I have been looking into buying a used Toyota Prius hybrid and have found a significantly large number of them have salvage titles. Is this a coincidence or is there something I should know before taking the Prius plunge?
My guess is that the insurance companies that “total” them are doing so in order to absolve themselves and whomever rebuilds the cars for them of any liability in the event of future electrical meltdown. It’s not that they should necessarily have any issues of that nature, but that they are scared that they might.
Please note that I have bought, fixed, and resold at least 60 “totals” in the last four years. In fact, I bought one today and one last Friday. I’ve been around the block a time or two on insurance deals.
Prius’s are profitable to rebuild. Whats the difference between a Corolla and a Prius in practical terms? The Prius is a hybrid, which makes it worth more. A wrecked Prius in many cases will not cost more to rebuild than the Corolla, but it can be sold for more.
To sort of add to what Xebadiah was saying, for a couple of years, there were long waiting lists for new Priuses and practically no used ones on the market. People were willing to pay close to full price for even one with a salvage title, unlike a normal car where you can usually expect to the value to be about half with a salvage title.
I’d be wary about buying a salvage title Prius now, though, since with low gas prices, generally slow car sales and the waning of the Prius trend, they’re not the hot commodity they once were. Even if a salvage title Prius can still command close to full market value today, they won’t for long.
A lot depends on the reason behind the car being given a salvage title.
Five digits of repair costs, or close to it? Another reason to be wary.
Depending on the reason and the price, a salvage vehicle may be a good deal or it could turn out to be a real headache.
Before taking a plunge on one I would want to know just what happened.
What you need to know is DO NOT buy a Prius, or any other car, with a salvage title, regardless of what the seller tells you.
A salvage title means the vehicle suffered damage, either through crash, flood, or some other means, which required repairs costing more than the value of the vehicle.
You don’t want such a car. The potential for problems is enormous, especially considering the complex nature of the Prius hybrid drive system.
Find a Prius with a clean title. It’ll be worth the extra money.
I have to agree…UNLESS you can buy one for about 1/10th it’s non salvage price. Then use the difference to fix it up. I’m very perplexed to why there are salvage titles.
With all due respect, the last five cars I’ve bought have had salvage titles, including two flood victims. They have all been fine. The single salvage related problem was with a power steering pump from an 89 Mazda 626 turbo engine that somehow found its way into a non-turbo car when the car was rebuilt after an close encounter with a large tree.
I don’t think salvage title cars are for everyone, but they can be fine for many people – especially those with some mechanical skills who intend to drive the car to the junk yard when it dies of old age and who are looking to minimize their overall transportation costs.
I would however look carefully at the price of a salvage title Prius vs a new or non-salvage Prius and a Honda Insight. If the salvage titled Prius doesn’t sell at a really substantial discount from a used Prius with the same mileage, it wouldn’t seem to be much of a bargain.
A Prius or any hybrid obtain a salvage title MUCH easier than a regular car due to a hybrid being electrical. Insurance companies do not like to deal a hybrid with even minor front end damage because of the electrical aspect. So…basically most Prius’s that are salvage titled shouldn’t be but they are because they are half electric. Pretty stupid if you ask me but great for someone wanting a great car for a much lower price. I personally have a salvaged title Prius that had front end damage and it really is the best car I have ever owned. I would highly recommend buying a salvage title prius if you are going to drive it for a long time. I would do it again in a heartbeat. I’ve saved so much money on gas, bought the car cheap, never had a problem with it, insurance is cheap, and I could always resell it for a great price because I bought it at a great price. Highly recommend.