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2008 Toyota Prius salvage title . Is it worth it?

I am a new member and am unusre about purchasing a toyota prius with salvage title. I was wondering if anyone can help me. There is a 2008 prius for sale in southern california that had front end damage. Now, it’s for sale. 71k miles. looks great. bodywork fixed. Seller wants $9,000. From the photos the seller emailed me, it just looks like a bumper repair.

here are some pictures of how it looked before the repair. Why would this be considered a salvage? It is now fixed. Should I take a chance and buy this car?

‘just a bumper repair’ won’t result is a salvage title.

RUN AWAY, espcially because of the potential damage to the expensive hybrid equipment.

Don’t look back, and don’t look at salvage title cars. ‘If you have to ask, it’s not for you’

+1 Run!

You shouldn’t buy a car with a salvage title unless you’re good with cars and you know what you’re getting into. I think the price needs to be roughly half of what it would otherwise be.

Keep in mind that the resale value of a car with a salvage title is extremely low.

Sellers with salvage title cars usually seem to think their car is worth almost the same as a clean title car.

They probably feel their particular car was fixed better than a lot of the others. My gut feeling is that salvaged cars that were physically damaged (I"m not talking theft recovery or something) will likely NOT be repaired to the same standards as pre-accident. Shops or used car lots that sell repaired salvage title cars want to make a profit, not sell perfectly repaired vehicles. They want to do enough to flip the cars, but not much more.

Why do you think it was just a bumper repair?
I just looked at the pictures. Where is the hood? Where is the windshield, Where is the headlight?
Where is the grille? Where is the fender?
I suspect there’s a lot more going on that you don’t know about.

Yeah, I agree. I don’t know why this would result in a salvage title so something doesn’t add up and I would pass. When you buy a salvage, you have to be ready to keep it forever since it will be very hard to sell again and worth nothing. So if you know what you are doing and pay 50% of normal value and ready to junk it when done, no problem. You can still end up with tons of problems with alignment, irregular tire wear, handling issues, creaks and rattles, wind noise and on an on. Yup just pass on this one.

A neighbor of a good friend has a salvage Prius 2008. City’s fire vehicle backed into the city owned, fire marshal Prius, new 2009. The guy bought the Prius on salvage in 2010, $3000. Another $5000 in body work and it looks pristine. City and its insurance company are idiots.

I am not even sure how you verify that this pictures are from the exact same car you are going to buy. Or, if it is the same car, it was the only accident it was involved in.

Salvaged cars are worth less than 50% of clear title, that is if you check an double check and mechanics and body shops check and everything is perfect. Even then, I would think of it as risky business.

Funny. The car is worth 20k. U buy it for 3k and fix it for 5k more. Total of 8k and car is as good as new? If 20k car really had 5k in damage, they would have fixed it.

Go to and find the “true market value” for the car, you go to used cars and click on appraise your car. Enter the info, make, model, options, mileage, etc. and you will get a number. Consider the condition fair, and certainly no more than clean. If the selling price of the salvage car is about 50% of the true market value as per Edmunds it might be a good deal.

Pictures show a lot of damage and is good you can see them. The car took a pretty good hit, and pictures don’t show all the potential hidden damage deeper into the framework of the car. Inspect it and pay very close attention to how the doors line up, all the gaps should be even all around all the doors. The hinges and latches must work smoothly. Any issues with door alignment points to a twisted frame that hasn’t been repaired properly. Drive the car, and if you are still interested have a mechanic inspect it before you hand over any money for it.

I have 100% confidence that your local government does things just as my local government does. And for the insurance, the taxpayer pay. And how would it look when the Fire Dept Commander drives a damaged vehicle.

First if you have to ask salvage cars are not for you. This is very true. You need to know what you are looking at. Now what is a salvage car worth? Any where from 50% to 75% of a non damage vehicle. I am a insurance adjuster and a bodyman with over 30 years exp. repairing vehicles. I have totaled cars that can be fixed and be fine and safe once they are repaired. What somtimes happens is the owner is a problem so we total the car and walk away. Sometimes its price of parts and state laws that wont let us use a lower price part. Like CAPA parts or used. A salvage title is just a pice of paper and most times has nouhthing to do with if the car can be repaired safely.

Let look at what I totaled after the Sandy storm. I totaled many SUV’s,trucks and cars of all makes that were sill being drove over 30 days after the storm. Why you ask? Because of state law states that if more than 1 inch of water entered the vehicle it is to be totaled. Now 1 inch is not much for some vehicles and thay will be fine, but I by law have to total them. Would I buy one at a good price? You bet I would. As for this Prius Its most likely ok. But you need to go over it real good with someone who knows body work and unibody work.

The Prius & Fire truck: Having a Backup camera on the Prius didn’t help it, But it sure proved that fire trucks need a backup camera, and a copilot to monitor it.

The drivetrain including the engine and tranny can also sustain damage with a hit that hard.
I would advise forgetting about this one and looking elsewhere.

That car did not get a salvage title because of bumper damage and I would note that the drivers side is not shown very clearly.

It could also be that some damage has been repaired already and the pics you see are stages of assembly rather than “as it was hit”. I’m not much on conspiracy theories but you never know.

The pictures shows the vehicle with all the major straightening, and repairs complete. At this point it looks like body panels are being hung, and adjusted. For all we know a complete front clip could have been grafted on.

Ask if you could see pictures of the car before any work was started.

Those Pictures Aren’t Worth A Thousand Words. They Ask A Thousand Questions.
I’d Bet The Driver’s Side Of That Car Was Considerably Shorter Than The Passenger’s Side.

Also, The Roof Isn’t Shown In The Photos. Here Again, I’d Bet That The Roof Has A Bulge (Wrinkle) In It, Lending More Evidence.

How’re The Air Bags ?

Oldbodyman’s last sentence on his post above should be reread. I too worked in a body shop for 2 years at one time in my past history.