Used car w/ rebuilt title - it's been in an accident - is it OK?

toyota
echo

#1

I am looking for a used car and most I am finding have “rebuilt titles.” They been in some type of accident and repaired. I’ve asked about the type of accident and the damage on both cars does not sound like it involved the frame.



On one the fender was replaced, on the other the bumper and some of the left side.



If I decide to make an offer on either of these vehicles, I will take to a mechanic and body shop for inspection before purchasing.



Am I crazy to consider a vehicle that’s been in an accident? Anything I should know? ask? be aware of?



Thanks in advance,

Karin




#2

Depends on the damage done. I’d want to talk to the shop that did the repair and see the bill. Frame, fire or water damage are all deal breakers. Minor damage may be OK. Keep in mind you will have difficulty selling the car. I would take NADA/KBB trade in value and offer 50% at most. Is it a Ferrari 599 or a Hyundai Sonata?


#3

It’s a Subaru Forester. I will ask for copies of repair work. Thanks!


#4

There are way too many nice Subaru Foresters for sale. No need to buy a salvage title one unless it was SERIOUSLY CHEAP.


#5

A rebuilt title is usually given when to a car that is totaled, the damage is too expensive to repair the car, and then rebuilt. A simple fender replacement or bumper replacement won’t cause an insurance company to total a car. There has to be a lot more damage involved. Like twotone and Karin said, unless the car is real cheap, walk away.


#6

You are asking for trouble, especially with an awd vehicle. I wouldn’t buy a salvage title vehicle, too many ways to hide problems.


#7

It’s fairly easy to do the body work and make it look nice. But you need to somehow figure out if they did a proper evaluation for damage to the suspension, for example, and repair it properly. I have a friend who managed a body shop - he’s always said good rebuild work can be done and the car will be just fine. If the shop is confident in their work they’ll offer a guarantee. Your best bet is a private party who had the work done by a professional shop, and they should be fully willing and able to show documents for the work. There are shops that specialize in rebuilding. They can be fine and they may offer a bit of warranty and/or they should be around if you have any trouble, but remember there in it to make a profit. To avoid at all costs is a backyard re-builder, you’ll have no idea what skills he or she had or if you’ll be able to find them later if you have a problem.


#8

“A rebuilt title is usually given when to a car that is totaled, the damage is too expensive to repair the car, and then rebuilt. A simple fender replacement or bumper replacement won’t cause an insurance company to total a car. There has to be a lot more damage involved. Like twotone and Karin said, unless the car is real cheap, walk away.”

I would say that this sums up my opinion very well.
Unless you are in truly desperate financial circumstances, and a rebuilt car is all that you can afford, I would suggest that you avoid any of these cars like the plague.

And, even if the lower cost allows you to buy one of these cars, you should consider the ultimate cost of repairing/maintaining a car that has been this badly damaged and repaired. As but one example of what I am talking about, a rebuilt vehicle with a unitized body/chassis has a VERY high probability of never tracking correctly again on a highway. The result in the short term is excessive tire wear and weird/dangerous handling characteristics. The longer-term effect with an AWD vehicle is damage to the expensive AWD mechanism, due to the tracking problem and the resultant excessive tire wear.

Buying a rebuilt car is just asking for trouble, IMHO.


#9

Don’t walk, RUN away from any car with a rebuilt title, especially a Subaru. Anything with a rebuilt or salvage title has been is a major crash, or has been flooded, neither of which you want.

For your purposes, you should equate “rebuilt” with JUNK. Minor fender benders do not qualify a car for a rebuilt title. The damage has to be significant. Usually it means the damage costs more to repair than the car is worth.

Is that what you want?

There are people on this forum who are extremely car-savvy, and they might be able to buy a rebuilt-titled vehicle and make it work for them.

This is highly unlikely for you or me. I wouldn’t even attempt it. My experience with crash-damaged cars has taught me to avoid them at all costs.

If all you’re finding are rebuilt-titled vehicles, you really need to look elsewhere.


#10

Ask to see the “before” pictures, the ones they took before it was repaired. They exist, but they are hard to find…VDCdriver makes a good point. A routine collision repair does not result in a “Rebuilt or Salvage” title…Only cars that have been totaled by insurance companies have these titles. Rebuilding these wrecks is an INDUSTRY few people are aware of…Sometimes, at 50% of blue book, they offer reasonable value…Sometimes not…make SURE the air-bag warning light functions correctly. If it does not illuminate at all, the bags are not functional and were probably not repaired/replaced…If the bag light stays on all the time, same thing…Do your homework…


#11

Some times the front fender is bent all the way to the rear license plate. Then there are unimportant parts like wiring, ball joints, control arms and things that are sort of OK but left on the car despite being bent, buckled, distorted or mutilated.