On salvaging titles and new used cars

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Matt Stryker, Jul 1, 2002.

  1. Matt Stryker

    Matt Stryker Screenwriter

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    It all began as I turned into work today; a Jeep did a nice little remodeling job on the rear end of my wife's 1988 Jetta. Now I'm faced with many choices, and I was hoping someone here could shed a little light on my options/give ideas.

    I was not at fault, and the car is driveable. The damage involves a bent trunk, a big dent in the rear end, a partially detached bumper (it is a seperate rubber strip, not molded to the rear end) and some slight bending of the rear quarter panels. The adjuster told me they would probably offer me $2500 to total it; Kelly's Blue Book is showing the retail value of the car at $2810.

    I have done bodywork repairs in the past, and I've considered salvaging the title. In GA, you turn in the tags and existing title to the car, and then you "restore" it (no one has been able to tell me exactly what that term means). It is then inspected and a new tag and title are issued. My cost would only be the salvage value (probably around $400 or less) and whatever materials I needed to repair it (a few brackets and a new taillight lens). Has anyone done this? If they want the rear end looking brand-spanking new, that is beyond my abilities (and it probably isn't worth it in terms of money and time spent). BUt punching out the dents and getting the trunk to open/shut and the taillights to work is probably a Saturdays worth of work, max.

    I know this may seem trivial given the amounts, but the car was a steal at $1850 1 year ago. 80K miles, and the passenger and back seats had never been sat on. It has no mechanical problems whatsoever, and my plan was always to drive it into the ground (probably around 160K from what I've heard from other owners) and get something newer.

    Any thoughts? Anyone have any used (japanese only please) car experiences with models between 1992-1998? I may be looking sooner than I thought.
     
  2. Brett_H

    Brett_H Second Unit

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    Matt,
    I bought a '90 Jetta GLI from a wrecking yard an restored it. It had a salvage title and while I'm guessing the procedure varies from state to state, this was my experience (in OH):
    Brought the car home, it was hit moderately hard in the front (probably rear-ended someone). I previously had an '88 GTI and was intending to use parts from the Jetta to repair my GTI. I ended up using the front end of the GTI on the Jetta. I then made an appt to take it to a state highway patrol station for inspection. After I had made the necessary repairs, I went to the local DMV and got a certificate that allowed me to drive it to and from the inspection point on the day of the inspection.
    They gave it a once over, making sure all the indicators worked, the headlights, seat belts, and the like. They made me start it, but I don't think there was an actual road test to speak of. You pay the fee and they hand you a form that allows you to have the car registered. After that, you head back to the DMV and get your tags. Not too hard at all, really.
    BTW, if you're at all interested, I sort of documented my progress here. I'm quite the VW nut so if you've got any questions regarding that car or need sources for OEM parts cheap, let me know! (brett_haney {at} yahoo.com)
    -Brett.
     
  3. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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  4. Matt Stryker

    Matt Stryker Screenwriter

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  5. Brad_V

    Brad_V Second Unit

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    Salvaging sounds like a plan. You'll get a nice check from the insurance company anyway, and then you'd just have to buy the car from them for a small amount. You planned on driving it into the ground, so that would work because you'll never get a decent selling price with a salvage title unless the person is dumb. Er, I mean "inexperience in the ways of cars."

    There's plenty of good Japanese cars from the early-mid '90s. Just depends what you want.
     

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