1. Autos
Send to a Friend via Email

Your suggestion is on its way!

An email with a link to:


was emailed to:

Thanks for sharing About.com with others!

Readers Respond: Can a Salvage Title Be a Good Thing on a Used Car?

Responses: 128


Used cars with salvage titles can be a good thing for a person handy with automobiles. They spell "nightmare" for other owners. Share your experiences with used car salvage titles. Have you found a diamond in the rough? Regretted buying one in the first place. Share your experiences with used cars and salvage titles. Share Your Experiences

Experience with salvage cycles

Every winter I buy a wrecked Harley, spend a bunch of time fixing, customizing, and then painting. I ride it all summer, then sell it in the fall. Its perfect for me, a great hobby.
—Guest Hansome

salvage title not done...

I just bought a car off craigslist said had a salvage title, well me being a female didn't realize that it hadn't been done to rebuilt title, now I'm sitting on a $1500 I can't plate. They said it was repaired which it was but indiana says I need proof of parts they fixed it sold I have no proof what can I do to get a rebuilt? It runs great and I have 2 kids I took tax money and feel I got scammed :(
—Guest indiana help!

My experiences w/ repairing salvage cars

I've purchased seven vehicles with salvage titles and repaired them for my personal use. (I'm not a mechanic) My strategy was to purchase a newer vehicle that was salvage, repair it and then own the vehicle without having a monthly car payment. The key is having a sharp estimate of repairs and parts prior to purchase. My advice for anyone wanting to purchase a salvage vehicle is to 1st get pictures of the vehicle that you are contemplating buying and take them to your body shop mechanic. 2nd, have the mechanic visually inspect the vehicle (AND PAY HIM FOR HIS TIME). 3RD, locate as many body parts that you can from salvage yards, i.e., bumpers, headlights, taillights, glass, doors, etc. The more that you can buy from a salvage yard, the more you save. I've never worried about the "value" of the re-sale because I was going to dirve this vehicle for my personal use. I live in Virginia, and after repairs a DMV rep comes out for inspection. If I can do it, anyone reading this post can.

salvage title never recorded? why?

I have a 1991 Toyota SR5 pickup. That I planned on keeping, and still have. Approx 3 years ago, I hit a large piece of asphalt on the highway. I called my ins. And they said take it in. I took it to Toyota and for $100.00 they would inspect it. When I dropped it off, as he's filling out paperwork, he said they are going to total it. The truck was near mint. Drove beautifully and I like it....I said you haven't even seen it! He said cars 5 yrs. Old come in with a damaged door and are totaled.. I was Wtf! I left the truck and 2 days later met the adjuster at the dealer. Clipboard in hand, he wrote. He never physically touched it. He glanced about for 5 minutes as he wrote. All was done,& he said they would contact me. I drove it off the lot, with dealer inspection list in hand. 2 days later the ins. Co. called, the offer was $1300.00. When I was done a WK. Later I had $4500 after my deductible. I did the b.s. brake and light inspection, and went to DMV. I have never stopped driving it.
—Guest yota


They're selling me a dodge caliber for 5500 with 140k and its salvage. It was crashed in the front. Its fixed now but I'm iffy about it. Advice pleasee.
—Guest natasha

Salvage Cars

I purchased my first car BMW from the Copart auto auctions with the salvage title. My experience with the salvage car is good till date I have not faced any problem. But I would say that there are various factors which should be kept in mind before buying a salvage car.Initially check for all the details about the car like the body parts, functioning, test drive and the history of the car. After doing the through inspection if you are satisfied then go for the salvage car. You can buy your favorite car at low price at salvage auto auctions.

Better to keep looking

True, a salvage vehicle doesn't necessarily mean it is a bad vehicle. But it does mean "something" happened in its past. Taking a salvage car to an actual mechanic can help, but bad mechanics are just as commonplace as bad cars. I have owned many "auction cars" with clean titles that were great cheap vehicles; coming from Indiana, an auctioned abandoned vehicle does not warrant a salvage title. I typically know what to look for, and just as typically can wind up with a good older vehicle. The one car I owned which was actually salvaged was a Chevy Beretta. The seller bought, fixed, and sold L-body Chevys: red flag #1. When pressed, I was told the car had only minor damage. In reality, as I later discovered, it had been totaled and escaped having a branded title somehow. It was clean, pretty, and low mileage. Really it was a horrible money pit lemon that should have never been fixed. Best bet: If you know or think a car is salvage-titled, walk away. Its too much a crap shoot
—Guest salvagenono




