Author Topic: Would you buy a car with a rebuilt title?  (Read 2425 times)

Goldy

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Would you buy a car with a rebuilt title?
« on: November 29, 2019, 03:55:58 PM »
Looking to replace our 2002 car in the next year or so so we have been looking at used cars and the price discount for a rebuilt title really jumped out at me.  As far as I can tell the issues with a rebuilt title are

1) ensuring the damage was fixed properly
2) If other items were damaged and not caught
3) resale

I donít care about resale as we keep cars for a long time so they are fully deprecated by the time we are ready to part ways.  For the first two issues I was thinking of having the dealership inspect the vehicle.  There is a risk of issue 2 coming up later on but to some degree that is the case with any car.  The ones I have been looking at are front end damage but did not have air bags deploy.

Have any of you purchased a rebuilt car and do you have any pointers?

MilesTeg

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Re: Would you buy a car with a rebuilt title?
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2019, 04:06:12 PM »
Looking to replace our 2002 car in the next year or so so we have been looking at used cars and the price discount for a rebuilt title really jumped out at me.  As far as I can tell the issues with a rebuilt title are

1) ensuring the damage was fixed properly
2) If other items were damaged and not caught
3) resale

I donít care about resale as we keep cars for a long time so they are fully deprecated by the time we are ready to part ways.  For the first two issues I was thinking of having the dealership inspect the vehicle.  There is a risk of issue 2 coming up later on but to some degree that is the case with any car.  The ones I have been looking at are front end damage but did not have air bags deploy.

Have any of you purchased a rebuilt car and do you have any pointers?

Any time you have structural damage it's next to impossible to repair and be sure that the repair meets factory specs, so you will be taking a higher risk than normal that the vehicle will not perform as designed if it's in another crash or used anywhere near it's design limits. How much higher depends on the nature of the damage and the quality of the repair work.

This is something that I would consider only if an absolute necessity, not as a normal cost saving measure.

If you do decide to go this route: find a reliable 3rd party to inspect, not the dealer you are buying the car from!
« Last Edit: November 29, 2019, 04:08:21 PM by MilesTeg »

RWD

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Re: Would you buy a car with a rebuilt title?
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2019, 04:49:38 PM »
Have any of you purchased a rebuilt car and do you have any pointers?
Yes, I have. I wouldn't do it again.

neo von retorch

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Re: Would you buy a car with a rebuilt title?
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2019, 05:31:15 PM »
Never got any quotes but I believe you pay higher insurance because they don't want to deal with getting the car "like new" if you get in an accident, due to the (possible) existing state of previous repairs.

Goldy

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Re: Would you buy a car with a rebuilt title?
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2019, 08:45:55 PM »
Have any of you purchased a rebuilt car and do you have any pointers?
Yes, I have. I wouldn't do it again.

Any reason in particular?

Goldy

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Re: Would you buy a car with a rebuilt title?
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2019, 08:46:44 PM »
Never got any quotes but I believe you pay higher insurance because they don't want to deal with getting the car "like new" if you get in an accident, due to the (possible) existing state of previous repairs.

Thatís something I didnít consider.

RWD

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Re: Would you buy a car with a rebuilt title?
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2019, 05:25:03 AM »
Have any of you purchased a rebuilt car and do you have any pointers?
Yes, I have. I wouldn't do it again.

Any reason in particular?

They had too many hidden problems. I suspect poor repair work caused suspension issues on one car on which I once lost control while driving in a straight line and nearly crashed.

former player

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Re: Would you buy a car with a rebuilt title?
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2019, 06:05:07 AM »
I've done this, but -

1.  I saw the car before it was repaired so knew exactly what the problems were..
2.  The damage was a slow front-end crash at the lowest level for being written off - it was a relatively new but also small and cheap car to start with, so the amount of damage was fairly low in order for it to be worth it to the insurance company to write off.
3.  I knew and trusted the garage that was doing the repair - they are local with a great reputation and I'd been going to them for 8 years before seeing the car.
4.  I got a cheap car, but there are fewer insurance companies willing to insure a write-off, so it's possible that my insurance has been higher than it otherwise would be (although I've a faultless driving record and a rural location so it's still pretty cheap).
5.  I've had no problems with the car, 8 years and counting.

KBecks

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Re: Would you buy a car with a rebuilt title?
« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2019, 06:33:17 AM »
No. There are so many cars out there.  I would look for a used car from a private seller with a clean title.

the_fixer

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Re: Would you buy a car with a rebuilt title?
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2019, 09:34:13 AM »
Yes but I bought them as salvage and repaired them myself.

One was a couple of year old Mazda truck with really low miles, bought it for very little. It had a dented tailgate, broken rear taillights that also scratched the paint as they broke and a small dent in the front bumper.

Replaced the taillights, matched and painted the area around the taillights and replaced the front bumper.

Drove the truck for about 5 years, sold it to my sister who drove it for years and then sold it to my mom who is still driving it and it has almost 300k miles on it and is still rocking the dented tailgate :)

Purchased several others over the years but they were all cosmetic damage that I was able to repair, dented hood, hail damage or something like that all worked out great and made money off them even after driving for years.

I would not buy one that was salvage and I could not do the repairs myself or see the before and after.



