Why You Really Shouldn't Buy A Salvage Title Car

A salvage title car may save you thousands up front, but it could be a total waste of money, too. Here are 5 reasons you should never buy a salvage title car.

Trolling through the used car listings, you come across the deal of the century: your perfect car, with all of the options you want, for thousands less than you've been able to find it anywhere else. It's the perfect car, or so it seems.

As you scroll through the photos everything looks in order, with a beautiful interior, nice shiny paint, perfectly straight body panels. But in the description, it says the vehicle has a "salvage title" and that the damage was "purely cosmetic" and was all fixed properly by a reputable shop.

That salvage title car may save you thousands up front, but it could be a total waste of money too. We made a list of five reasons you should view every salvage title car as covered with caution tape.

1. "Salvage" translates to "totaled"

Most salvage title cars on the used market earned that distinction because something bad happened to them (storm damage, accident, flood, etc.) that caused an insurance company to declare them worth less than the cost of repair, which means it was "totaled". Most of the bad things that can happen to a car to total it can also result in long-term issues that you won't want to deal with as an owner: frame damage, crooked structural elements, rust, electrical gremlins, compromised crash safety features, and more. Some cars with clean titles may have similar histories, too, so be sure to get your car inspected by a trusted mechanic.

Buying Tips

How To Tell If You Are Getting A Good Lease Deal On Your New Car
When is the Best Time to Sell Your Used Car?
What is a 0% Car Loan?
2017 Car Shopping Trend Report: How Prepared Are Consumers?
What are Dealer Fees & Which Ones are Negotiable?


What is a 0% Car Loan?
What a Fed Rate Increase Means for Your Auto Loan
How to Refinance Your Car Loan
How Much Down Payment Do You Need to Buy a Used Car?
3 Main Factors in Getting a Car Loan

Nelson Ireson

automotive freelance journalist