?
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2015, 08:36:50 PM »
YES YES YES!

I have a 2005 Ford F-150, which I would NEVER buy new. I bought one with salvage title and it's been a spectacular vehicle....for $3500!

And here's the super cool thing. When the county wanted to value it at what a "normal, non-wrecked" F-150 goes for, I called 'em up, reminded them it's SALVAGE TITLE, and they knocked $2000 off the valuation. YAY!

Caveats:
1) You NEED the original damage to be "light" on the vehicle (frame not bent, or frame able to be straightened)
2) You NEED the repairs to be truly expert. You don't want to be going through a set of tires every year because the alignment is off and can't be fixed.
3) You NEED the car NOT TO LEAK. That sucks majorly.
4) You NEED everything on the car to work, especially the AIR BAGS.
5) NEVER FINANCE. You need to be able to carry only liability insurance on the vehicle. Collision/Comp won't pay full value if it's a salvage vehicle.

What else? Not sure. But, I'll tell you this. I'm absolutely thrilled with my salvage purchase. I have a brother who won't buy anything BUT a salvage vehicle. He goes to the auctions, shops carefully and when he sees a vehicle without basic frame damage, he pounces. This is how I got the F-150!
« Last Edit: July 29, 2015, 08:45:15 PM by mefla »

Jeremy E.

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Re: Car question: Would you buy something with a salvaged title?
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2015, 08:41:40 PM »
I would consider Rebuilt, but not Salvage. Rebuilt means it has been repaired and the repairs have been okayed to have the lien on the title change from salvage to rebuilt. I would make sure the frame was straight, my friend bought a salvaged car and went through tires about every 3 months because the frame was bent and something about it just made the tires go bad quick.

Edit:
I'd also have a good mechanic look at the car before buying it. A lot of mechanics will do an inspection for a small fee.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2015, 09:06:00 PM by Jeremy E. »

Merrie

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Re: Car question: Would you buy something with a salvaged title?
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2015, 08:44:44 PM »
My husband used to have a car that had been totaled after a hailstorm, but other than the body damage it wasn't in too bad of condition (though it was about 12 years old at this point; obviously only an older car could be totaled this way). I wouldn't be bothered by something that was just cosmetic damage, but apart from that I'd shy away; we aren't enough of car experts to evaluate which damage to frame/working parts is okay and which is bad.

The_path_less_taken

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Re: Car question: Would you buy something with a salvaged title?
« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2015, 06:41:24 AM »
I'm glad some have had good experience with it, but I was speaking to a manager I know at a car dealership and he mentioned that some are difficult to insure.

I don't think I'd do it unless it was something like hail damage.

And while you hope someone would say "yeah, it got caught in the flood" how would you know? The flash floods that wiped out the road CA-AZ probably hit a lot of people just on vacation, not actually from the flood zone area...so unless the seller is truly honest...it's a crapshoot.

thurston howell iv

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Re: Car question: Would you buy something with a salvaged title?
« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2015, 06:53:02 AM »
I've seen people buy them with great success. I knew a county attorney that purchased a newer Cadillac Escalade with a salvage title. I had no idea until he told me. It was essentially half the cost of a clean title car.

I purchase a salvage title car once. It wasn't a bad car, still had good airbags but had been repaired on the side. I drove it and made it nicer than when I had purchased it and sold it. It was harder to sell it than a clean title car because people are afraid of the "salvage" part.

All in all it's not a bad way to buy a nicer car for half the cost. If I were looking to buy one today, I would avoid cars with flood damage and front end collisions. Other than that, if the rebuild shop is competent, most damage can be fixed. I would be mindful, however, that it will be harder to sell the car should you ever decide to.

JLee

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Re: Car question: Would you buy something with a salvaged title?
« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2015, 08:19:07 AM »
I'm glad some have had good experience with it, but I was speaking to a manager I know at a car dealership and he mentioned that some are difficult to insure.

I don't think I'd do it unless it was something like hail damage.

And while you hope someone would say "yeah, it got caught in the flood" how would you know? The flash floods that wiped out the road CA-AZ probably hit a lot of people just on vacation, not actually from the flood zone area...so unless the seller is truly honest...it's a crapshoot.

Progressive doesn't care. They'll still put full coverage on it if you want, too (appraiser determines value in the event of a claim).

Jeremy E.

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Re: Car question: Would you buy something with a salvaged title?
« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2015, 08:32:25 AM »
I'm glad some have had good experience with it, but I was speaking to a manager I know at a car dealership and he mentioned that some are difficult to insure.

I don't think I'd do it unless it was something like hail damage.

