How to Buy Salvage Cars

If you have the skills and patience that will be needed to repair a salvage car, then there are considerable savings to be gained over buying one that is undamaged.

A salvage title vehicle could save you a bundle of money, but there are pitfalls which must be avoided, because if you fall into the traps they can lead to serious unforeseen extra costs which could make the purchase more expensive than a brand new car.

Following the accident, a loss assessor either from or appointed by the insurance company will carry out an inspection. From this inspection the insurance company can determine the repair costs involved and the value of the vehicle before it was involved in the accident.

If the work estimate exceeds the value of the car, then it will be assessed as unworthy of repair and effectively classified as written off.


The “write off” is then offered for sale to the highest bidder through trade dealer sources.
Whoever is the buyer will then resell the vehicle with salvaged title. Salvage title means the vehicle is not yet road worthy and will require further improvements.

When you as the end buyer purchase the salvage you will have to make the required repairs to bring it up to roadworthy status. And here in lies the opportunity and the dangers.

The question is, whether the cost of repairs will end up saving you money or costing you money. Some of the main things to be aware of is the fact that a salvaged car can look ok cosmetically but still have serious and expensive problems with it.

Frame damage is one of the most expensive things to have repaired and is also one of the more difficult things for the casual buyer to detect. This is why it is essential that you have your car checked out by at least one but preferably at least three qualified car specialists prior to purchase.

Another key thing to look out for is if the air bag has been deployed. If the air bag has been deployed it needs to be replaced, together with all the related air bag detonation components which will also have been deployed in the crash.

More rather unscrupulous second hand car dealers however will often try and sell on the car without replacing the airbag first. You will of course want to make sure that car is also mechanically sound as well. This is a standard check for any car but most be approached with more care than usual with a salvage title vehicle.

Finding the right salvage car for sale can save you a lot of money and can be quite tempting if you want a newish car at reasonable cost. However remember if you do it the wrong way it can also end up costing you more than a new model.

If possible when purchasing such a vehicle, get it checked out first by a specialist. They will go over the car with their expert eyes and give you a report. This could be worth far more than it’s financial outlay if they find something wrong which could work out seriously expensive to fix.

Sit down and carefully calculate the costs of repairing the vehicle. Remember to include all costs, including getting the car delivered to wherever it has to go for repair. Go through the whole project step by step. Be as thorough as you can and then add on an extra 15% on top to allow for unexpected extras, just to be on the safe side.

Decide if you are willing to take the risk with the possibility of ending up with a lemon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *