What is Salvage title?

Common Repairs You May Need if You Buy at a Salvage Dealer Auction

By Mike Richards Updated: 05/22/2019 Posted: 05/22/2017

As you’ve probably heard, salvage dealer auctions can present bidders with extremely affordable vehicles. At the same time, the reason they’re there is because they need repairs. Here are some common examples of what to expect.

Understanding the Rules

If you buy a vehicle at a salvage dealer auction, certain rules apply. You need to follow them or you’re going to find yourself in trouble with the government.

The FTC’s used car rules are a good place to start. However, the main takeaway you should know about a salvage dealer auction is that you can’t legally drive the vehicle you buy until you’ve taken care of the required repairs.

This is nonnegotiable. You need to have the vehicle you buy at a salvage dealer auction towed to your home or to a mechanic before you can get behind the wheel yourself.

Amongst other things, you must factor this into your costs when bidding. Furthermore, you should speak to your insurance company beforehand. Tell them what your plans are and make sure they’re onboard. They might not be, which means you’ll have to find insurance elsewhere.

Body Work

By far, the most common problem you’re going to find with a vehicle at a salvage dealer auction is that it’s taken some damage to its body. This could be for any number of reasons, but it’s usually going to be fairly serious. For it to be up at an auction, the damage has to be bad enough that the insurance company didn’t want to pay for it.

Engine Problems

Keep in mind that a vehicle at a salvage dealer auction could have numerous problems. Another very common one is issues with the engine. This is understandable. In a really bad accident, the body may take some serious damage, but the problem could also impact the engine.

Unfortunately, it’s tough to gauge how extensive engine damage is. It could definitely be so bad that you need the whole thing replaced, which will be very expensive.

On the other hand, the major issue may be the need for bodywork and the engine problems are not nearly as expensive (though bad enough that the vehicle may not start).

A Broken Drivetrain

Without a drivetrain, a vehicle is essentially useless, even if it has a great engine. That’s because there’s no way to transfer the engine’s power to the wheels. The steering will also be unreliable.

As with the engine, this can be a very serious, very expensive repair. It all depends on how bad the damage was. Nonetheless, any repairs needed for the drivetrain on a salvage car are going to be costly.

None of this should scare you away from salvage auctions, though. There can be all kinds of reasons vehicles end up with this designation.

That being said, if you want help making the most of these opportunities, that’s exactly what we do at auto auction mall. Our experienced agents know what to look for at these auctions and we can examine them all over the country, giving you access to more than 200,000 of them.