When a car has a salvage title, this means the company that insured it has decided it would cost more to repair the vehicle than it is worth. These vehicles are frequently sold at auction. There are some great reasons to consider getting one: and some things to watch out for, too.
The Pros of Salvage Cars
The most obvious benefit to salvage cars is their lower cost. It’s perfectly possible to find salvage cars for sale in USA online auctions that run only twenty or thirty cents on the dollar. If you get a good car that can be repaired, and especially if you have the expertise to repair it yourself, you might be able to get a fantastic deal.
There is a lot of variety with salvage vehicles. Some will be ruined beyond any reasonable repair, and these are useful primarily for scrap and parts. But other cars will only have minor damage. Sometimes a car has been kept in great shape but is old enough that a minor fender bender is enough to throw it into “salvage” status.
In rare cases, negotiations between a customer and an insurance company can result in a salvage title even though the vehicle is actually fine. This happens when everyone wants to settle quickly and avoid claims for other types of damage.
Get a deal on parts
If what you need are some expensive parts, a salvage vehicle might be just the right choice for you. Whether you’re building your own perfect sports car nearly from scratch or trying to repair a number of different things on a foreign-made vehicle, salvage cars might be able to get you what you need.
You can resell for cash
This pro only applies if you know how to do the repairs yourself. Assuming you do, flipping cars can be a great way to make some fast cash. Once you return the car to a workable condition, you should be able to get something for it without having to put much into it.
The Cons of Salvage Cars
Potentially unfixable damage
Just as you could get lucky and end up with a car that only has minimal damage, you could also get profoundly unlucky and end up with something too far gone to repair. In most cases, a pre-auction inspection will help you avoid this outcome, but sometimes it turns out you can’t make the repairs you thought you could.
Stuck with a title
Once a car gets a salvage title, this can’t be undone. It will also be considered a salvage vehicle, and that will limit how much you can get in resale. It may also make it a bit tricker to get it registered. You should also check on insurance requirements in your state to find out what you’ll have to get.
Value of your time
A salvage car will only be worth buying if you can make money off of it or get value from using it. This means you to have to think about more than just the dollar amount you spend on the car and any parts needed to repair it. You should take your time into account, too.
There’s the time you spend researching the vehicle’s worth, the time you spend on the auction, the time you spend getting the car, and the time you spend fixing it. Make sure that you take all this into account as you figure costs.The upshot
Is it worth it? This is an individual decision. It depends on your goals, how comfortable you are with evaluating cars and fixing them, and how important it is to you to save money. If you know what you’re doing, buying a car at an online salvage auction could be an amazing way get a great deal.