4 Tips for Buying and Selling Salvaged Cars

Salvaged cars can be a great solution when circumstances leave you without much cash on hand despite the need for a working vehicle. And, if maintained properly, they can be sold at a reasonable cost. However, not everyone is familiar with the ins and outs of salvaged cars.

Salvaged cars require extra steps in sales and purchasing but can also provide a very good value.

What Are Salvaged Cars?
A salvaged car means that one of two things happened to the vehicle: It was either damaged to the point where the cost of repairing it was more expensive than its current value or, in some areas, that the car was stolen and then found and recovered. Common types of damage include: accidents, flooding, hail and vandalism. Following some paperwork and inspections, the car is then given a branded salvage title document. As automotive information authority Edumunds.com pointed out, salvaged cars require some extra steps in sales and purchasing but can also provide a very good value, costing less than a used car of the same make and model.

4 Tips for Buying and Selling Salvaged Cars:

1. Buying: Investigate the Car Thoroughly and Bring a Mechanic
It's a good idea to have an experienced mechanic look at any sort of used car before you purchase it, and that advice rings especially true with a salvaged automobile. You'll notice any glaring issues with a refurbished car, but the experience and training of a mechanic you trust will find the problems that are harder to see. DMV.org noted the biggest area of concern for mechanics include the condition of the frame and properly functioning safety mechanisms like airbags and seatbelts. The mechanic should also estimate potential repair costs, helping you find out if the lower upfront price is worth the extra repairs.

2. Buying: Get the Original Repair Estimate
Edmunds recommended obtaining the original repair estimate for a salvaged vehicle if at all possible. That information will help both you and the mechanic determine if the car is a good value or if there are likely more problems that could appear in the weeks and months after purchase. The original repair estimate is valuable in the long term, as it can help a mechanic diagnose a problem long after a salvaged vehicle is purchased.

3. Selling: Be Upfront About Everything
Salvaged cars and the laws related to them vary significantly from state to state. Not every jurisdiction requires complete and total disclosure, but many demand some amount of information be conveyed to the potential buyer. Penalties for non-disclosure include fines, which is the last thing you want to deal with when selling a car. Also, as DMV.org pointed out, it's the seller's responsibility to disclose the status of a vehicle for sale to any potential buyers. Offering all of that information up front is also simply a good practice to follow.

4. Selling: Go Above and Beyond
One common piece of advice given to salvaged car buyers is to obtain any possible information about the history of the vehicle before purchasing. While it's not required that sellers share the original repair estimate with potential buyers, this relatively small amount of extra effort will endear you to prospective buyers and make the process move along more smoothly.