off has the "log book" (registration documents) stamped or listed as such
"damaged beyond repair" etc.
However, if you don't have that problem which obviously reduces the value and is
simply a stolen recovery or similar the title belongs to
A the original owner
B the insurance company that paid out
C the salvage dealer that purchased the vehicle from the insurance company
D the ex wife who thinks she still has title (joke)
So if you check through and get a certified receipt and declaration that the
owner is who he says he/she is and had the legal right to dispose of the vehicle
then that should stand up in any court of law.
Sir Hugh of Bognor
The difference between men and boys is the price of their toys.
Intelligence is not knowing the answer but knowing where and how to find it!
Bognor Regis, W.Sussex, England, UK
Notice - no name, street address, email address or geographic number and the
car has no plate - so just where is this car or the dealer?
Well the chassis and / or running gear may be bent, the airbags discharged,
engine damaged by seizure after the oil / coolant ran out, AC goosed etc.
In the UK what used to happen was that a stolen car as similar as possible
would have its ID changed to that of the scrapped one, by bolting on fake
VIN plates, grinding the engine and restamping the number etc. etc. in a
process called "ringing". It would then be sold as the repaired write off.
The UK gov't has tightened up the procedures for scrapping cars, so such
'ringers' are rarer now (manufacturers have put the VIN number all over the
If your ringer was ever discovered (e.g. after a prang, MOT test or police
check) then you could expect a trip to court plus demands from the original
owner, insurer etc. and typically a mouthful of broken teeth if you could
find and were silly enough to go back to the vendor for a refund.
I'm not sure that the deployment of the airbag will generate a salvage
title. Logic says that when the airbag goes off, the damage will be
significant and a slavage title might result. But, it occurs to me that the
airbag can deploy in a mishap that will not result in other significant
damage which can cause the total loss of a vehicle.
It is not possible to have a deployed airbag and not know. If the airbag
goes off, the damage to the steering wheel cover, or the dashboard (if the
passenger side bag goes off) will be extensive. These covers can not be
repaired-on-the-sly. If they are damaged, the buyer will easily see it, and
if they are not damaged, they have not deployed.
Airbag deployment by itself is not an indicator of a salvage title.
I did not intend to suggest that your listing of components was exshaustive.
I only meant to address the idea that having an airbag deployment was in
itself an indicator of a salvage title. You're right, there are lots of
things that can be done to mask a salvage title, but the OP knows the title
is salvage, so none of the things you suggest are likely scenarios. Why
grind off the ID plates, then admit to a salvage title?
This was a list of things that might well be wrong on a repaired salvaged
car, not a list of things that might lead to a car being written off (US
totalled), although oddly enough they are pretty similar.
Proceed with extreme caution. You described the car earlier as, "this
beauty." "This beauty," and salvage title are not commonly used in the same
sentence by people that know what "salvage" and "this beauty" mean.
As a general rule of thumb, salvage and this beauty are mutually exclusive
terms. Proceed with caution ...
Better yet, head for the door. The asking price is about where you should be
finding a Very Nice car, not a salvage car.
A car with a Salvage Title is one that the insurance company declared as a
total loss. The repairs to such a vehcile exceed something like 70% of the
vehicle's value at the time of settlement. The insurance company paid a
total loss claim, then either took possession of the vehicle or sold the
vehicle back to the original owner for pennies on the dollar, who would then
attempt to restore the vehicle. If they took possession, they would have
sold it to a wrecking yard or similar entity. That buyer would either part
the car out, or put it back together.
A car with a Salvage Title was either repaired at the direction of the
original owner, or by the functional equivelent of a wrecking yard, and then
A Salvage Title will remain with the vehicle for the rest of its life, and a
salvage title should demand a significant savings relative to other cars of
the same make, model, and mileage -- I would expect savings in the thousands
of dollars. If you buy a salvage titled car, you should expect to not be
able to sell again later because the vast majority of people that know what
a salvage title is will steer clear.
TO BE SURE
Therer are instances where the insurance company will total a car, and NOT
report it as a salvage title to the DMV. So, it is possible to buy a total
loss vehicle that has not got a salvage title -- I own such a car. (My car
was rear-ended and pushed into the car in front. the insurance company
totalled the car, gave me a check, and let me keep the car. It does not have
a Salvage Title.) This example is not what the OP was asking about though,
but I needed to relate the story because I'm sure that somebody is going to
complain that just because a car is totalled, it is not salvaged.
My point is that a salvaged car is one that has been totalled, not that all
totalled cars are salvaged.
A sakvage title can also result from a car that was flooded. Such a car
would "look" okay, but there could be hidden water damage, or something
along those lines.
Bottom line is that the insurance carrier has paid a total loss settlement
on the car because it felt it could not repair the car for less than the car
is worth. That is, the insurance carrier felt that repairs would exceed the
value of the car.
Well, its probably a salvage title because an insurance adjuster totaled it.
Flood damage? Who knows.
It's possible you'll get a great buy. More likely you'll get a vehicle
which will be nothing but trouble and will never be worth what you paid for
it ($18K seems high for salvage).
One observation. The ignition and fuel rail covers are non-stock (and not
"upgrade" quality aftermarket either). So what happened to the original
R / John
A technicality: In the US, the insurance company reports a 'total
loss' to the state DMV, and that's the end of it, unless...
The subsequent owner of the wreck *may* apply to the DMV for a new
title for the 'total loss' vehicle, in which case they will be issued
a salvage title. If the wreck is simply to be parted out, then there
is no need for a title of any sort. Salvage titles are only issued
when there is an intent to repair the wreck and put it back on the
road. The majority of 'total loss' vehicles never receive a salvage
You pays yer money and take yer chances. It's possible to get a
near-perfect bargain and it's possible to get a complete shed. Caveat
emptor and due diligence *can* work in your favor and get you a good
You can make out quite well with a salvage titled car. I have bought two, my
first '91 BMW 318is, and my '00 Saab 9-5. The BMW was a recovered theft - they
had stolen all of the wheels, seats, spoilers, etc. The insurance company had
paid out before it was recovered. It was fixed with used parts. Perfectly fine
car, I paid about 1/2 what a clean titled car would have cost. The Saab was
hit in the driver's door, setting off the sidebags. It was bought and fixed by
a Saab dealership as a "keep busy" project. Everything was done properly to
factory spec. I've put 30K miles on it since I bought it, has been a perfect
car. Also saved about 1/2 the going rate for one. In that case, I paid $8800
for a '00 with 41K on it in 2005. So you certainly can make out well, just
91 318is (#2)
00 Saab 9-5 Se V6t Wagon
92 Saab 900 CVT
74 Triumph Spitfire
FWIW many years ago I bought a restored insurance write-off from a
manufacturer's main dealer (Mercedes W123 200, in Germany).
The price was a bit below the market price for such a vehicle. It had been
rebuilt over three years as a training exercise for the apprentices. Lots
of metal had been bent and I think the engine had been damaged.
A great car and bargain.
So yes, it can be ok.
For direct contact replace nospam with schmetterling
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