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Why Can Buying a Salvage Car at Auction Be a Good Deal?

By Mike Richards Updated: 08/06/2017 Posted: 10/22/2015

Salvage cars can cover a full range from old, low-value vehicles that have simply been in minor to moderate accidents that ended up totaling them, former taxi cabs or police cruisers that have seen better days, or even cars that are former shells of themselves after being nearly demolished in a major traffic collision.

Whatever the reason a car has been declared salvage, though, there’s one constant – insurance companies and car dealerships with salvage cars on their hands want to get rid of them, and they’re willing to part with them for low prices.

Your Best Bet

This is where car auctions come in. There are salvage auctions or used car auctions in nearly every state of the United States. providing opportunities for individuals or companies to bid on and buy salvage cars at a fraction of the price they would be worth if they were still in better shape.

This makes it incredibly cost-effective to buy a salvage car to restore – or even one to provide parts for the restoration of another vehicle you’re working on. While it’s true that most salvage cars have been written off by insurers because it would cost more to fix them in parts and labor than it would to just pay the former owner the full value of the car, they’re still a great deal if you’re going to be doing the repairs yourself and you can absorb or avoid the cost of labor.

If you’re already starting with a vehicle you got at auction for a song, you’re just that much farther ahead of the curve when you start working on it.

Online Auctions – Even Better

If you are considering a trip to your local used car auction sometime soon for a salvage vehicle, you might want to consider the alternative as well – an online auction. Online auctions are usually much more convenient for salvage car buyers, as you don’t have to physically be in attendance at an auction to still bid on and purchase a particular car.

It’s also easier to research a potential purchase when it comes to an online auction as well. While many public car auctions will publicize a list of vehicles scheduled to be up on the block at any given event either in print or online, the information these publications have might not be all that exhaustive.

Online auction sites, on the other hand, usually offer much more information on individual cars up for auction. This includes details such as Vehicle Identification Numbers, and this makes it easy for you to run a VIN through a search database to see exactly what kind of damage it had that turned it into a salvage vehicle. This way, you can determine beforehand how much work the car might need to be refurbished so that it can be driven legally once more – and how much you can expect to pay in parts to get it back up and running.

Getting Your Salvage Car Home

Since salvage cars are illegal to drive, you’re going to have to find a way to get your vehicle home. You don’t have to show up with a flatbed, though. Most auctions can arrange for transport services at an additional cost.

However, with salvage vehicles so affordable in the first place, the added cost of getting your salvage car brought to your garage is unlikely to be much of a problem. Just remember to keep every single scrap of paperwork you have from the car auction process, as many states ask for bills of sale and other documents when it comes time to inspect a refurbished salvage vehicle.

Find information on Rebuilt Title Laws for Each US State. Explore our Vehicle Auctions, as well as finding more information about How These Auctions Work.

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