Used car with salvage title

I am interested in the following vehicle because it has very low mileage and the seller is willing to sell it to me for $9K - $1K under their asking price. However, the vehicle was wrecked in an accident a while ago and sustained some damage ( They say it was fully restored and from the photos at it appears everything is fine. I called them and they told me they bought the car as a salvage, fixed it, and have been driving it around town and it has no problems. What do you folks here think? I would have to fly out to CA and drive it back. When I arrive, I plan to take it to a mechanic and have it checked out. If it fails that check or my test driving of at least 30 minutes, I will be out my cost of the plane ticket…

I wouldn’t give it a second look. Who knows what might be hidden? It’s not a rare/unusual car, you’re having to go out of your way, you’ll be under time constraints…nothing about that situation makes me interested.

Generally the rule of thumb is that, with a newer car anyways, a salvaged car is worth about half as much. Since that car new probably cost 14k or so, it’s way overpriced! I’m sure you can find a comparable one for the same price without a salvage title or a cross-country drive involved.

$9,000 for that thing with a salvage title?!? No way! Find something else. You’d have to be a real sucker to buy that.

I need to get into car sales, I can’t get over what people will spend money on sometimes.

Well, with under 20K miles on it, it’s practically brand new - that was the selling point for me. Does that carry no weight here?

I do agree, and I’ve had serious concerns about the car. I called them last night about the damage and asked them how it drives now. They said they have driven it around town since it’s been fixed and it drives flawlessly. Since they’re in El Centro, CA, which is very close to the Mexican border, I asked if they had it repaired here or there and they said it was done here. From our conversation, I think they buy damaged cars, fix them, paint them, and then sell them. They have a couple others for sale as well.

‘Low mileage’ may carry an ounce, but ‘salvage title’ carries a ton.

I would say the low mileage is trumped solidly by the salvage title.

I have a couple of friends who’s families buy nothing but salvage title cars. They normally pay about half of what the blue book would be for a car of the same vintage and mileage. They expect to have problems. It is rare that a salvage car is completely trouble-free. Incompatible junk yard parts (especially electrical parts), Mexican paint jobs that come off in the car wash, water leaks, etc. One Camry had an engine from a different year car and several of the engine sensors were incompatible with the car’s computer. Most of the time, they fix the problems and still come out ahead, so they keep buying salvage title cars.

I didn’t look up the blue book in this car, but $9k sounds like a lot for this car salvaged.

Remember that you have to pay cash because no bank will loan money on a salvage title, and the manufacturer’s warranty is canceled, even if the future failure has nothing to do with the accident damage.

Dont’t even think about it!! Even peolple who really know cars and know what to look for are taking a risk. Save your maney and shop for something you know is OK, although that might be a couple of years older.

Dale, it doesn’t how this car drives or appears it will never be like it was before the accident. When I was a teenager I used to deliver parts to bodyshops and got to see what all these car look like when they get put back togther, and I can tell you right now it’s not good. Usually the paint is not as good as the original and starts to fade before the factory job, rust creeps up from hidden places and spreads, strange electrical problems come and go. This really is not something to debate-avoid the car period. Many of us here on this site are involved with the auto industry or are former technicians (myself included) so listen to the advice and move on.

Thanks for the advice, guys. I really appreciate it alot! I will forgo buying this car and look elsewhere. It’s taken me too long to save up this money to throw it away.

What about this car:

It has a salvage title due to a break-in (theft). Since it wasn’t in an accident, it should be ok, right?

Are you sure the salvage title is due only to a theft? I hadn’t heard of that practice. If you can confirm that only the interior parts were stolen (and replaced), it might be worth considering, but I’m suspicious.

A dealership trade in on an 06 xA is just over $10k, and considering they can’t even spell “salvage title”, I’d seriously run away from it, or offer them $4k and let them sit on it for a few days. Find one close to you and you’ll be better off.

Usually the story is that the car gets stolen, the insurance company pays the customer and the original title gets voided. If the car turns up later, it becomes property of the insurance company but there’s no way to restore the original title. In many states, the insurance company can get a new “clean” title and put the car on auction but if they don’t want to jump through those hoops or don’t live in a state where it’s possible the car will turn up with a salvage title.

Theft recovery salvage titled cars are usually pretty badly trashed because in addition to whatever damage gets done in the theft process, (you have to break a LOT of stuff to successfully steal a newer car) in order for the salvage title to be issued, the car has to have been in the hands of the no-goodniks long enough for the insurance company to total it out, which can be a long time. In that time, the person is probably, well, driving it like they stole it and/or some of the more expensive electronic components may have gone to the chop shop after having been amateurishly removed. This damage can be really difficult to repair.

An old co-worker of mine had a theft-recovered Focus that was plagued with electrical problems and problems with the steering column.

Did I miss something or is there no close up of the repaired front quarter??? Also pics show a Nevada plate. Glad you decided to skip it.

Run away from the second car also. Any salvage title is trouble and when you want to sell the car you will not get anything for it.