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Value of a used car with salvaged title and some body problems (details inside)?

2003 Honda Civic EX 4 door sedan. Salvaged title. 79,000 miles. Engine has been checked by a mechanic and said to be in good working order except that the starter may need replacing in a year or two.

-Crack across entire length of windshield. Right near the bottom so it doesn’t affect visibility too much.

-A/C needs to be recharged.

-Back windows don’t go down.

-Back body is cracked a bit, bumper is pretty bad. Would need proper replacing.

-Hood has softball-sized rust spots and peeled clear coat.

-Body has peeled clear coat and a few minor rust spots.

-Interior lining is coming off in one or two places.

-Gas door level is busted. Gas door must be opened from pulling the cable in the trunk.

The salvaged title was because the car was rearended years ago. My friend bought it from someone at that time. He now is selling it to me. The KBB value for ‘fair’ condition is $3,849. This car has a salvaged title, which I have been told marks the value down to 60% of the KBB value for any given condition. This would mean the car is worth $3,849, though I’m sure the amount of small issues the car has would reduce that number further. But reduce it to what?

I want to buy this car but I want to buy it for a fair price. The engine seems to be great and only has 79,000 miles, which is nothing for a Civic. The body is beat to hell and there are a few non-essential issues which I would have to pay to fix. I also don’t want to buy and insure it only to get involved in a collision and have the insurance company tell me its worth nothing since its has a salvaged title and some body issues.

Thanks for any advice!

Can you insure it? Can you get it inspected? And the discount should be more like 50%, not 40%, and that’s just for the salvage title. All the other problems cause further discounts.

The car is in poor condition. KBB won’t offer a guess at the value. Edmunds says it might be worth about $4100. Can you register it if you buy it? Does it have to pass safety or emissions inspections first?

I dont think I need to take an emissions test. I can get it insured, though I wouldn’t get more than liability (most places wouldn’t even offer collsions. lol).

Typically I wouldn’t even entertain the idea of getting a car that is this beat up but since the engine is in good condition I imagine it will drive for years to come…if the rest of it doesn’t fall apart first.

With all the listed problems, I’d research this as a ‘Poor’ condition car. It has reached ‘beater’ status. The cracked windshield, even if not in the field of vision for the driver, is still illegal in may jurisdictions and worth a citation, as well as being a safety hazard.

Even a ‘salvaged’ price of $3,849 is way too much. With the ugly condition, estimated value to restore it to even ‘Fair’ condition, and salvaged title, I’d offer $1500 or walk away. This car has been beaten, abused, and neglected. In only 79,000 miles! I’ll bet normal maintenance has been neglected as well, making this a soon-to-be money pit.

$4,000 can get you so much better a used car.

I’ve purchased a few salvage title cars, but this one sounds like a beater. It doesn’t matter how few miles it has on it, it sounds like it has been poorly maintained, and maintenance is everything. Move on, there are plenty of fish in the sea. Also it is impossible to say that your stater may need to be replaced in a year or two, absolutely impossible. It could quit tomorrow or last forever, very fishy.

60% off $3,849 is $1,540 and that sounds like a fair price given your description of the car. This isn’t a “fair” condition car, it is a “poor” condition car and then you take off for the salvage title.

Anymore that $1,500 is not a good deal for you. If you needed to sell the car a month after you buy it for some reason, you’d be lucky to get $1,500. Don’t overpay for the car.

even $1500 sounds a tad high to me, offer a grand and see what they say. Only thing that’d worry me is the rust on the car. And, even a $1500 beater car would be a better bet than this car

Thanks for the info everybody. I did make one typo. The KBB value is $6,400 for this car in ‘fair’ condition, which it seems not to be in. The $3,849 is 60% of that price.

gogo99: Here in Ohio a salvage title requires you to take the vehicle to a state inspection site and a state trooper inspects the vehicle before you can get it titled, registered then licensed… Some can be very,very picky as to what they considered safe or whatever. You have to pay $50 for the inspection. A cracked windshield was not acceptable and you would have to return for another inspection and the fee would be another $50. I have heard that a few dents or scratches on the body disqualified the vehicle. I would hate to think how the vehicle would do with the usual emissions tests. I see an enormous hill of problems in your wish to purchase. I am sure every state is different and maybe you should identify your state and have someone advise you accordingly.

I think this car was purchased in Ohio. Now its in Illinois.

I wouldn’t even offer that much. Civics are a dime a dozen. There are so many of them, you don’t ever have to settle for a crapped out car. I’d give 'em maybe $700 for it, and that’s IF I was planning on using it as a parts car. I would never consider buying it as a car that I would actually drive.

It looks like your goal is to buy this Civic because you believe it will provide you many miles for little up-front investment. While no one can predict the future, the information you have provided about the car doesn’t give me or the other contributors a warm feeling that it will be trouble free.

If you’ll be doing all the repairs on the vehicle yourself and perhaps have an equivalent Civic parts car available to get your parts from, then it’s likely worth it.

If you’ll be paying someone else to do the repairs on this car, then based on the information you’ve provided, it sounds like it will cost you more money in the long run. If you’re still intent on buying it, then please pay an independent mechanic for a serious inspection.