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Old 05-21-2009, 08:37 PM   #1
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Question on salvage title car! Help please!

My gf wants 2 buy a 2005 car with a salvage title. I talked 2 the guy and he said that it wasn't in an accident. He said that the amplifier in the trunk burned out and a lil damage was done in the trunk. But he says u can only see the damage when u look in2 the trunk. He says everything else is perfect. Does a burned out amplifier in the trunk really label the car as a salvage? I thought cars had 2 be in a bad accident and declared "totalled" 2 get a salvaged title. Can someone help me out please!


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Old 05-21-2009, 08:49 PM   #2
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That has to be a lie, or it was a horrid interior fire.

Salvage titles come from cars that are destroyed for whatever reason. I've seen a lot of flood cars come through Memphis. Not always do the cars have salvage titles, so I'm very wary of SUPER deals. In order to spot these, you have to look somewhere that someone wouldn't clean, and you look for dust. You also stick your nose down in the seat and sniff. If it smells like a lake, then it was probably in the water.

Be very careful, once she buys it, it's hers. You should also be very picky in inspecting the crumple zones in the front and rear for damage. Anything that looks funky- take it as damage and leave the car for the next deal.

Dishonest used car salesmen that try selling these flood cars and badly wrecked cars from their driveways do not like me. I've actually been threatened before when a person asked me to look at a car for them. I found out it was a flood car- the title was "cleaned" by re-titling it from MO to KY, then trying to sell it in TN.
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Old 05-21-2009, 09:10 PM   #3
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If in doubt, always take it to a trusted mechanic to give it a good thorough inspection. Should only run you about $25-$30 but it is money well spent to make sure you are getting a good car and also ask the dealership for a Carfax report. If they can't provide you one that means something has happened they are trying to hide or they just don't know about it actually. Used cars can either be a blessing or a pain in the ass. It's just up to you to make sure it doesn't become the latter.
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Old 05-21-2009, 09:53 PM   #4
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I've seen a fair number of cars with clean titles and signs of poor body work, flood damage, etc. Carfax is a useful tool, but I'd second having a good mechanic go over the car. Unless I'm buying it damaged and doing the work myself - I wouldn't buy a salvage titled car.

Some issues to be aware of - registration may be tricky if you move to a state with more stringent titling laws than you present state, insurance companies may not want to insure it, the car will never be worth what a good example is, recalls and potential warranty claims to the manufacturer will be on your dime.

Now, if the car had been stolen, not recovered in a set period of time, and had the amp catch fire - the insurance company may have totalled it. But for me - if there was an aftermarket stereo installed in such a manner that the amp caught fire - avoid that car like the plague - your days will be filled with electrical gremlins (unless the car was repaired right (and even then) - i.e. the entire wiring harness, computer, and alternator replaced with brand new OEM units (doubtful, as most salvage titled cars were fixed in the cheapest manner possible).

Here's another thing to look out for. I bought my 07 brand new in 07, am the only owner, but was in a wreck in late 2008 - the car ended up getting $10k in body work despite no frame damage. Because that will show up in a carfax - that car is mine until it dies (be it naturally or the result of a wreck). I'll never get what it's worth because of how much work was done on it (despite no frame damage). I took pictures of the car documenting it's time from the wreck to completion with every stage of repair photographed, and have saved every receipt for all repairs and services the car has seen. That was primarily so I have records, but also so that if I do sell it - I can be completely upfront about the car's history.

I'd ask to see receipts for what repairs were done.
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Old 05-22-2009, 01:40 AM   #5
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This guy is selling it from his house. He said he buys cars from the auction and sells em. He said he's selling the car so cheap cuz his friend is selling him a nissan 350z for dirt cheap so he needs the $. I've only talked 2 him on the phone and haven't seen the car yet. A friend told my gf about the car so she got excited. I talked her outta buying it. She's always getting excited over salvage cars cuz they happen 2 b the car she wants and it's dirt cheap. But there's always that chance of buying it, and a lil later, leaving it parked in the driveway broke down.

I posted up this thread cuz I wasn't 2 sure about newer cars having salvage titles. I wasn't sure if newer cars could b considered salvaged over an electrical problem or not. I didn't really believe the guy about a amplifier burned out from a fuse in the trunk and that no real damage was done but it was put down as salvaged.

Thanks everybody 4 the info. I really appreciate it.
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Old 05-22-2009, 01:45 AM   #6
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I'm trying 2 talk my gf in2 getting a Svt focus but she won't go 4 it. Haha.
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Old 05-22-2009, 01:54 AM   #7
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I had a salvage title car for my first car. Had to do a brake and lamp inspection then a smog test. The car was really okay. I got it from a tow yard.
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Old 05-22-2009, 01:54 AM   #8
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my uncle buys salvage title cars all the time, fixes them and sells them for profit. it's not always a bad deal, but you have to be aware of what you are getting in to. since you are in the LA are, it's PROBABLY not flood damage, but the only way to get a salvage title is that the car was considered a total loss. that is the insurance company deems that the car requires more repair than it's valued at.

so if a 2005 Focus is worth $xxxxx.xx you can figure that the repair bill was probably fairly steep. Inspect it very carefully before buying it.
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Old 05-22-2009, 03:15 AM   #9
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The car is a 2005 scion tc with 55k miles. I think they go 4 about $15,000 at dealerships (somewhere around that price). This guy is selling it for $5,800. It seems way 2 low 4 that kinda car. That car is a big hit (especially with the girls).

U think the car is worth taking a look at? The guy said everything is in good condition, besides a lil burn damage that u can only see if u look in the trunk. He said it hasn't been in an accident either. And he said the engine/trans runs perfect. Seems 2 good 2 b true.
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Old 05-22-2009, 04:17 AM   #10
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That's WAY TOO LOW of a price (KBB pegs it around $13K based on the miles and condition). I'd try to find a vehicle that didn't have a "BBQ" issue(might suggests an electrical problem).
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