Most salvage auction sites have inspectors who will give the vehicle a once over for a fee. They are usually listed on the sites information page. Another good service is a site called salvageresearch.com They check the history of the vehicle prior to the auction and will tell you if a vehicle has been tampered with to make it look better in the photos. They also show a weekly series of vehicles placed at auction that have been tampered with.
—Guest wileyone

Oklahoma Salvage Title

No inspection for a car coming out of salvage to rebuilt if car is older than 10 years. That's fine. But all car's that came out with air bags should have to be air bag system inspection. The rebuild. After 10 yrs. does not have to work because no inspection needed. With that said. People are rebuilding, with no inspection, no disclosure and the buyer is thinking the car has workable air bags. Used car dealers with a body shop behind there house are looking to buy the 10yr or older cars so that they get around the inspection. The reason they go to salvage with light damage is that to make air bag system work again is cost prohibited. Without this they get retail used car price. Buyer has a wreck with embankment @ 45mph driver air bag does not deploy cause that was the only one set off that sent it to salvage. Buyer is now in Hospital with bottom jaw broke in 3 places, broken rib. Buyer is my sister. Thanks Mr. Dealer/ Back yard body shop man. Car sold for $4200. Really? INSPECT AIR BAG
—Guest Troy


i have been building and selling salvage car over 30 yrs. all of my family, friends, and customers drive them, and have NO problems. i watch what we buy. no cowl or flood damage. we stand behind and will trade back in. if you wreck your prior salvage car and the insurance co. treats you unfairly spend a little money and get a lawyer, because if the insurance co. wont pay your claim after you paid your premium then they should not be selling salvage back to people. but be careful, there are people out there that should not be building cars. i have been in business for over 34 yrs and going strong. i love the cars we build and would not be afraid to drive any of them across the county and back. when we sell a car it looks like new and drives like new because it is like new. why else would our customers keep coming back for more cars.
—Guest terry


You speak of somthing you must not know much about. Lets start with , yes Salvage means its been wrecked. i buy and sell savage, so first ill start with salvage does not automatilly mean the car is frame damaged, flood, or beyond repair. there are several things people need to know. People every day wreck cars and i see them all the time, they look like they cannot be repaired but allstate, farmers, ect send the adjuster out, then send car to those big name repair shops fix the car and your back on the road. NOW..i have bought cars that needed a bumper and grill, it was titled salvage, i had cars that just needed a door, it was titled salvage, cars that needed hood, headlight fender, again titled salvage, and were talking cars that are 6 moths to around 5 yrs old. SO with that i have seen numerus cars with major damage, wind shield, all the front end, side , that get repaired and owner goes right back to driving them , they dont get titl
—Guest idance1


These kinds of generalized statements and advice distress me. I hit a deer with my 99 LHS (73K miles) and the insurance co. totaled it--a mechanically excellent auto! Typical of the US capitalist system of thoughtlessly ignoring common sense, they encouraged me to send it to the salvage yard which seemed like a gross waste--and only profits the junk yards (another link in this whole capitalist system). With less than $2200 of parts and exterior paint and repairs, the car is back to perfect shape. Now that I want to sell it--I get a "poor" rating from Kelly and this kind of advice that will doom me to selling it for far less that the car is really worth, given its "real" value. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the car, but the industry has made it a pariah!
—Guest tashnsoph

Green Title Don't Mean it's Good, Either

I bought my 1997 Toyota Avalon for $600 in January. the CARFAX showed it was in four accidents but the title is gree (not salvage). I bought it (was desperate for wheels) and when I got it home I saw that none of the damage was repaird properly. the front right corner is smashed in so that nothing bolts up properly, but you can't really tell just by looking on the outside. Some other things: missing front bumper (the actual metal rod, not the plastic cover you see), the rear bumper is dented and not exactly attached (again, the actual metal, not the cover), wrinkled hood, dented roof. By my estimates, this thing *should* have been a salvage. Still, 245,000 miles and it still drives and stops for $600 and I've only had to replace the rear brakes. Not bad.
—Guest Maxillius

Savages RAV4

Five years ago I bought this RAV4 2005, which had solvage title for my wife. I paid 8000.00 $. at that it was worth 21000. I had no idea what solvage was, and no inspection was done , it had 40000 miles. It is the best car I have ever bought.Had no problems with it, and other for oil changes it was not in any shop for any reason. I intend to keep it for ever. I will look for more of the same.
—Guest Bro

Share Your Experiences

Can a Salvage Title Be a Good Thing on a Used Car?

Receive a one-time notification when your response is published.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.