Two Reasons Why Buying A Car With A Salvage Title Might Be A Good Decision
If you're shopping for a used car, it's generally smart to steer clear of salvage titles. A car with a salvage title means that it was damaged to an extent that the repair bills exceeded the value of the car.
However, if you're on a budget, you can purchase cars with a salvage title for much less money than the same model with a clean title. The important thing is to thoroughly determine the nature of the damage as well as the quality of the repairs to know whether or not you're getting a lemon.
Sometimes the Damage Is Purely Cosmetic
Modern cars consist of an internal chassis that acts as the vehicle's skeleton, providing virtually all of its structural rigidity. Body panels such as the bumpers, fenders, and hood are then bolted onto the chassis.
In minor accidents, multiple body panels can be damaged without damaging the underlying chassis. If that's the case, the panels can be replaced, and the car's structural integrity will remain intact.
You may be wondering why a car can be totaled and issued a salvage title if the damage is purely cosmetic. The reason is that bodywork is extremely expensive. Paint jobs alone can cost several thousand dollars, and the previous owner may have spent thousands more on replacement body panels. If the repair work was done properly, the car may carry a salvage title while driving as good as new.
Of course, it's impossible to determine whether or not the chassis was damaged by simply looking at the exterior of the car. Before you make a purchase, take the car to a reputable collision repair shop so that they can dig underneath its body and give you a full breakdown of the chassis condition.
Sometimes a Damaged Chassis Can Be Properly Repaired
You may have heard the old cliche that once a car is wrecked, it will never drive the same again. Often that's true, but it isn't always the case.
Skilled collision repair mechanics and fabricators can strip a car down and build it back from the ground up. Even if the chassis is badly damaged, they can cut away the damaged components and weld in new metal with laser-guided precision to make the car handle like it did when it rolled out of the factory.
If you're considering a salvage titled car that had major chassis work performed, you should certainly be wary. Take it on extensive test drives to make sure it drives straight and produces no strange creaking noises from the chassis or suspension.
As mentioned above, you should also take it to a reputable collision repair service so they can examine the repairs that were made and tell you if they were performed properly. However, if everything checks out, you can pick up a car with a salvage title for a much lower price than the same model with a clean title.