Salvage Car Auctions NJ
What is Salvage title? Buyer Tips

What are the Pros and Cons of Salvage Title Cars? What Is a Rebuilt Title Car and Should I Buy One?

By Femi Amisu Updated: 12/23/2022 Posted: 01/17/2019

There are multiple reasons why people buy used cars from US auctions. One of them is because of salvage title cars. Salvage vehicles are cars with varying degrees of damage as a result of use, accident, weather, etc. The damage might just be slight and just a bumper dent, mechanical including engine damage, or accidental which literally makes such a vehicle useful for parts. It’s important to know the pros and cons of salvage title cars if you want one.


The cheap cost of salvage cars attracts a lot of dealers and rightly so because it allows them to maximize their profits after purchasing them for way less and repairing and restoring them for not much.

However, before you venture into buying salvage cars, it is important to understand fully what you’re getting into. Fully understanding the pros and cons of salvage title cars will impact your purchase. What appears to be a minor front bumper dent might extend farther than you think.


Salvage Car For Sale


What Exactly is a Salvage Title Car?

  1. The salvage title is a vehicle branding title that depicts a car damaged or considered a total loss by the insurance company that paid a claim on it.
  2. A vehicle is also considered salvaged when the insurer ascertains that the repair cost for the said vehicle is excess compared to its market value.
  3. The salvage title is also issued to vehicles with problems that are easy to resolve, or sometimes cars without very minor damage, if at all. These “not so damaged salvage titled cars” come at a really low cost, which is why car collectors and dealers invest in them. Nevertheless, experts have recommended that buyers be cautious when purchasing salvage vehicles to avoid buying cars with hidden, unrepairable damages.  Depending on applicable salvage title laws and regulations, the exact percentage of value determines whether the vehicle will be totaled.


Further Reading

  1. Buying the Best Used Honda Car for Sale 
  2. How to Choose the Right Used Hyundai for Sale 
  3. Used Ford Car for Sale: How to Choose the Right One 
  4. Everything You Need to Know about Buying Used Cars 

What are the Pros and Cons of a Salvage Title Car or Vehicle?

Pros of Buying Salvage Title Cars

  • There Are Salvage Title Cars in Great Condition: As earlier stated, a vehicle that has been deemed a total loss by an insurance company could have been titled salvage because of a minor cosmetic issue. This means that the vehicle is indeed in good condition. It will just need a little bit of work to fix it completely.
  • Most Affordable: One good thing and one of the major reasons why salvage cars are bought, is the price which is always right. Salvage title cars go for as low as 20-30% less than used clean title cars. Buying salvage will save you a lot more money. If you’re going to put it on a secured credit card, ensure you do everything to have a good credit score and a clean personal credit report first, including checking to ensure you have not been a victim of credit card fraud. Furthermore, if using student credit cards, be sure to make your payments so you don’t run up credit card debt.
  • Spare Parts: On the other hand, salvage title cars are great for collectors and hobbyists. So even if the vehicle isn’t in great condition, you can disassemble the car. Then make even more money from selling the parts.

Cons of Buying a Salvage or Rebuilt Title Car: Credit, Loan, and Insurance Issues

Yes, buying a salvage title vehicle might save you a ton. But there are some not-so-great sides to it as well.

  1. Insurance Issues

    Getting an insurance company for salvage title cars is challenging. Especially one that’s willing to pay for collision and complete coverage. Insurers find it hard to take on salvage cars. It becomes difficult to tell if the damage was recent or from previous incidents. 

    Insurance companies are wary of providing full coverage insurance without a hefty price tag on salvage vehicles, even if they’re repaired and given a rebuilt title.

    If you choose to go with basic liability insurance, your vehicle is not covered if you are at fault in a crash or a no-fault crash.

  2. Expensive Repairs

    For some salvage title vehicles, fixing of a little scratch would cost next to nothing. Unfortunately, some others will demand a high cost for fixing, like flood damage or others with extensive damage. There could also be some underlying damage that wasn’t properly fixed. That would probably rear its head few months after your purchase. In the end, fixing such cars would cost you more than you spent buying the car in the first place. Not worth the hit to your cards credit card.

  3. Future Issues

Getting a rebuilt title doesn’t mean the vehicle has returned to normal even if you or your rebuilder have repaired the vehicle. You may be left with repair bills down the road if problems like suspension wear, internal engine damage, or electronic and sensor faults take months or years to manifest. 

4. Getting the Vehicle Rebuilt Doesn’t Change The Title

If you’re hoping to resell the vehicle and invest a lot of money in rebuilding it, please know that it won’t change the title. Even if you ensure that it’s rebuilt to factory quality, the value will remain lower. Then you’d have spent too much money fixing a vehicle that won’t make half the value from being sold. 

The salvage title will remain on the vehicle’s title and vehicle history report until it is rebranded as rebuilt. Even then, the rebuilt branding remains forever, lowering its resale value.

Moreover, some buyers refuse to buy a salvaged or rebuilt car because of the uncertainty involved. This further reduces your potential buyer pool, driving the car’s value down.


Note: Before Buying salvage vehicles, experts recommend running a vehicle history report. A vehicle history report has elaborate information on the vehicle and should be an important tool before making your purchase.