Salvage title vehicle

what is a car that was wrecked then fixed well worth compared to a vehicle with a clean title?Is there any kind of general rule people go by on this?

I’ve heard 50%.

50% of wholesale value, not retail. Keep in mind that you may never be able to sell it and may have to drive it until it dies.

It also depends on the damage. A bent frame is difficult and expensive to straighten – the car may never drive properly and show weird tire wear. Flood damage is a killer for complex electrics – problems may take a while to surface.


The general rule I go by is “Salvage = Junk,” but others won’t necessarily agree.

I wouldn’t buy a vehicle with a salvage title. Too many unknowns.

I agree that the value of such a vehicle would be half, or less, that of a similar vehicle with a clean title.

I find it hard to use the term “value” when talking about a salvage vehicle.

This is really a grey to black market. There are many shops that buy wrecks and combine them with other wrecks to make one “good” car. I have seen these sold for as much as 75% of the normal going rate. A friend of mine actually bought a Nissan this way and it ran trouble-free for 10 years, but I think he lucked out…

However, it is really a crapshoot; I looked at a really clean Escort, and dicovered on driving it that it pulled to one side. The hood did not fit straight either.

As other say 50% of wholesale value is average, but these guys charge what the market will bear. And it can be profitable; buy 2 wrecks for $500 each and create one $5000 car out of it.

In other words, I would stay away from these vehicles, unless you are a mechanic and can judge that the repairs were properly made.

“fixed well”

That, unfortunately, is an unknown until the car has been driven quite a bit after the repairs. The complexity of modern cars makes it very difficult for chassis repairs to be done well enough for the car to even approach the condition it was in prior to the accident damage.

Even if the car appears pristine to the naked eye, in the event of a serious collision, it will never protect the occupants as well as it did originally. Unfortunately, you won’t know just how poor the occupant protection is until that second collision takes place.

I bought an '87 Saab 900 Turbo with a manual trans with a salvage title in '89 or '90. It was about 1/2 of what a good used equivalent would cost. It was an OK car. The back was from another Saab and it was welded somewhere around where the rear seat back was positioned. As the car was pieced together you could see some of the weld areas under the paint. The paint quality of the entire car wasn’t up to factory standards either. Generally the car looked OK and ran great.

About the only issue that came up was after 5 years it needed a new fuel pump. The pump in the rear of the car was from a 900 non turbo showing the donor car for the rear didn’t have the same engine as the pieced together car. It took a while to get the 2 fuel pump system for the turbo installed and wired up properly, but once done all was fine again.

I sold the car after owning it about 6 years and was honest with the buyers. With service records the car sold for less as a salvage but with 6 years of maintenance history and depreciation the difference in selling price wasn’t as great as when I bought the car.

If the car is just recently repaired then you will be the owner who “discovers” whatever good or bad news there is about the car. The second owners and beyond will have a more known commodity if you can document service.

Rebuilders have learned to stick with popular or “hot” models because they know 'There Is A Sucker Born Every Minute"…

Ask to see the “Before Repairs” pictures. They DO exist…

Roughly half is a good figure. Whether’s it’s worth even half depends on how bad it was before being repaired.

Some salvage title vehicles are great and well worth the money; others not so great.

thanks for the answers probably just going to stay away from salvaged cars

I knew a guy who rebuilt wrecked Subaru’s in his back yard. He was very careful what he bought, (at insurance company auctions) took pictures, and did good work. He also converted them to Right Hand Drive for Postal (Star) carriers using parts he imported from Australia…He had happy customers and few problems.

Agree; those guys are rare. When I was young and foolish I caused a car accident and had no insurance. Luckily, the guy I hit was a government employee with very good health care coverage. But I had to pay for his car’s front end repair, a 1953 Dodge. A local and highly respected mechanic helped me out and found a 1954 Plymouth that had been rear ended, but had a perfect front. It even was the same color. He put the two together and my victim now had a 1954 Plymouth. The whole thing cst me $250 or so at the time.