Salvage cars are those that have been in an accident or damaged and will require more than 50% of their original price for repairs. These cars are written off by insurance companies and are sold cheaply by owners who can’t afford the repairs themselves. As these cars are not beyond hope, it can sometimes be easy to think of buying a salvage car as a good deal that can be easily repaired for less than buying a new or used car. However, there are a lot of myths surrounding these types of vehicles and a good number of reasons why you should not buy salvage cars.
One of the problems that you can face if you buy a salvaged or written off car is that insurance companies sometimes refuse to insure salvage cars, even when they have been repaired. This is often because they believe that the car can’t be returned to the safety standards it had when it was manufactured and so is deemed too much of a risk to insure. If you lie to the insurance company about your car being salvaged and repaired then it’s very likely that the insurance company won’t pay out if you are involved in a crash or another type of accident. If you do find a company that will insure you, you may have to pay over the odds.
When you come to sell the car, you may make a loss on a salvage cars compared to the buying price and fees for repairs. This is particularly true if you paid close to the market price of the car or if you were caught out and the vehicle needed more work than you had anticipated. Buying a salvaged car is always a risk, but if you’re hoping to buy in order to sell on then there can be a significant financial risk involved too.
One of the biggest reasons not to buy a salvaged car is that you can’t always see the extent of the damage that has been done. In particular, destruction of the frame or underside of the car is not always apparent when looking at the bodywork from the outside. For this reason, salvaged cars can be much more unsafe than they look and it is advisable to get the car checked by a professional before signing documents or purchasing the car.
Another reason why you should not buy salvage cars is that you may not know the true extent of repairs needed as sellers can lie about the damage, making it seem that the crash was less than serious or that some of the repairs have already been carried out and to a high standard. Some unscrupulous sellers may be involved in car clipping which is when two salvaged cars are welded together down the middle. This is often difficult for the average person to spot.
Sellers who lie can increase the danger to you as you don’t know the details of the accident and you don’t know what the car hit. So the vehicle will have to be checked for internal damage and weak spots that may be missed.
Buying a salvaged car as a project for a beginner can be great as a hobby, but if you’re actually in need of a car promptly then taking on the project yourself without having experience is often not a good bet. Not only will you need expertise to ensure the damage is repaired to a safe standard, but it will also take a lot of your time just to be able to get the car on the road again.
In addition to the above, repairing salvaged cars can often become very expensive, even if you opt to repair what you can yourself. In order to ensure your cars safety you’ll need to have a qualified mechanic take a look at the damage and even small repairs can quickly add up. For example, if the airbags have triggered then you can be looking at around $1500 for a new set to be installed, and this is the kind of area where you can’t cut corners if you want to be driving a safe roadworthy vehicle. Even cars that look lightly dented can have developed thousands of dollars worth of damage on the inside which can be one of the biggest reasons to avoid buying salvaged cars.
Finally, even if your car has been repaired to the highest standard, passed all needed tests and been insured, it can still develop related faults in the future. For example, cars that have been damaged in floods can continue to have or acquire problems years after the incident and subsequent repairs, so may end up requiring large payments years down the line.
Even if all looks well, it can be difficult to tell what is truly happening under the bodywork of the car and this in itself should persuade you to not buy salvaged cars.