Used car buying: what's a "salvage", and should I ever consider one?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jonathan Burk, Aug 7, 2002.

  1. Jonathan Burk

    Jonathan Burk Second Unit

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    In car shopping, I frequently see "salvage" vehicles for thousands below a non-salvage. What does this mean, exactly, and should I ever consider one?
     
  2. Alf S

    Alf S Cinematographer
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    Doesn'y it usually mean the car was in a huge wreck and non-repairable, or maybe they were fixed but have to be tagged salvage because the insurance company wrote them off as salvage?

    I would avoid them.

    Alfer
     
  3. Kevin Potts

    Kevin Potts Second Unit

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    More than likely they are cars that have been wrecked and considered "totaled" by the owners insurance company. Many people buy them this way and then fix them up on their own. Eventually they end up with a nice car that didn't cost them anywhere near what the value of the car is.
     
  4. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    But often you can't get collision insurance on a "salvage" titled car. And the term "salvage" should appear on the certificate of title so you can't try to get around the status.
     
  5. Bill_Weinreich

    Bill_Weinreich Second Unit

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    A salvage title is of a vehicle that has usually been totalled and reconstructed. Depending on what the original damage was will say if it is worth it or not. Usually finding out what was wrong with it and who fixed it and how is hard info to come up with. Unless you have a good eye for mechanical and body repairs, and know what your getting in to, I'd steer clear.

    Bill
     
  6. Walt N

    Walt N Second Unit

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    One of the "60 Minutes" type shows did an expose on salvage title cars a few years ago and the hazards they can present. People have been killed by salvage restorations sold on dealer lots due to improper frame/chassis repairs which led to catastrophic failure at highway speeds. Even a thorough inspection will not always root out hairline cracks and metal fatigue which can occur either during the accident itself, or during the frame straightening processes.

    Many years ago I owned a Fiat which had been restored from an accident. For several months I had no problems at all and then one day my right front suspension A-arm cracked in half and the right front wheel folded up sideways into the fender. Thankfully I was only going about 35 MPH at the time so I was OK, but I hate to imagine what could have happened if this had occured on a high speed curve.

    I would not consider a salvage vehicle.
     
  7. Steve Peterson

    Steve Peterson Stunt Coordinator

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    Here's the problem with salvage vehicles: An insurance company declared the car a total because it would cost them more than the car was worth to repair it correctly. Most of these salvage repair guys take BIG shortcuts that leave the car with fundamental weaknesses in the unibody and/or safety cage in the car in order to produce a "new" car that they can sell for a profit. Most salvage title cars are death traps. I would avoid them at all costs.
    Steve "Not worth the risk." Peterson
     
  8. Brett_H

    Brett_H Second Unit

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    Jonathan,
    This was recently discussed here.
    -Brett.
     
  9. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    The husband of a very good friend of mine has purchased a few salvaged vehicles at auctions and performed the repairs himself. However, he does not do this for resale, but instead for their own family's use. Since he does all the restoration work himself, he knows the quality of the work performed. His savings comes from the labor charges, which is a big part of any auto repair/restoration.

    Of course, you must have the time, tools, knowledge and talent to do such work. They ended up with a very nice Infiniti, Sable and Explorer this way.
     

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