What Does a Salvage-Title Vehicle Mean?

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Sep 4, 2014

Salvage-title car

In the US, millions of cars get salvaged titles every year. Dealers and private sellers can repair and sell these cars without telling the buyers that their vehiclesare titled salvage. Although a salvage car may seem an inexpensive option, it can also be unsafe to drive. For that reason, it is important to know the vehicle’s title.

Salvage Vehicles 

Salvage titles are issued by a state motor vehicle agency for a number of reasons. If a vehicle has been in an accident and the cost of its repairing exceeds 75-90% (depending on state) of its value, this vehicle is titled as salvage.

However, a collision is not the only reason why a vehicle may get a salvage title. Among the other reasons are hail damage, flood damage, and theft recovery.

Title Washing Scam

Unfortunately, there are unfair sellers who hide salvage titles from the buyers, although it is illegal not to disclose title information.

A common type of scam associated with salvage titles is called title washing. The fraud involves registering the car in several states, usually with looser title laws. If the seller registers the vehicle in several states, the salvage title will be finally removed from the title. As a result, the dealer will be able to sell this vehicle as a used car.

Car Clipping

Another type of salvage title fraud is car clipping. The scam involves welding together the ends of two wrecked vehicles.

Lost Title Scam

If the seller tells you that he or she has lost the car’s title and doesn’t apply for a new one because he/she doesn’t have enough funds or time, go away from this deal. Although the scammer usually sells the car at a low price, you will still pay too much for such vehicle.

How to Avoid Salvage Title Scam?

In some cases, buying a salvage car can become a good investment, providing you know exactly what you are buying. Salvage cars can be properly repaired and returned to the road legally. These vehicles can be titled rebuilt or salvage.

It can be difficult for inexperienced car buyer to detect salvage vehicles. Still you should beware of common title scams and take measures to avoid them. First of all, ask the dealer to show the car’s title. Note that the wording used to indicate a salvage title can vary depending on state. For example, it may be referred to as junked, rebuilt, or totaled. Examine the car’s title to ensure that it has not been altered.

Another way to determine if the car has ever been titled salvage is to buy a VHR. It will help you disclose any information that the seller is trying to conceal, including false odometer readings, car’s title, and history of damage.

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