Buying a car from an auction can be an ideal way to find a great used car at hundreds or even thousands of dollars less than if you had bought from a traditional used car lot. However, buying a salvage car at auction has the potential to be an even better deal, as long as you know what you’re doing and don’t mind putting in a little work on the car after the sale.
What’s a Salvage Car Title?
When a car’s title is branded “salvage,” that means the vehicle has been damaged so severely that the insurer has deemed it a total loss. The insurance company typically sells these salvage cars at auctions open to the public in attempt to recoup at least something from the vehicle. These can represent a significant opportunity for someone in the market for a used car, but there are some very important facts you should know if you’re thinking about buying a salvage car at auction.
Tips for Buying a Salvage Car at Auction
The most critical rule you should remember if you’re hoping to buy a salvage car at auction is that those cars are, by definition, not legal to drive in their current condition. No matter what the car looks like on the lot, be aware that you’ll need to do some repair work on the car to get it street-legal once again.
You also should make yourself aware of the laws regarding salvage cars in your state, because the level of damage before a car can be considered salvage varies depending on where you are. In some states, it may only cost 60 percent of the car’s value to repair it; while in other states, you can expect to spend up to 75 percent of its value to get it fixed.
Because salvage cars can’t be driven in their current condition, you also need to be prepared to arrange for your new salvage car to be towed off the auction lot. However, many used car auctions offer transport of a car for an additional fee.
Doing your homework is a crucial part of buying a used car at an auction, and that’s especially true if you’re interested in buying a salvage car. However, if you come prepared to do a little extra homework and you’re not afraid of rolling up your sleeves and getting your hands dirty, buying a salvage car at auction can get you a great bargain on a used car. If you’re looking for a good deal on a salvage car, check out Capital Auto Auction’s inventory and visit one of our regular auctions.