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  • Buying a car with a rebuilt title?

    Anyone here ever bought a car with a rebuilt title? I'm currently driving a 10 year old vehicle with 130k miles that I bought a few years ago right out of training. I need to fix a few small things and do some basic maintainance which I'm fine with but its developed an issue that I don't think can be fixed for a reasonable cost after taking it to a mechanic. I have a good friend who is a doc but also has a shop where he rebuilds salvaged vehicles that he buys at auctions. He's offered to sell me a Toyota cheap that has about the same mileage but is mechanically in better condition. I could probably sell my vehicle for 2-3k on Craigslist. Other than most dealers not taking rebuilt titles as trade ins any other reason not to buy one?

  • #2
    Gosh, I think this scenario exceeds my standards for frugality. Buy a new Prius or Nissan Leaf and live like a king!

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    • #3




      Gosh, I think this scenario exceeds my standards for frugality. By a new Prius or Nissan Leaf and live like a king!
      Click to expand...


      Hahahaha! Let me clarify. I am a car guy but only sports cars and muscle cars...think hellcat, z06, gt350. I have zero interest in spending 15-20k on a an SUV or sedan. My plan has always been to pay off debt, get the retirement going and daily drive a beater(we have winter where I live)so I can not feel guilty about buying a fun car(toy).

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      • #4
        My dad and his buddy (an auto body man) bought several salvage title cars and rebuilt them. One of them burst into flames on the highway. Dad got out, but the truck burnt to a crisp in someone's driveway.

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        • #5




          My dad and his buddy (an auto body man) bought several salvage title cars and rebuilt them. One of them burst into flames on the highway. Dad got out, but the truck burnt to a crisp in someone’s driveway.
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          Well ok then...Maybe I'll look into a Nissan Leaf ?

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          • #6
            I think your overall idea is fine in regards to car justification in life, but I agree with Vagabond this is just unnecessary trouble and frugality. I mean whats the upside here? You're already taking your time out of the day to dx, fix, look for replacements...not worth it. You dont have to buy a fancy car if you dont get a salvaged one, surely there is a middle ground where you can find a reliable reasonably priced commuter to suit your goals?

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            • #7
              How cheap are you talking?

              Unless you're looking at something for a few hundred dollars that's completely disposable, no point to deal with salvage title vehicles.

              And even then, should you be driving something that's completely disposable?

              Just go lease a cheap Toyota for like $199/mo until you feel like you can afford your corvette.  Or just go buy something decent for $10 or $20k.

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              • #8




                How cheap are you talking?

                Unless you’re looking at something for a few hundred dollars that’s completely disposable, no point to deal with salvage title vehicles.

                And even then, should you be driving something that’s completely disposable?

                Just go lease a cheap Toyota for like $199/mo until you feel like you can afford your corvette.  Or just go buy something decent for $10 or $20k.
                Click to expand...


                Around 8k...it's an fj cruiser which normally have an extremely high resale value(similar vehicle would sell for 14-16k in the private market which is crazy for a vehicle with 130k miles and is 10 years old)but this one had damage to the front wheel. I've always liked them and this just sort of came across my path. Sounds like I need to pass and either continue to drive my current vehicle or find something else. Thanks guys

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                • #9







                  How cheap are you talking?

                  Unless you’re looking at something for a few hundred dollars that’s completely disposable, no point to deal with salvage title vehicles.

                  And even then, should you be driving something that’s completely disposable?

                  Just go lease a cheap Toyota for like $199/mo until you feel like you can afford your corvette.  Or just go buy something decent for $10 or $20k.
                  Click to expand…


                  Around 8k…it’s an fj cruiser which normally have an extremely high resale value(similar vehicle would sell for 14-16k in the private market which is crazy for a vehicle with 130k miles and is 10 years old)but this one had damage to the front wheel. I’ve always liked them and this just sort of came across my path. Sounds like I need to pass and either continue to drive my current vehicle or find something else. Thanks guys
                  Click to expand...


                  If you buy it, just know that it will be tremendously difficult to sell, and that you will probably get 50% of what a non-salvage car brings.  You're only talking $8k, so worst case (assuming it's reliable) you're selling the car for a couple grand in a few years, or towing it to a junkyard a few more years after that, and you only had $8k in it.  No big deal.

                  Biggest issue is reliability and safety.  It's a Toyota so it should run, but are you willing to fix this and that from time to time (or live without), are you willing to have airbag lights flash at you (and potentially not function in an impact), etc.

                  A car gets a salvage title because at some point an insurance company decided it cost too much to fix to be economically worthwhile, and that's before the title is branded, so assuming they could resell it as a non-salvage car for retail.  Insurance companies are notoriously stingy, have access to wholesale repair facilities, etc., and don't typically leave a lot of money on the table.  The only way a salvage car economically comes back to life is either by cutting corners or with a lot of free labor.

                   

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                  • #10
                    I've had one. It was a little quirky with some of the electrical stuff. It was a good deal for what we could afford at the time. It's worth having a mechanic show you what was repaired. There's a reason it was totaled and not everything was fixed. The question is whether you can deal with what was not fixed and be okay with that.

                    Don't plan on ever selling it. You will need to drive it into the ground. I totaled it again a few years later. I probably won't buy another one. Make sure you're getting a HUGE discount for it.
                    Helping those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street since 2011

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                    • #11
                      I have an FJ. They are built like tanks. And you are right, a clean 2007 with 130,000 miles will easily go for $15/16K. Find out exactly what caused the insurance to declare it a loss. If it was body damage I'd say buy it. If the word frame ever comes up walk away. Anything else in between, it is your call.

                      Things to check on a 2007 are fender bulges and rear diff status (it was upgraded in later years). fjcruiserforums.com for everything you need to know about the truck.

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                      • #12
                        I had no idea older FJs were worth that much

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                        • #13




                          I had no idea older FJs were worth that much
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                          It's crazy how expensive they can be. I've found several on autotrader and Craigslist with over 200k miles asking 8-10k. Even found a couple with 300k miles!

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                          • #14




                            I have an FJ. They are built like tanks. And you are right, a clean 2007 with 130,000 miles will easily go for $15/16K. Find out exactly what caused the insurance to declare it a loss. If it was body damage I’d say buy it. If the word frame ever comes up walk away. Anything else in between, it is your call.

                            Things to check on a 2007 are fender bulges and rear diff status (it was upgraded in later years). fjcruiserforums.com for everything you need to know about the truck.
                            Click to expand...


                            I have a good friend who owns an autobody shop. He assures me that when the insurance company totals it out, it really will cost more than it is worth to make it good as new. You are buying a car that is not good as new even after being rebuilt and made shiney again. Whether the aspects of it that aren't new are a big deal to you or not depends on both you and the car. Shortcuts were taken compared to what a complete restoration would be. It would behoove you to know what the shortcuts were before buying. You may be just fine with them, but you should be getting this car at a big discount compared to one without a salvage title.
                            Helping those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street since 2011

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                            • #15
                              It really depends on why it was considered a total loss. A vehicle that is worth $15k had a lot more damage than just a front wheel. Floods, frame damage, etc., are all things I'd stay away from. Honestly, Unless it was in a hail storm and all the damage was cosmetic, I'd walk away. That vehicle will be more hassle than the money you think you'd save.

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