Salvage title

We’re considering buying a used 2003 subaru forester x w/ 59K miles that has a salvage title. It list’s for about $4K lower than standard blue book. The body shop has photos to show the extent of damage prior to fixing. They also offer a guarantee/warranty on the vehicle. Is this worth considering? What should we look for in terms of “stay the hell away”? Thanks. Curious car seeker in Olympia.

What kind of damage do the photos show? Can you scan them and post them here so we can get a better idea?

This car would normally book high so if it was a t/l it must have been whacked pretty good. If you consider selling it in the future it will be hard to find a buyer since most will be leary of it and if you do find a buyer they won’t give you more than a plugged nickel for it. I would walk IMOO.

Actually I think it can be a decent deal but would highly recommend having a frame shop do an inspection first to make sure alignment is OK and properly repaired. Second, you will have a hard time selling it again so if you plan to keep it and drive it, you might be ok. There is no way to wash a salvage title and will be stamped in red on the title. So if the price is 25-50% off book, checks out ok, and you don’t plan to sell it, maybe worth considering.

Without seeing the pics to get a general idea of how hard it was hit, things that would make me nervous would be any signs of the front subframe being hit, strut towers suffering damage, or wheels that have been knocked way out of whack.

A salvage title will have a downside though. A lending instituion will probably not loan money on a vehicle with a salvage title and resale value will be in the tank later.

If the front wheels in the pics are about where they should be it’s possible the damage could be confined to sheet metal and peripherals only. Basically this means a bolt-on repair and is really nothing to worry about.
If you do not have the expertise to inspect the subframe and strut towers visually then I would advise having a reputable body shop take a look at it first.

Just curious. Exactly how much are they asking for this car? The mileage is very decent for a going on 6 year old car but the point could be made that the vehicle could have been whacked hard back in 2005 and classified a total. When a 1 or 2 year old car is branded a total then this means it was hit very hard and should probably be avoided. If it was hit last year then it may not be a big deal at all.

My last Subaru was on a salvage title for 8 years and 300k miles with no problem, but it all depends. Hope that helps.