And while you hope someone would say "yeah, it got caught in the flood" how would you know? The flash floods that wiped out the road CA-AZ probably hit a lot of people just on vacation, not actually from the flood zone area...so unless the seller is truly honest...it's a crapshoot.

Progressive doesn't care. They'll still put full coverage on it if you want, too (appraiser determines value in the event of a claim).
And if you're buying a salvaged title car, you might as well just do liability insurance anyways. I'm sure anywhere will let you get liability insurance on it.

Bob W

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Re: Car question: Would you buy something with a salvaged title?
« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2015, 08:48:44 AM »
Absolutely. 

Negatives -- 
1. Resale less
2. You need to know the story, what was repaired,  why it was totaled

Positives --
1. Cheaper -- hopefully way cheaper

My son bought a salvaged title pick up about 1 year ago from a lot that sells them in the damaged state.  He paid 7K and put 2K into hood, bumper,  paint, bags, misc.    He ordered all the body parts on line and the bags as well and had a local body shop friend do the work.   Truck books out at 17K even with the salvage title.   Looks cool too as he put I cool looking scooped hood on it.  The only drawback is the 10 mpg.  But he will sell it this year for a profit that will cover all his gas, taxes, insurance since driving it.  So essentially a free car with free gas.

Yes it took him some time and effort. 

Here is the link to the site where he buys them just so you can check out what salvaged cars may look like before repair.   

http://www.mottauto.com/

2ndTimer

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Re: Car question: Would you buy something with a salvaged title?
« Reply #13 on: July 30, 2015, 09:30:36 AM »
I would take it to my mechanic whom I trust implicitly.  If he said "Buy it."  I would if the price was right.

Gone Fishing

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Re: Car question: Would you buy something with a salvaged title?
« Reply #14 on: July 30, 2015, 09:55:46 AM »
Paid about 40% less than average price for a repaired Sienna that had been totaled due to a rear end collision.  We plan on driving it into the ground so re-sale does not matter.  We've put over 130k on it so far with no issues related to the collision. 

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Car question: Would you buy something with a salvaged title?
« Reply #15 on: July 30, 2015, 10:28:26 AM »
I tend to be the final owner of our cars, so resale wouldn't be an issue. That said, the age vehicles we have bought in the past, I wouldn't have saved much by adding the uncertainty of a salvage title. (Most expensive car I've ever owned was bought for a bit over $5K)

My Dad bought a car for my sister growing up with a salvage title. Went with a place based on a personal recommendation, looked it over thoroughly, and lucked out. Car lasted an obscenely long time.

Bob W has a good point - some benefit to buying the car BEFORE it's been repaired. Still need to know what you're doing, especially with checking for frame damage, but much less chance of something being hidden.

RWD

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Re: Car question: Would you buy something with a salvaged title?
« Reply #16 on: July 30, 2015, 10:36:34 AM »
I've bought two rebuilt/salvage vehicles. Both worked out okay but I probably wouldn't do it again.

AZDude

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Re: Car question: Would you buy something with a salvaged title?
« Reply #17 on: July 30, 2015, 10:58:19 AM »
I've considered them, but as others have said you have to pay cash since its difficult to insure. Also need it to be a great deal.

Joggernot

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Re: Car question: Would you buy something with a salvaged title?
« Reply #18 on: July 30, 2015, 01:07:21 PM »
My husband used to have a car that had been totaled after a hailstorm, but other than the body damage it wasn't in too bad of condition (though it was about 12 years old at this point; obviously only an older car could be totaled this way). I wouldn't be bothered by something that was just cosmetic damage, but apart from that I'd shy away; we aren't enough of car experts to evaluate which damage to frame/working parts is okay and which is bad.
My Accord was also totaled because of a hail storm.  Bought it back at the salvage price, and have put another 30k miles on it.  The heat down here popped out most of the dents, so I had it repainted.  Looks like new, but I'll never get a good price for it.  Now, I'm driving it into the ground, but still giving it good maintenance.  We now only put about 6k miles/year on the car so I expect it to last another 5+ years until we reach 300k total mikes.

Bonus: Mythbusters proved that putting dents in your car improved mpg...:)

CheapskateWife

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Re: Car question: Would you buy something with a salvaged title?
« Reply #19 on: July 30, 2015, 01:11:12 PM »
It depends....We just bought a 97 Mustang GT for $300 with no title, and will have to apply for the salvaged title.  The car has been in the garage of the abandoned house next door for the last 6 years, and the previous owner has passed away.  I think its going to be OK, and if not, DH can just part it out.