Perhaps you may not believe a Carfax (or autocheck.com) report that
shows either (1) five owners in ten years (though the seller says he
is the only owner); or (2) odometer tampering; or (3) a salvage
vehicle. I would rely on such information. Hence for my purposes, any
of these would rule out the car for me. If the Carfax comes up clean
on these points, then there is still doubt in my mind, but less so.
Remember how KBB values a vehicle as well, and that KBB tends to be
the standard for valuing a vehicle. Any title that is a "salvage"
title or shows odometer tampering means the car cannot be valued in
KBB's eyes. You can call people ridiculous for not being interested in
a salvage vehicle or a vehicle with unknown mileage, but these people
are a large part of the car buying market. What they say rules when it
comes time to sell a car.
On insurance, the premium goes towards more than just damage to one's
vehicle. Sure consider the value of the car, and your deductible, when
reviewing that part of the premium going towards paying for damage to
one's vehicle. But one cannot just compute the annual premium, note it
will exceed the value of the car in X months, and say one is
overpaying for insurance.
what does the number of owners matter??? you only need one careless one
to screw a vehicle up.
what does that really matter? inspection will show if the vehicle has
been properly maintained. you only need one careless...
i don't get the problem with salvage. sure, some can be garbage, but
that shows up on inspection.
fyi, my crx is salvage. the one prior lady owner had turned it in for
the $600 california dmv clunker fee, and the junkyard wheeled it into
their "whole vehicles" pound, then immediately sold it to me for $1000.
the vehicle is all original, excellent condition [apart from paint
because it lived outside], and well maintained. it's straighter than a
vehicle damaged on the dealer's lot and repaired before first
registration. but it's "salvage" because it had been de-registered.
that's like people wanting "natural" diamond vs lab-grown diamond. if
the latter is still crystallized carbon, flawless, cheaper, and doesn't
come smeared in blood, i see absolutely no problem with it, yet the
brainwashed masses think otherwise.
why not? i don't understand why paying more to /not/ own your own
vehicle in the event of an accident makes sense.
Jim, I think your goals for owning a car are different from others'.
In particular you seem feel that how the market values a car is
irrelevant, hence odometer readings and salvage status are irrelevant.
Fine for your and some people's needs. Not for mine and others',
though. I want a car for which a price has been "set" by a resource
like Kelly Blue Book. KBB.com will not spew out a price for cars with
unknown mileage or having salvage status. Your argument is probably
more with kbb than anything else.
again, i think you're the victim of kbb's self-promotion propaganda.
kbb is simply "reported" prices [dmv taxes anyone?], not actual market
example: honda crx.
here in the san francsico bay area, kbb has a 91 crx si is listed as
$2130 for "excellent condition". what an utter crock! a real "street"
price of that vehicle in good shape is $4k - $6k. i've seen people
selling non-rolling crx shells here on craigslist for $1500. and i have
personally witnessed people outside a seller's door waving $100 bills
and bidding the price of for-sale crx's up to 2 or 3x asking.
bottom line - consider whose interests kbb pricing may serve. and
consider how they get their "data".
I am suggesting that your anecdotal "sample" may very well consist
overwhelmingly of ricers. If your sample is mostly ricers', then IMO
it needs to be acknowledged that ricers' goals are different from
someone who prefers stock and/or wants a reliable daily driver.
It is a little hard to do proper maintenance by the schedule if the
odometer is incorrect.
Knowing WHEN a salvage title vehicle was given a salvage title is
useful. If the car was old and cheap when it was given a salvage
title (like your car), then it may not be much of a concern (even
minor cosmetic damage can cause an insurance company to declare such
a cheap vehicle to be a "total loss"). But if the car was fairly
new and valuable when it was given a salvage title, that is much more
of a concern.
In any case, a title / registration history like Carfax or Autocheck
will not tell you if a car is good. But it will tell you if a car has
a title problem that warrants either extra suspicion beyond the usual
suspicion one gives any used car, or if it is just not worth bothering
to go look at it at all.
Timothy J. Lee
I agree with robb, Leftie and you. To share experience for the
archives, about a year ago when I was looking at Craig's List cars,
the Carfax report showed that about one-third had had odometer
tampering. Many also had a salvage title. This information was not
being disclosed by the sellers. Also, a salvage title is important not
because it is a clue to look for damage, a non-straight frame, etc. A
salvage title is important because it means the car will not be fully
insurable for damage to it in the future, regardless of the extent of
repairs to the car in the past, because some insurance company
somewhere has already paid out on the car for its full value.
On 9/26/09 9:22 AM, in article
I agree it won't be fully insurable. If you are going to buy a salvage car,
its not really a viable idea unless its priced such that you would never
consider putting collision coverage on it. You shouldn't need a salvage
title to tell you to look for damage though. That's part of your
inspection, CarFax or not. My feeling is if somebody wants to give me the
Carfax free to look at, I'll look, but its not on my list of things I would
spend money on.
I also agree with you as far as what you find on craigslist & in the local
paper car section. The last couple of times I looked at cars that way, all
I found was sleazy guys set up in vacant apartments with cars that appeared
to have been used as outhouses, essentially unlicensed used car lots. The
only places I've seen consistently nice used cars around here (Dallas) the
past several years has been in new car dealers' used car lots & even then it
is still caveat emptor at a lot of them.
Just to counterpoint a bit, a friend just backed out of buying a
2002 Camry with very low mileage, because Carfax showed an 'odometer
discrepancy'. It appears now that there was none. Most likely an
inspection station wrote down the wrong number. So heck, you really
can't even trust them 100% when they appear to find a problem...
paying full coverage insurance on an old vehicle is a fools game.
premiums outweigh the vehicle worth very quickly - and you lose your
vehicle in the event of all but the teeniest fender bender. save the
money and just get third party. then you can make your own decision on
whether to repair, and pay for it out of your savings.
If you still think that carfax is the way to go, here is a link to cbc's
marketplace episode on used vehicle purchasing.
My own personal preference is to ask the dealer for a test drive, take the
car home and do the fine tooth comb thing.
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