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How to Find the Perfect Salvage Car to Restore?

By Mike Richards Updated: 07/30/2018 Posted: 10/21/2015

Salvage cars represent fantastic opportunities when it comes to saving money on used cars. Whether you’re planning on buying a salvage car to rebuild it and then resell it or whether you just want to put it back on the road as your own vehicle, the cost savings of buying and then doing the repairs yourself is an attractive option for many.

The best place to find salvage cars is through a car auction that’s open to the public, but you’ve got to be physically present at one of these auctions – and that’s not always possible if you have time constraints. Plus, the actual ordeal of attending a car auction in person can be mentally, and emotionally draining to the point of it simply not being worth it to your health to attend.

Thankfully, you can have access to many car auctions online, without having to leave your home.

The World of Online Car Auctions

While auctions that deal primarily in used cars aren’t nearly as difficult to get into as private dealer-only auctions, there are some things that you’ll typically have to do before you can gain access to a used car auction site that’s “open to the public”.

You’re typically going to have to provide a registration fee and a refundable deposit. These costs – and the costs of actually paying for any salvage vehicles you win at auction – are usually payable by many different methods that routinely include credit card or wire transfer. Once you register, you’ll be given a bidder number that you’ll use to bid on and buy vehicles through the website.

Getting Your Salvage Car to the Garage

Any vehicle that’s been declared as salvage is completely undrivable in every state of the United States. This means that you’ll need to get your newly-won salvage car to your garage or driveway by having it transported there by either a flatbed or a covered trailer.

Thankfully, the majority of online used car auctions offer such services, so make sure you budget accordingly. As salvage cars are usually up for purchase for low prices thanks to the fact that they’re non-operational, you’ll still be making savings even if you pay for transport service.

Each State is Different – Do Your Research

Once you have your salvage vehicle in your possession, you’ll need to begin restoring it before you can get it back on the road legally. You’ll also have to comply with the laws for salvaged and reconstructed vehicles for your state – and these laws can vary widely from one state to another.

Make sure you do your due diligence and keep any and all paperwork you receive from your online auction purchase in a safe place, as you may very well be required to present them at a state-mandated inspection before you can register and insure your vehicle once again.

Additionally, if you are rebuilding your salvage car in order to resell it to a third party, do your best to inform any prospective buyers that the car has been rebuilt in order to get it back on the road.

Your prospective buyer should find out from you that the car is a former salvage vehicle instead of finding out by running a VIN report at a site like Carfax, or even worse, when money has already changed hands and they see that their new car’s title has a very prominent “rebuilt salvage” stamp on it.

It is better to just be honest and tell a prospective buyer right up-front and to provide them all the paperwork from the online car auction that you bought the salvage vehicle from in the first place as well.

Of course, if you’re keeping the salvage car for your own needs you won’t have to worry about that. You’ll still need the right paperwork to get it registered and insured, so don’t throw anything out.

Explore our Vehicle Auctions, as well as finding more information about How These Auctions Work.

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