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Atma Weapon
 
Salvage titles in CA

Always wondered about this...my first car was a salvage title (1998 Mustang GT); got a great deal on it and never had any serious issues with it. Judging from it's carfax though, it had been through hell (it had been all over the country and I was the 7th owner).

Currently used car shopping. Not surprisingly, all of the good deals I've been finding on the car I've looking into buying (2010+ Prius) are salvage titles. Also, pretty much all of them say it was from minor damage or even a fender bender. Considering salvage titles are "issued on a vehicle damaged to the extent that the cost of repairing the vehicle for safe operation exceeds its fair market value; or a vehicle that has been declared a Total Loss by an insurer or other state or jurisdiction," either all of these sellers are lying or (more likely) somehow the insurance companies are saving money by giving out salvage titles even to minor accidents.

Assuming that's the case, can someone explain to me how it works?
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Old 09-11-2012, 10:38 AM Atma Weapon is offline  
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gribly
 
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It can depend, based on what the parts themselves cost a minor fender bender really can total out a car as far as insurance is concerned. I've seen many "totaled" cars that ran and drove perfectly fine, because a repaint and a fender can get quite expensive.

Why exactly are you looking at a prius? They're not exceptional in any way or stand out, and are terrible things to drive. At least get something fun if you're going to save on gas. The amount extra you pay for the prius, you may never even see the savings, and they're not the most environmentally friendly car out there if you're playing that angle.
Old 09-11-2012, 11:10 AM gribly is offline  
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I wouldn't get a prius as a salvage title. If the battery pack or some other major electrical part is damaged is can be very costly and even dangerous.

If it was an older car with normal parts I'd say go for it.

I had a 97 prelude salvage title in California. Getting it registered was a bitch, but otherwise it was just fine.

I think most people are lying about the damage to be honest. Mine was lied about. It was a "fender bender" turns out the front subframe was bent a little and it really wasn't very straight anymore up front.
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Old 09-11-2012, 01:54 PM M-Unit is offline  
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I wouldn't get ANY car as a salvage. You risk having a lifetime of alignment issues if the frame was bent for example. It means the insurance did the math and it costs more to fix right than it does to sell.. so whomever "fixed" it did so cheaper than that with enough room to make a profit (otherwise what's the point?). I don't want a car with any cut corners. There are enough good deals out there with clean titles IMO.
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Old 09-11-2012, 10:40 PM [H]ard|On is offline  
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if it is an older car that has little value a relatively minor incident could easily total the car
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Old 09-12-2012, 02:46 AM grjr is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grjr View Post
if it is an older car that has little value a relatively minor incident could easily total the car

So again it costs more to fix than to buy another one of whatever it is... so how can it still be cheaper unless it was half assed? When people do their own salvage repair that's par for the course.

If someone bought the car back, fixed it right and sold it at a loss then yes it's a good deal. Most of the time a salvage is done by a pro who makes money off it though, and to make money off it there's some less than fastidious work involved.
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Old 09-12-2012, 05:34 AM [H]ard|On is offline  
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gribly
 
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Insurance goes off the price of doing it with new parts and all that. If someone works a deal with someone or gets some used stuff from a junkyard and puts it back together right on the cheap it'll be a good deal.
Old 09-12-2012, 11:04 AM gribly is offline  
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True, it can be done. Got to be careful though.

Still my choice is to find a bargain with a clean title
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Old 09-12-2012, 06:29 PM [H]ard|On is offline  
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I bought a salvage car 2 years ago and also didn't have any serious issues with it, the only problem was to find somebody who'd buy the car when I decided to resell it, many people just don't want to deal with salvage cars. I wouldnt buy a flooded car though, fresh water flooding is not too bad, salt water flood is worse.
Old 05-21-2013, 06:46 AM Giramid is offline  
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DlStreamnet
 
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It's not just the repair costs either, you're forgetting time - rental cars, etc. if a part is hard to find on 2010 prius' that takes, say 3 weeks to get - thats 3 weeks of rental car bills that could tip the boat.
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Old 05-25-2013, 10:37 AM DlStreamnet is offline  
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