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Thread: Salvage Title

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
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    Salvage Title

    I'm looking at buying a used 1997 Toyota T-100. It appears to be in great shape, and drives well. I got a Carfax report on it and discovered that it was given a salvage title in Kansas in 2002, when it had 65,000 miles on it. It now has 119,000 miles. I'm leery of the condition of the title, but think it might be mitigated by the fact that the present owner has had it for 5 years and put 54,000 miles on it without apparent difficulty. Do any Cyburbians have experience with salvage titled cars?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Brocktoon's avatar
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    Run away. Salvage means it was junked and then someone rebuilt it. The damage could be flood, fire, or an accident...you do not know and I would not waste the time.
    "If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less" General Eric Shinseki

  3. #3
    Cyburbian craines's avatar
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    I only know about salvage title stuff from my motorcycle racing days and would only purchase a salvage title street bike for parts. I would never go salvage for actual use.
    never

  4. #4
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Brocktoon View post
    Run away. Salvage means it was junked and then someone rebuilt it. The damage could be flood, fire, or an accident...you do not know and I would not waste the time.
    Unless you get a really great deal on it. Though, if the rebuild required a comprehensive rebuild or replacement of the motor, then you may get, effectively, a car with 54,000 miles and may need some mid aged repairs to the power plant.

    I would think if you get the car for half or less the 'normal' price of a car without such title, you should be ok. But certainly be very cautious.

    Actually, take it to a trusted mechanic and have it comprehensively evaluated. That should be done with any car over 100,000 miles.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    A vehicle is typically given a salvage title if the cost of repair exceeds the blue book value (or, usually, at least 75 percent of market value). This is decided by the insurance company. This does not necessarily mean that the car is mechanically unsound. Depending on the nature of the damage, the costs for repair could be largely cosmetic (smashed up in a hail storm, for example, for which the cost of replacing door, fender and roof panels exceeds the value of one's '87 Corolla...). We had this happen with a 1984 Volvo. We got rear-ended and thrown into the car in front and so it smashed up all the lights and bent the back bumper. The car wasn't worth much at that point and the cost of repairs was excessive, so we accepted the salvage title, took the money from the insurance and I did the repairs myself (save for the bent bumper). We even had a little extra cash to spare afterwards. The car only lasted two more years, but it was worth it.

    You should definitely beware, though, and find out why the title is salvage. a tweaked chassis or other structural problem might make it less of a deal...
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  6. #6
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    My Chevy that recently went to car heaven had met with an accident, but got a clean bill of health/safety from the mechanic and went on to serve me for 60K miles. Paid $1500 of it and put maybe $250 of work into it during the two years I owned it. Not a bad deal.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  7. #7
    While it might be possible to get a worthwhile vehicle with a salvage title, I personally would never be comfortable with it because I'd constantly be thinking about why it had a salvage title and whether it would leave me high-and-dry or worse.
    Je suis Charlie

  8. #8
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    After spending a couple years working with a bunch of drunk Hungarian (is there any other kid of Hungarian?) Grey Market auto auction dudes, I would wuggest running from the salvage title.

    Off-topic:
    I will however, sell you my 1999 Toyota. I'll even drive it out to you, provided I get a free place to stay on the coast and a ride down to the Rogue Brewery.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by zmanPLAN View post
    Off-topic:
    I will however, sell you my 1999 Toyota. I'll even drive it out to you, provided I get a free place to stay on the coast and a ride down to the Rogue Brewery.
    Is it a pick-up? If it is, maybe I'll come by and get it. I'll bring some Rogue output with me. And of course I would be willing to have you stay at le Maison d'Otis and would take you down to the Rogue brewery any time. I picture you sitting in our hot tub, sipping a Rogue Dead Guy ale, and thinking, "Why didn't I apply for that job in Otis's town when it was open?" Then having another Dead Guy ale and thinking, "Eh, who cares? I'm fine right now."

  10. #10
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    The guy probably has the bugs worked out, but be sure to adjust the book value to salvage when calculating your deal.
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Mendelman hs good advice. If the truk comes up clean from the mechanic, negotiate a good price. But don't expect any resale value (but at that mileage who cares)

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Captain Worley's avatar
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    I would be leery of a salvage title vehicle, but if you do want it, make sure you talk to your insurance people. Some insurers will NOT cover a salvage vehicle.

    Yours may, but that is something I'd definitely look into.
    Navy collier
    USS Cyclops

  13. #13
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    For more 4 ˝ years now I have been driving a 2000 Impala that had a salvaged title. I bought it from a company in WI that buys these cars and rebuilds them, has them inspected by the state, and they sign off on a clean bill of health. It had engine fire, so they put parts on it from a used car with the same miles, and I have added just short of 100,000 miles to that… and I have had fewer problems than many people I know who buy their cars from a dealership. I plan on driving that car into its grave… in about 10 years.

    Take the car for a test drive to a mechanic that you know and trust and have them do a full test on the car before you give them a nickel.
    "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. Time makes more converts than reason." - Thomas Paine Common Sense.

  14. #14
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Have a trusted mechanic give it a SERIOUS look over (including checking for frame damage) and contact insurance companies for quotes on salvage titles. Most cover it now because it has become relatively easy to "total" a vehicle due to high repair costs that have come with more advanced technology in cars.

    I would be a little concerned that the owner didn't share this with you up front.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  15. #15
    Cyburbian RandomPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    For more 4 ˝ years now I have been driving a 2000 Impala that had a salvaged title. I bought it from a company in WI that buys these cars and rebuilds them, has them inspected by the state, and they sign off on a clean bill of health. It had engine fire, so they put parts on it from a used car with the same miles, and I have added just short of 100,000 miles to that… and I have had fewer problems than many people I know who buy their cars from a dealership. I plan on driving that car into its grave… in about 10 years.

    Take the car for a test drive to a mechanic that you know and trust and have them do a full test on the car before you give them a nickel.
    The key to buying a salvaged title is to live in a state that has inspections (and make sure the car comes from such a state). If the car's been rebuilt, it has to go through rigorous tests before it will pass inspection with a salvage title. Every used car has its issues. But if it was salvaged 5 years ago and it has been driven 60K miles since then, there's a good chance it's pretty safe.
    How do I know you are who you think you are?

  16. #16
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Otis View post
    I'm looking at buying a used 1997 Toyota T-100. It appears to be in great shape, and drives well. I got a Carfax report on it and discovered that it was given a salvage title in Kansas in 2002, when it had 65,000 miles on it. It now has 119,000 miles. I'm leery of the condition of the title, but think it might be mitigated by the fact that the present owner has had it for 5 years and put 54,000 miles on it without apparent difficulty. Do any Cyburbians have experience with salvage titled cars?
    No, not with a salvaged title car but I can say that I just sold a 1995 Toyota T-100 SR-5 that I had for six years (bought used). I have nothing but great things to say about that truck, truly dependable.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    My last car was a salvage, had 150 000 km on it when I bought it, retired it with 420 000 km. When i bought it I saved about $5000 over buying a non-salvage car.

    Had a few small problems due to the rebuild, but nothing serious and they were taken care of by the guys that did the work on it.

    Only thing I would be eally leary of is frame repairs on a unibody, everythign else can be fixed. If someone has driven it for another 55000 miles, the rebuild bugs are most likely taken care of.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

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