Buyer Tips

Buyer Tips: How to Buy a Salvage Car in Long Beach

By Daisy Emah-Emah Posted: 11/14/2023

When purchasing a used car, the term “salvage” often raises eyebrows and elicits caution. However, for the savvy buyer, purchasing a salvage car in Long Beach can be a financially sound decision. 

In this blog post, we’ll delve into understanding what salvage cars are, unravel the mysteries behind salvage titles, and provide essential tips for those considering this unique avenue of vehicle acquisition. Additionally, we’ll guide you on how to navigate auto auctions to score the best deals.

Understanding Salvage Cars

A salvage car is one that has been damaged to the extent that repairing it is deemed uneconomical by the insurance company. These vehicles are then deemed salvaged and issued a salvage title. Common reasons for a salvage title include accidents, floods, theft recoveries, or other substantial damages.

A salvage title is a designation given to a vehicle that has been deemed a total loss by an insurance company. This title serves as a warning to potential buyers that the vehicle has undergone significant damage. 

However, it’s essential to note that not all salvage titles are created equal. Some states have strict guidelines for titling salvage cars, and some may have more lenient criteria. Before diving into the salvage car market, familiarize yourself with your state’s regulations regarding salvage titles.

Types of Vehicles in Long Beach Salvage Auctions

Long Beach salvage auctions boast a diverse array of vehicles, reflecting the eclectic automotive tastes of Southern California. From sleek sports cars to rugged off-road vehicles, you’ll find a wide variety of makes and models. Given the coastal lifestyle, convertible cars and motorcycles are often popular at these auctions, making them a frequent sight on the bidding block.

Several auction houses in and around Long Beach regularly feature salvage cars for bidding. Among them, Copart and IAAI (Insurance Auto Auctions) stand out as two major players in the salvage car auction scene. Copart, with multiple locations in the area, offers a wide selection of salvage vehicles, while IAAI often hosts auctions featuring insurance claim cars and more.

Tips for Buying a Salvage Car in Long Beach

1. Research Extensively

Before even considering a salvage car, conduct thorough research on the make and model that interests you. Check for common issues, parts availability, and repair costs. This knowledge will help you make an informed decision.

2. Inspection is Key

Inspecting a salvage car is crucial. If you lack the expertise, consider hiring a professional mechanic to thoroughly assess the extent of the damage and estimate repair costs. This step is also essential for avoiding unpleasant surprises down the road.

3. Understand the Repair Process

Knowing what it takes to repair the specific damages your salvage car has incurred is crucial. Research the availability and cost of replacement parts, and consider whether you have the skills or resources to undertake the repairs yourself.

4. Check State Regulations

Different states have varying regulations regarding salvage titles. Therefore, familiarize yourself with Long Beach and California’s specific requirements to ensure a smooth titling and registration process.

Trucking Costs and Export Considerations

Once you’ve successfully bid on a salvage car, the next step is getting it to your location. Long Beach is conveniently situated near major transportation hubs, making trucking a viable and cost-effective option. The average trucking cost to most locations in the United States is between $0.50 and $1.00 per mile. Trucking cost varies depending on the distance, but it’s crucial to obtain quotes from reliable transport companies. 

For those looking to export their salvage vehicle, Long Beach is located near the Port of Long Beach, one of the busiest ports in the United States. The cost of exporting a salvage car will vary based on the country. Research the specific requirements for exporting salvaged vehicles to your desired destination, ensuring compliance with local regulations and documentation.

You will need to obtain the following documents: Export title, Bill of lading, Commercial invoice, and Insurance policy. Auto Auction Mall can help you get all the necessary documentation if you buy through us. 

Exporting Salvage Cars – A Step-by-Step Guide

– Verify Title and Ownership: Ensure that you have a clear understanding of the salvage car’s title status and ownership documentation.

– Obtain Necessary Documentation: Gather all required paperwork for export, including the vehicle title, bill of sale, and any additional documents mandated by the destination country.

– Research Import Regulations: Familiarize yourself with the import regulations of the destination country, paying attention to emission standards, safety requirements, and any applicable taxes or duties.

– Hire a Freight Forwarder: Engage a reputable freight forwarder with experience in shipping salvage vehicles. They will handle logistics, documentation, and customs clearance.

– Choose a Shipping Method: Decide on a shipping method based on your budget and time constraints. Options include container shipping, roll-on/roll-off (RoRo), and air freight.

Purchasing Salvage Vehicles from Auto Auction Mall

Auto Auction Mall is an online auction platform that simplifies salvage car buying. With a user-friendly interface, extensive vehicle listings, and auction information, we provide a convenient avenue for you to explore and bid on salvage cars in Long Beach. Take advantage of our resources and expertise to make informed purchasing decisions.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to navigate the process through Auto Auction Mall:

1. Create an Account

Start by creating an account on the Auto Auction Mall website. This has to do with giving basic information and may require a deposit.

2. Browse Listings

Explore the listings to find salvage cars that match your needs. Also, detailed information about each vehicle’s condition and history is usually provided.

3. Set a Budget

Determine your budget, factoring in potential repair costs. Remember that you’re not just bidding on the car itself but also on the necessary repairs.

4. Attend Virtual Auctions

Participate in the auctions which are mostly online rather than in person. Pay close attention to bidding increments and be prepared to act quickly.

5. Winning the Auction

If you win the auction, follow the platform’s instructions for payment and vehicle pickup. Be sure to factor in transportation costs if you’re not picking up the car yourself.


Buying a salvage car in Long Beach can be rewarding for those who do their due diligence. With careful research, inspections, and an understanding of the salvage title process, you can navigate the salvage car market successfully. 

Making use of reputable platforms like Auto Auction Mall adds another layer of convenience, providing access to a wide range of salvage vehicles. Approach the process with caution and expertise, and you may find a hidden gem that fits both your needs and your budget.

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