Salvaged vehicles can offer many advantages to the money-conscious consumer. As with any car purchase, you will want to be as informed as possible to be able to make the right decision. But with some research, you can likely find a car that will give you the reliability of a clean-titled vehicle and still leave you with some money in your pocket.
What is a Salvaged Vehicle?
The basic definition for a salvaged vehicle is a car that has been deemed a total loss by insurance due to a wreck, theft recovery, flooding or other damage. Terminology and laws for salvaged vehicles very from state to state, so begin by researching the various laws regarding these cars in your state. Some states won’t allow salvage-title vehicles on the road until they have been repaired, inspected, and given a “rebuilt” title. Texas allows salvage title vehicles to be on the road because they have annual safety inspections. After 24 months of being registered and passing safety inspections in Texas, you can apply to have a “rebuilt” title. Again, knowing these laws in your state will help you make a more informed choice. You will also want to check with your insurance company for their policies regarding salvaged vehicles.
Value in a Salvaged Vehicle
In terms of value for dollar spent, salvaged vehicles really shine. They are not worth nearly the same amount as clean-titled cars. For instance, you may pay $1500 for a slightly wrecked, salvaged titled, vehicle that would normally sell for $6000 or more if it were a clean titled car. It could then be fixed by having frame damage repaired, bodywork, paint and any other issues handled for $2000 to $3000 and you would be left with a car that looks and runs as nice as its clean-titled counterparts, for a fraction of the cost. Unfortunately, you will not be able to sell your car for the same amount as a car with a clean title, as low resale value is a disadvantage of salvaged vehicles.
You will want to pick the right salvaged vehicle for you. And, I suggest avoiding floor cars. If you’re looking for maximum reliability, you will likely want to look for a rebuilt title car, as these will have been proven more roadworthy than salvaged vehicles. If you’re looking to save a little more money, you can look into purchasing a fixed salvage vehicle for less than a rebuilt one. However, it won’t have much proven reliability and may need a few minor repairs. Of course, if you’re mechanically inclined, you can buy a wrecked salvage vehicle and fix it yourself for maximum money savings. The $1500 car described above is a good example of this. If you enjoy working on cars, you may fix it yourself and spend $1000 on the repairs instead of paying sombody else $2000 to $3000 to do it.
In these tough economic times, don’t overlook salvaged vehicles as a car-buying option. With a little research and a couple weekends in the garage you could end up with a nice car for an even nicer price.