Theft & recovered Audi Q5 for sale, buy/not buy?

I live in washington state and I went to local dealer (not authorized, but got good reviews) test drove this 2018 Audi Q5 yesterday which has 10k miles on it. Car fax history shows no issues/no salvage title and it’s guaranteed buy. It also shows “car has been stoled & recovered within 20 days”. Inspection report looks good. And the authorized audi dealer service reports after car is recovered didn’t have anything suspicious. The car still has some manufacturer warranty left. The car was bought in auction that was bought by this local dealer I went through.
Can I go ahead and buy the car?
Have two questions,
i)Will my title show “clean” after the car transferred to my name?
ii)Will my resale value have any impact considering “stolen/recovered” part?

I love the car and please provide your valuable suggestions on this.

You need to have the car inspected by your mechanic. This needs to be a mechanic who works for you. You want to pay the inspection fee yourself to remove conflict of interest.

If it passes a thorough inspection, the frame is straight, and the wheels are properly aligned, I’d consider it.


Forget this thing . Since it was stolen and recovered then sold at action I doubt if the factory warranty is still good . No one here can tell what the title will say .

Also if you look at the Carfax web site it clearly states they only have what is reported to them .

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Thanks for your reply. Assuming that car inspection report comes good, can I go ahead and buy the car? do you know if there will be issues with title status for the car? And also will it affect the car value in future when I go for sell?

Thanks for your reply. How do I confirm if the factory warranty remains valid or not?

Possibly. As pointed out - get it inspected by a mechanic you trust. And I’d not pay a lot for this vehicle no matter what the report shows.

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You are asking questions that your local DMV ( where ever that is ) can answer . And yes if the future Carfax or any other reporting service shows something it will effect your resale but that amount can’t be predicted .

As for the warranty your local Audi dealer can answer that . What do you mean by not authorized dealer ?

As for your replies they are seen here by everyone so you do not need to reply to each one .

Is there another 2018 Q5 available near you? It’s pretty common. I’d rather buy one without this problem, it’ll show up when you try to sell, I’d imagine.

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Call any Audi dealership’s service department, read them the entire VIN, and ask them to verify if it is still covered by the factory warranty.

But… consider this old saying:
Drive it like you stole it.
I hope the OP realizes that the vehicle was undoubtedly abused by the thief before it was recovered.


In my limited experience a title that has any sort of marking like “salvage” retains that marking forever, through multiple changes of owner. The history that Carfax reported will not go away. The reason the price you are being offered is attractive is because of that history, and that discount in value will continue for many years. You have not uncovered a deal.

Two year old cars that have low mileage are valuable used cars and the best of them are resold through authorized dealers as “certified”. The next best may be sold by the same dealers, but not certified. The third class is decent cars with some flaws that are often sold by dealers of competing models. When you get to cars that are sold at auction that are 2 years old you can expect they are cars with some pretty bad issues in their history. They are cheaper because you are gambling, and if you don’t have it fully inspected by your own expert you will almost certainly lose.


Just remember that a mechanic checking the car out, will have no idea what the insides of the engine or transmission look like unless it is disassembled. So it could have been hot rodded for 20 days taking thousands of miles of life out of it and no way to tell. like Bruce Williams used to say, never fall in love with something that can’t love you back.

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“I love this car” gives me pause when it applies to a car you don’t know and don’t own. It clouds your judgment.

I might love my 1999 Honda but it took time and shared experience for that feeling to develop. When it was new I just hoped it would turn out to be a good choice that I would not regret.


If the car has a clean title now, I don’t see why not.

No, I don’t know. That would be a question for the seller of the car and would depend on the laws where you live.

Will the seller be registering it for you like a dealership would, or are you on your own to register the vehicle? What does your DMV require by way of paperwork to register a vehicle? Will you need a signed-over title and a bill of sale, or just one or the other?

If you’re going to have to register the vehicle yourself after the sale, find out what you need from the seller to do that, and make sure you get what you need from the seller before you close the deal.

Until you sell the car, any discussion of projected value and depreciation is completely theoretical. Nobody can predict what it will be worth and whether any particular issue will affect the value. A large part of it depends on who you sell it to, and whether that person cares about the vehicle’s past.

There are two schools of thought here:

  • One school of thought is that a car’s past doesn’t matter. Only its current condition matters. If the car was wrecked and fixed properly, why should I care that it was wrecked? If a car has a properly-installed rebuilt engine, that means the engine is newer than the rest of the car, a bonus.
  • The other school of thought is that a wrecked and repaired vehicle can have unseen damage or issues, particularly related to electrical problems, that can be difficult and expensive to diagnose and fix. When you buy a used car, you’re buying someone else’s problems.

I’ve found the listing and it’s at a place called PNW Luxury Cars, the carfax does show a stolen report and shortly thereafter a recovered report. It looks to have had a pattern of visits to the dealer in Beverly Hills on a regular basis even though it averaged under 5,000 miles a year with the previous owner.

Based on that me thinks the OP is being lulled by the low mileage. Low mileage is not necessarily a good thing if it was in the shop a lot compared to a car that was driven a lot and performed well. So stolen, in the shop a lot, low mileage-I’d be inclined to go for the 57K one for the same price.

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The vehicle was in the shop twice for unscheduled maintenance, one for brake bleed and the second for a wheel repair or center cap.

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One of our cars was stolen from my daughter while she was at college. The thieves broke into the house, stole a bunch of electronics, tossed it in her car and drove off. The keys were on the kitchen counter. It was recovered within a few hours. We knew where it was within 45 minutes of the report because OnStar located it, but it took the police a while to get it. When we sold the car to a dealer, there was no discussion of the theft. It did not have a salvage title. The car ran the same after the theft as before. Your Department of Motor Vehicles can tell you whether you need to disclose the theft. If you live in Maryland, I just told you about the issues you wonder about and you don’t need to contact the DMV.

I didn’t see that anywhere but the question is still why 10,000 miles on an '18? Plus it looks like they want $7000 more than the same thing with 57K. So stolen or not must be a cream puff owned by a little old lady,

Not everyone drives excessively, I service many low mileage vehicles, some come in for the first oil change after 18 months.
Yesterday I worked on a 2013 with 33,000 miles, today a 2019 with 51,000 miles, the second customer consumes a lot of fuel.

I am like the first guy, I bought a used car in 2012 and put 38,000 miles on it since, George would fear that it will wear out prematurely if not taken on joy rides once a week.

This line of thinking is reasonable when you are buying a 15+ year old car for $3k or less. When you are looking at a car that old, and with such a low dollar value, issues such as a salvage title, or past body/mechanical repairs are not too important. Maintenance records will be unavailable, because cars that old have often been through several owners before the one who’s offering it for sale now. As long as the car is currently in good condition and runs fine, you take your chance.

However, we are not talking about a $1500 car, or even a $3k car here. We are talking about a $33k car, and I would be very concerned about history at this price point.