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What Used Car Buyers Should Know About Salvage Titles

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At I-86 Truck & Auto Repair, occasionally we carry out a used car inspection on a car with a salvage title. When talking to people who are considering whether to buy a vehicle with a salvage title, we have discovered that there is some confusion regarding the issue. In today's article, we review the subject of salvage titles.

What Is A Salvage Title?

Salvage titles can be confusing because state laws vary on many issues concerning motor vehicle titles. Adding to the confusion, auto insurers have different policies regarding salvage titles.

A title that has been marked as "salvage," "rebuilt," "totaled," "junked," or a similar term, could designate one of the following scenarios:

The car was involved in a flood, fire, vandalism, or serious collision
the cost of repairing the damage would be more than 70%-90% of its value prior to the event in question
an insurance agency has deemed the car a complete loss due to the damage.

Note that state motor vehicle agencies and auto insurers may have different definitions of what constitutes a total loss.

Most experts discourage used automobile buyers from buying a car with a salvage title. However, if the price is very, very low, say, less than half of the blue book value pre-accident, and the buyer fully understands what the car has been through, a salvage title vehicle may make sense for some buyers. Remember though, the price needs to be really, really low. Bring the car into I-86 Truck & Auto Repair and we will perform a thorough used automobile inspection and tell you exactly what condition the automobile is really in.

What Is Salvage Title Fraud?

Suppose you are looking at a used auto with an unusually low price that does not have a salvage title. This doesn't necessarily mean the clean title is legit. Unscrupulous auto scammers can misrepresent a salvage car by moving it to another state, reporting a missing title, and re-registering the automobile with a clean title.

If the scammer is hiding the true history of the car, you can bet he/she doesn't have high standards when it comes to the repairs necessary to make the vehicle drivable. Unsuspecting buyers who think they are getting the deal of the century can end up losing a lot of money and/or driving a car that is extremely unsafe.

Car clipping is a related scam. Unethical auto repair operations piece together damaged autos and fail to disclose that they are composed of parts of salvage cars.

You Will Probably Need To Pay Cash

Be aware that it may be difficult or impossible to obtain financing or insurance for an automobile with a salvage title.

Buyer Beware

Bottom line? Be very, very wary when shopping for used autos. Always order a vehicle history report. Scrutinize the title and compare it with the history report. If the vehicle has been shipped from overseas, be skeptical. If something seems fishy, it probably is.

As was mentioned before, protect yourself by bringing any used vehicle you are contemplating into I-86 Truck & Auto Repair so our experts can examine it. We will give you a professional opinion regarding the car's true mechanical condition so you will know exactly what you are getting into.