Published On: Fri, Jan 4th, 2019

What’s a Salvage Car Auction?

There are many ways to get a car. You may be looking to buy new or lease a vehicle, or maybe you’re hunting for a deal on a used vehicle from a dealership or second-hand from an owner.

One lesser-known option is to look for vehicles at a salvage car auction. If you’re really looking for a bargain and understand the factors surrounding salvage titles, a salvage car auction is one way to get a steep discount on your next automobile.

photo/ Judy Alkema

Why does a car have a salvage title?

Put simply, “salvage titles” are distributed to cars that are totaled. These cars are most frequently damaged in accidents, and this classification is deemed by the owner’s insurance company. If you’re interested in purchasing a salvage car, simply do some searching for salvage car auctions in your area. A salvage car auction gives you access to cars well-below market value, since most salvaged cars are sold at least five percent lower than other used makes and models.

If you’re looking at salvage cars, you might be doing so for two reasons. First, you may be looking for spare parts, and a salvage car auction is a great repository for plenty of pieces. Alternatively, you may want a vehicle with a salvage title because you’re interested in repairing a fixer-upper. If you have the right expertise, this is another great, low-cost option for getting a significantly discounted automobile.

How is a salvage title different than a normal title?

One of the most important things to know about a salvage title is that it’s usually permanent. Regardless of how much you’ve repaired the car — even to working order — the car will still be designated as a “salvage” on its title. This affects how easy it is to insure your vehicle.

This is mainly because, in case of a new accident, insurers aren’t able to easily determine whether or not the damage to your car was because of the most recent accident or the crash that totaled the vehicle in the first place. Thus, if you are able to restore a salvaged vehicle to working order, insurance may be more expensive.

That said, if you’ve restored your salvaged vehicle to working order by making the necessary repairs, it is possible to clear a car’s salvage title. This occurs at the Department of Motor Vehicles, and typically involves a rigorous inspection to prove that the vehicle has in fact been properly repaired. If you’ve done the work properly, the car’s title will then be changed from “salvage” to “rebuilt”. While a “rebuilt” vehicle may still have pricier insurance, it won’t be nearly as hefty as a salvage title.

Tips when buying cars at salvage auctions

Understanding that your mileage may vary when purchasing a salvage title, here are some tips to consider when attending a salvage auction.

First, it’s important to properly weigh the amount of time and money it will take to restore your purchase. Taking a mechanic to the auction with you may be useful for this, as you’ll be able to begin estimating how much money repairs will cost and how long they’ll take. It’s also a good idea to brush up on your state’s laws surrounding salvage vehicles. Depending on where you live, different laws need to be factored in with the costs your salvage car carries with it. Finally, don’t forget to arrange for a tow truck to take the car off of the lot, since you can’t drive a vehicle with a salvage title in most states.

While it’s not the most popular way to get a new car, salvage cars may be worth your time if the price is right. Make sure to learn about salvage title laws in your state, and consult with a mechanic about your intentions before heading to the auction site. By doing your homework and researching cars prior to attending an auction, you can be sure to make an informed purchase and recoup your money in no time.

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About the Author

- Rupesh Singh is freelance writer and founder of moneyoutline.com You can follow him on Google + & Facebook.

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