Why most of the used Prius on sale has a salvage title?

Once someone told me that Prius crumbles on impact - now I see most of the used Prius on sale has a salvage title, I am wondering about it,

most cars crumble upon impact, which totals the vehicle. Some people buy these wrecks on the cheap, fix them up and resell them. If they are trying to get blue book value for these salvage titled vehicles, they’re nuts. Rule of thumb is about half book value is what they’re worth

By and large a salvage title means that you are buying a junked car. You dont know what was fixed and what was not. If you are not the sort to rebuild a car with the tools you already own you are in over your head. Just because it looks cheap… The value on the car should be just a bit over what you could get by going to the junkyard and paying salvage value. Mostly folks do a cheap paint job on replaced panels and hope the state does not have a lemon law. In mass(with a 90 day lemon law) I would not buy this a a private sale, period. I would pay a lot less than book only after having my mechanic go over it with a fine toothed comb.

Another explanation is that most all the people with working Priuses are keeping them, so that most used ones on the market are the ones nobody wants.

A salvage title means the insurance company decided it cost more to fix than it was worth, but someone fixed it not only cheaper than the book value, but for so cheap that they can sell it for almost half that! This almost inherently means cutting corners.

But specifically regarding the Priuses, there are probably two reasons why you’re seeing a lot of them with salvage titles. One is that there isn’t really and aftermarket yet for the expensive hybrid components, so if you’re in a crash that wrecks the battery or the motor, chances are it’s going to be totalled. But if you can replace these parts with used ones, the economics might work out.

The other reason is that last year during the gas price spike there was a run on these cars and in some cases used Priuses were selling for more than the cost of a new Prius (since you had to get on a waiting list for them). During this interlude, you could get full price or even more for a salvage title Prius, so people salvaged more of them.

Unless you can have it thoroughly inspected both by an experianced bodyman and by a mechanic who is knowledgable about the Prius hybrid system, I would not even consider buying a salvaged one. IMHO, they’re just too complicated to have been properly fixed on the cheap.

Even a theft recovered car is often seems salvaged - these cars have no structural issues as long as there was no serious body damage. Its possible for the insurance companies just write it off as it become more predictable in terms of their finances as repairs can cost them more than estimate - possibly makes the work of an adjuster easy.

I am in a similar situation now - my theft recovered 87 Integra with under 150k and smogs like a new car - the adjuster is in another town and he touched on writing it off - personally I am not sure what is the best strategy for me - thieves took 3 wheels, damaged the windshield and stripped the neighboring area of the windshield. Removed part of the engine but unsure if they took anything with them. Also they cleaned up the trunk area w/ some scratches/crack on the bumper. The central lock isn’t working. They also took all the wipers.

Should I encourage wiring it off and take the car for its salvage value?

Rebuilding wrecked cars is an underground INDUSTRY in this country. Many manage to avoid the stigma of a “salvage title”. Cleaning up titles is a sub-industry all by itself…

“My insurance company totaled my car”… Right. Then they sold it at a weekly auction and made a profit on it. Three weeks later, it’s on a used car lot, “good as new”…

Did it carry a salvage title?

“My insurance company totaled my car”… Right. Then they sold it at a weekly auction and made a profit on it. Three weeks later, it’s on a used car lot, “good as new”…

That depends on the relationship between the auto insurance industry and the DMV… Sometimes they forget to stamp “salvage” on the title. Sometimes, after 3 auctions in 2 states, the word “salvage” comes up missing…Just a little bookeeping error of course…These errors can double the value of the car, so, not surprisingly, they happen quite often…

Take the salvage value. The car is 22 years old. It’s not worth anything, despite what you think. The thieves took the valuable parts. There’s not much left.

I can’t believe you’re still fooling around with this. You’ve been dithering about this Integra, and Priuses with salvage titles, for while now. Haven’t you figured out what you want to do yet?

And if not, why not?

You can’t expect us to make your decision for you. Quit fooling around.

Give up on the Integra. Its time has come and gone. Nobody’s making a profit on this car. Not you, not your insurance company.

And forget about a Prius, or any other car, with a salvage title. You’re asking for trouble.

Yes, others will say, "I’ve bought (insert your number here) cars with salvage titles, and never had any problems, blah, blah, blah, and maybe that’s true.

But the people you’re hearing from just might have lots more automotive knowledge and expertise than you and I have, which makes a difference.

I wouldn’t touch a salvage car with a ten foot pole.

You do whatever you want.

If you believe this, you’re kidding yourself.

At a weekly auto auction, your '87 Integra, in its present condition, would be lucky to bring $500.

Forget what the car “was.” What matters is what it is now, and that’s not much.

Most rebuilders don’t mess with cars more than 4 years old. There is just not enough money in it for them. If the air-bags deployed, it’s into the shredder. Just as well.

BUT…Even with blown bags, there is a good export market for certain vehicles…

Making one good one out of two or more bad ones is often a reason for a salvege title. The vin#s of the bad ones are now part of the good one, so which is the dead vin# and which is the true active vin# ? Hence the salvage title.

The car that is for sale is probably perfectly good now but consists of major parts from others. ( I do this “make one good one from multiple bad ones” with radios, tools, toys, small appliances and things. )

I suspect that is true. Very few people have purchased a Prius and NOT liked it. It has the highest owner satisfaction according to Consumer Reports surveys.

The one place you might find a good salvage car is a body shop you trust. The place I take my cars also has cars for sale. They go to auctions and find cars that need body work, probably in excess (at retail repair prices) of what the insurance company wants to pay. But when there isn’t work coming in off the street to keep everyone busy, the employees can repair the auction cars ‘at cost’. So they keep a stable work force and make money on used cars as well as their ‘regular’ work.