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Syonyk

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Re: Would you buy a car with a rebuilt title?
« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2019, 07:11:09 PM »
Have any of you purchased a rebuilt car and do you have any pointers?

Sure, I've owned plenty.  Most of them were deer damage to the front end.  $100, $150, $200, etc purchase cost.

Pointers: Are you flat broke?  Then, yes, buy a salvage title and repair it as needed.  Prepare to pull a lot of crap out of weird places.

Do you have a few grand to rub together?  Don't buy a salvage title.

If you can work on cars extensively, and it wasn't a flood title, they're... OK.  Cheap, will have problems, but fine.

If you can't work on cars, avoid them.

nawhite

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Re: Would you buy a car with a rebuilt title?
« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2019, 06:48:35 AM »
Bought a salvaged Prius two years ago for $1900 with 180k miles on it. Salvage repair had been over 100k miles ago involving replacing a quarter of the front end with a donor car. Because it had happened so long before we bought it we knew it wasn't a problem and that the repair was done well. Currently at 220k miles and going strong with no additional fees from GEICO to insure it. Would definitely buy again.

Goldy

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Re: Would you buy a car with a rebuilt title?
« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2019, 06:54:31 AM »
Have any of you purchased a rebuilt car and do you have any pointers?

Sure, I've owned plenty.  Most of them were deer damage to the front end.  $100, $150, $200, etc purchase cost.

Pointers: Are you flat broke?  Then, yes, buy a salvage title and repair it as needed.  Prepare to pull a lot of crap out of weird places.

Do you have a few grand to rub together?  Don't buy a salvage title.

If you can work on cars extensively, and it wasn't a flood title, they're... OK.  Cheap, will have problems, but fine.

If you can't work on cars, avoid them.

My car repair skills are medium, I can change brakes, drill and install a hitch, replace radiators etc.  if itís on YouTube I can do it.  Anything deeper than a timing belt would probably be my line.

My reasoning for looking at rebuilt titles is that my DW is highly interested in getting leather interior for the few models that we are considering, mainly the forester and RAV4.  She has come a long way on the FI journey so Iím happy to trade this luxury for her amazing support.  While I was searching for used models I noticed that a repaired title knocks off nearly 10k from the price of these high trim vehicles so it got me thinking that this might be a mustachian way to buy a car.

There is often a fine line between being frugal/mustachian vs being cheap.  From the feedback so far this might be the latter.  My thought was for a 10k savings you can afford a lot of repairs should you need them.


ChickenStash

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Re: Would you buy a car with a rebuilt title?
« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2019, 07:44:50 AM »
I wouldn't unless I could get a fairly good idea of what happened to the car and who repaired it. I didn't do that and got a real lemon that had more electrical issues due to ham fisted repairs than I could shake a stick at and eventually dumped the car at a loss after spending many, many hours tracing and repairing wiring.

If the car just had simple body damage from hail or a not too severe fender bender then it's probably ok. If the damage was severe then perhaps having shop put it on a rack and measure for frame damage would be good. If there was a fire or flood, run away.

The biggest issue, in my opinion, is that rebuilt cars are far more likely to have the weird problems that are very difficult to fix, even for experienced troubleshooters. Things like intermittent electrical issues, vibrations, things wearing out faster or in unusual ways. These are all very time consuming things to troubleshoot so they're expensive if not done DIY and very frustrating to live with.

MoneyQuirk

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Re: Would you buy a car with a rebuilt title?
« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2019, 11:39:29 PM »
Yes.

I currently own a 2010 Toyota Corolla (Salvage-Rebuilt).

It was rear-ended, resulting in the salvage status. An enterprising fellow rebuilt it and sold it to me on eBay. I have used the car for about 2 years now with no major issues.

Main things I'd keep in mind:
1) Why was it salvaged? Is that likely to show up in the future (flooding issues are of particular concern)
2) Are any warning lights currently on? (I once had a lady tell me the "check engine light" was the "oil" light. Needless to say I didn't buy it).
3) What's the mileage? Barring any other major problems, the lower mileage car is best.

Oh! Also you can't use it for things like Uber. That was a surprise to me (I was looking to make a few extra dollars and it came as an unfortunate surprise).

Good luck!

Cb1234567

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Re: Would you buy a car with a rebuilt title?
« Reply #15 on: December 12, 2019, 09:44:07 PM »
Another vote for rebuilt maybe having weird issues. The problem for us is you just donít know.

Flood damage is a big one, which might mean nothing, or might mean the car is going to be a nightmare - electrical problems, engine corrosion, body rot, musty feet smell that shows up later...it just depends.  There are quite a few flood damaged vehicles from recently flooded areas that populate out to other states, so worth investigating the vehicleís history thoroughly.

Also, I donít trust Carfax/similar history tools completely- rebuilt or not. We have a car right now with a clean history. Guess what? It goes up on the mechanicís lift for tire noise. Turns out some object punched through the front undercarriage protector panel and bent some massive bracket that holds the front wheel straight. Luckily, the mechanic is a friend and bent it back, but most would not have touched it. (We had suspicions - the front tow bracket had marks in the paint, suggesting it was hauled out of a ditch or onto a flatbed - we bought it anyway and am happy in this one case.)