You’ve decided that you want to try your hand at buying and restoring a salvage car. You’ve got to get your hands on a salvage vehicle before you can actually get to work on the restoration process, and that means buying one.
Getting Used Cars at Auction
The best source of salvage cars has always been a used car auction. These events provide ample opportunity to choose from a wide number of cars that have been designated as “salvage”.
Salvage cars are often available at rock-bottom prices, partially because they’re illegal to drive until they’ve been repaired and re-certified by a state official, but also because of how cars become salvage vehicles. These cars are bought off the hands of their owners in the event that the damage done to the car was enough to “total” the vehicle in the opinion of its insurer.
The insurance company then buys the car off the original owner before turning it around in an attempt to recover as much money as they can as quickly as possible. This makes for motivated sellers at auction parting with vehicles for a low price.
Of course, you need to know that salvage cars are going to require some work to get back up and running again. It’s true that these vehicles are available for pennies on the dollar, but you have to keep in mind that you’ll also be spending money to repair the car to working order in addition to what you spend on purchasing it outright.
Online Versus In-Person
However, not every used car auction is created equal. There are two types of auctions – the kind that is conducted in person, and those that are conducted over the Internet – and each one has benefits and drawbacks.
In-person auctions allow you to physically examine the car up for auction before you put the money down, something impossible to do online. However, at the same time, you often have severe time constraints facing you if you’re budding on-site at a venue, which means you have few to none when it comes to opportunities to research the car through a vehicle history report.
Most online car auctions will include information such as the Vehicle Identification Number on the online listing, giving you some time to run a report if you want to. This can shed some serious light on a particular car’s issues. If you discover that the vehicle you’re looking at was damaged in a serious flood you can still bid on it if you want, but at least you’ll know going into the entire process that the car itself could have serious electrical damage.
Additionally, the experience of bidding online is much more laid-back and relaxed. An in-person auction can be confusing, overwhelming, or even downright terrifying, which is why bidding in an online environment is such a pleasant alternative for people who don’t want to deal with the barely-constrained chaos of a live auction.
The Last Word
If you’re proficient at repairing cars, getting a salvage vehicle and putting it back together yourself can be rewarding and a great way to save money on the cost of a used vehicle.
However, if you’re new to the auction process or you can’t handle the insanity of a live auction, you can’t do better than getting your next salvage car at an online auction. It’s worth the peace of mind if the idea of going down to an auction venue in person is too stressful for you or if you’re simply too far from the auction’s physical location. All things being equal, an online car auction is a fine place to buy a salvage car.