If you have been looking for a car on a budget, you may have come across several vehicles that have been labeled with a “salvage title.” Typically, when you think about a salvage car, your first thought may be a wrecked, undrivable car that is languishing in a junkyard. However, not all salvage cars are like that. In fact, there are many salvage cars that can be made road safe with some simple repairs.
Before we start learning how to bid on salvage cars online, let’s take a look at what a salvage title is and whether it is worth your while to buy salvage cars online.
What is a Salvage Title?
A salvage title is given to a car that has had a lot of damage so much so that it has been deemed as a total loss by an insurance company. In order to recover the cost, the insurance company will take ownership of the car and sell it to salvage car auctions or auto repair workshops where the car is rebuilt. These cars are given a salvage title that indicates to the buyer that the vehicle was extensively damaged previously.
The laws on salvage vehicles vary based on different states, so it is important that you gain full knowledge of these before you buy a salvage car. Some salvage cars may have been titled so because of the following circumstances:
- The vehicle sustained a lot of damage during an accident.
- The vehicle suffered from fire damage
- The vehicle suffered from extensive water damage
- The vehicle was stolen and parts of it were removed or significantly damaged.
- The vehicle was used as a police squad car or a heavy-duty cab and is being rebuilt for resale.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Salvage Car Online
The worst mistake you can make when buying a salvage car is not doing your research properly.
Checking the Repair Work: The first thing you need to do is to ask the car’s insurance company to give you an estimate of all the repairs done on the car. This will give you an idea of how extensive the damage to the car was and give you more leverage to negotiate.
Researching Lemon Laws: Lemon laws are regulations that protect a customer from buying a vehicle that has seen irreparable damage or does not meet the quality and safety standards required for it to be operated on the road. If a car is a lemon, it is refurbished and sold to auto manufacturers, which in turn sell them off to car dealerships or online car auctions.
Auto Financing: Banks or other traditional lenders are usually not willing to provide auto financing loans for cars that are more than five years old, let alone a car that has been labeled as salvage. That is why, if you want to buy a salvage car, you may need to do so with your own cash. However, some online car auctions also provide buyers with financing options that have better interest rates and a longer repayment date.
Finding the Cost of Repairs: Almost all salvage cars that you consider will require some repair if you want them to be functional and road safe. That is why you should also factor in the cost of repairs when you are considering the budget for the salvage car. Also, find out if you can afford the regular maintenance of the car.
There are some car makes and models that cost a lot of money to repair or maintain. However, other brands have quite a low maintenance cost since they have high crashworthiness — i.e. they are very durable and reliable and built to last a long time. Such quality brands include Toyota and Honda.
Also, remember that some types of damage warrant more costly repairs than others. For example, a car that only has cosmetic damage may be fixed easily and affordably; however, a car that has a fault in its internal components may require a lot of money to fix – if it is fixable in the first place.
When Can a Salvage Car Give You Good Value For Money
Although you may have some misgivings when bidding on a salvage car, there are many cases when such a car can be a good investment.
Cosmetic Damage: If a car has been in a terrible accident that resulted in extensive damage to its inner workings, the car may not be reliable even after comprehensive repairs. However, in some cases, the cat may have only suffered from cosmetic or external damage.
This type of damage impacts the body of the car but leaves the internal components intact. These cars are often in relatively good conditions and can be fixed by a good mechanic. You can find such vehicles in online car auctions for a steal.
High Affordability: Getting a salvage title means the price of the car will drop down by 60% or even more. Hence, they can be bought off at a very good price from reliable online salvage car auctions. In fact, you can get them repaired even more cheaply by shipping them to a developing country where car repairs cost a lot less than that in the United States. With some good work, your car may look brand new.
Spare Parts: Not everyone who buys a salvage car is looking to drive it. Some DIY car hobbyists are just looking for an affordable source to get a lot of spare parts. They can then dismantle the car and use its parts to fix other parts. Alternatively, they can also sell off these components to interested buyers. By selling individual parts from a car, you can earn more money than what it cost you to buy a car.
Bidding on a Salvage Car of Your Choice at Online Car Auctions
RideSafely online car auctions offer a huge inventory of thousands of cars of all makes and models. These auctions are very organized and you can find a car of your choice easily by talking to their customer representatives.
Alternatively, you can also use the robust search feature and find the car that you want based on its make, model, and year of manufacture. Hence, finding a salvage car at an online auction is a breeze.
Once you have decided on a car, you can participate in the bidding process right from the comfort of your home.
If you are still unsure about the condition of the car, we also have a mechanic who can assess the car for you. You also have the option of bringing an independent, neutral mechanic of your own.
If you want to, you can also make a physical visit to the warehouse and take a look at the car you are interested in bidding on for your peace of mind.
If you can’t do any of the above, you can always request photos of the interior and exterior of the car from various angles from our online auction.
Is Buying a Salvage Car the Right Call?
If you can afford to do some repairs, getting a salvage car online may turn out to be a good investment. This is doubly true for a car that has seen only cosmetic damage. If you are a DIY car hobbyist, you may be able to fix the car yourself and save yourself the expense of getting your car repaired at an auto workshop.
However, it is very unlikely that you will be able to get full insurance for a salvage car. However, most insurance companies will let you avail the liability coverage, which is enough if you want to drive a car legally on the road.