What Is A Used Car Salvage Title?

Salvage title is a term that often comes up in advertisements for used cars. Before you decide on buying a used car that says it has such a title, it is vital you understand what this implies or you may have problems later on.

What is a Salvage Title?

Some cars undergo damage in an accident or a natural calamity and are unfit for driving. Many owners of such cars dispose them at salvage yards, which carry out repairs and replace the non-functional parts to render the car fit for use again. However, the law requires such vehicles to be stamped with a salvage title so that anyone who wishes to buy such a car in the future knows that it had sustained some damage in the past.

For a car to be branded as salvage, the amount of the damage it sustained has to be equivalent to 75 percent or more of its value. However, this figure can vary from state to state. Some states such as New Jersey, Oklahoma, New York, Oregon, New Mexico, Maryland, Georgia, Minnesota, Illinois, Florida and Arizona also give such salvage titles to stolen vehicles that have been recovered.

Points to Consider

Salvage cars appear attractive to people who want to procure a vehicle on a tight budget because they are priced much lower than what a new model would cost. However, before you decide on making such a purchase, it is important to consider a few important points.

  • Although the damaged parts have been replaced with new ones, there is no guarantee of how efficiently the salvaged vehicle will run and for how long.
  • A used car with a salvage title is not easy to sell in the event that you wish to trade it in for a new car, because the dealers will view it with suspicion.
  • Check the wording used to describe the nature of the used car being advertised; some salvage yards selling them use terms such as “resalvaged” without clearly saying the car has a salvage title.
  • Always ask the seller for documentary evidence of the repair work that has been carried out on the car; avoid buying the car if the salvage yards cannot produce this proof. Almost all states require these documents to be submitted for granting a salvage title, so if your seller refuses to show them to you, it may mean that he has not actually received the title.

Understanding what is a salvage title is the first step to know how to assess the value of a used car with a salvage title. With this information, you can then find the right way to check the value of such a vehicle.