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Differences Between A Salvage Title and Rebuilt Title

Differences Between A Salvage Title and Rebuilt Title
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Purchasing used vehicles from dealerships exposes consumers to a wide range of vehicles. In dealerships, you may come across several brands and several models, some of which are averagely affordable and some of which may be a bit above your budget. 

In some dealerships and especially online car marketplaces/auctions, you may come across vehicles that are extremely cheap and may seem too good to be true.

Here you may have to take a step back because you may be looking at a car with a salvage title, a rebuilt title, or both.

Although these terms are used quite often for damaged vehicles, it’s essential to know the differences between a salvage title vs. rebuilt title, and this article highlights the differences between both titles.

Salvage Title vs. Rebuilt Title: What is a salvage title?

A salvage title is a legal document that shows that a vehicle has sustained serious damage and has been declared a total loss by the vehicle’s insurance company.

Vehicles with salvage titles may have been severely damaged due to collisions, floods, fires, hail, etcetera.

When an insurance company inspects the level of damage sustained and examines the costs of damage repairs for a damaged vehicle, they may decide to fix it.

If the sustained damages exceed the car’s market value, they would “total” the vehicle, pay the owner the car’s market value, and take ownership of the vehicle.

These vehicles are thereafter given salvage titles to warn potential buyers about the severity of damages sustained to the car’s mechanical components and safety features.

These vehicles may be fixed and sold again in the used car market, but the salvage brand title warns these customers of what they are getting into.

To get a full title brand check of a used vehicle before purchase, you can utilize the VIN check tool provided by Detailed Vehicle History.

Pros and Cons of a Salvage Title

Are you considering buying a used vehicle with a salvage title vs. rebuilt title? Should you buy a salvage-title car? 

If you are, then you must be aware of the pros and cons before committing to any used car purchase.

Here are the common pros and cons of buying a vehicle with a salvage title.

Pros of buying a salvage-title car

1. Lower prices

Salvage-title cars are comparatively cheaper than other used cars. Some used car buyers use salvage-title brands as a loophole to purchase good, reliable vehicles at really cheap prices. 

If you are a car buyer with a really tight budget, salvage-title cars would be a great option for you. Sometimes, salvage-title cars can be sold for as little as 20 to 30 cents on the dollar, making them relatively affordable for consumers.

2. Availability

When it comes to availability, salvage-title cars are usually more available compared to non-salvage-title cars. 

Salvage-title cars are always available, giving car buyers a wide range of options to choose from. These vehicles can be found at car sales, dealerships, online marketplaces, auctions, and so on.

3. Customization

A vehicle with a salvage title may have had most of its exterior, interior, and mechanical components destroyed. 

This means that if you are a skilled mechanic or know one, you can fix up the car with recommended parts and make it as comfortable and reliable as you want.

ALSO READ: Is It Better to Buy a Used Car Compared to a New Car?

Salvage Title vs. Rebuilt Title: What is a rebuilt title?

After a vehicle has been given a salvage title, most states prohibit such vehicles from being driven.

In such cases, these vehicles can be worked on and essentially rebuilt with standard materials and mechanical components.

After successful repairs, salvage cars can be carried out for a state salvage inspection at the DMV.

If the vehicle passes the inspection, it is issued a rebuilt title, signifying that it was a salvage vehicle but is now safe to drive.

The main difference between a salvage title and vs. rebuilt title is that salvage cars are sold “as is,” implying that the buyers would have to make the repairs themselves.

A rebuilt title, on the other hand, signifies that a vehicle had a salvage title but has been repaired, has passed the state inspection, and is now safe to drive.

However, it is recommended that car buyers generate vehicle history reports to easily identify title brands before car purchases.

This prevents the purchase of damaged vehicles and serves as a guide to the best vehicles in dealerships. So which is better? Rebuilt title vs. salvage title?

Pros and Cons of a Rebuilt Title

Rebuilt-title cars offer fewer risks compared to salvage-title cars, but should you buy a rebuilt-title car?

Let’s look at the benefits and downsides of purchasing a rebuilt-title vehicle.

Pros of buying a rebuilt-title car

1. Lower costs

Similar to salvage vehicles, rebuilt-title vehicles are quite affordable compared to vehicles with clean titles. Making them a good choice for used car buyers.

2. Repaired Damages

Compared to salvage-title cars, rebuilt-title cars come with little or no significant damage. All damages must have been repaired, and the vehicle must have passed the state salvage inspection at the DMV, such California DMV, before being put up for sale at dealerships.

Cons of buying a rebuilt-title car

1. Safety issues

Rebuilt cars are salvage cars that may have suffered severe mechanical damage. Safety features may have been damaged, causing a threat to safety. Some of these damages may surface in the future and cause safety problems for rebuilt-title car owners.

2. Less financing and insurance coverage options

Similar to salvage-title vehicles, vehicles with rebuilt titles have fewer financing options compared to cars with clean titles. Owners of rebuilt cars also encounter difficulties when the time comes to get insurance. Insurance companies may refuse to sell you collision or comprehensive insurance but may sell you liability insurance in case your vehicle causes damage to other people or their property.

ALSO READ: How to Spot and Avoid Common Car Repair Scams

Salvage Title vs. Rebuilt Title: Which is Better?

When it comes to purchasing used vehicles at a dealership or auction, salvage-title cars are cheaper than rebuilt-title cars, but they are also sold “as is,” which means that car buyers are responsible for all repairs and fixes.

Rebuilt cars are already completely repaired salvage-title cars. You may even be lucky enough to find a regular car that had its odometer rolled back and was labeled as a rebuilt car. With rebuilt vehicles, consumers get better value for their money.

Salvage Title vs. Rebuilt Title: How to Run a Title Brand History Check

A title-brand history check is the best way to discover the title brands on a vehicle before purchase.

With the VIN check tool, car buyers can easily gain access to their vehicles’ information and histories.

With this tool, a car user can easily generate a concise vehicle history report and identify the title brands on a vehicle.

Some other details contained in a vehicle history report from Detailed Vehicle History include:

  • Auction history.
  • Accident history.
  • Damage history.
  • Sales history.
  • Service history.
  • Maintenance history.
  • Vehicle specifications.
  • Odometer readings.
  • Theft records.
  • Title-brand records, and more.

Overall, if the asking price of a vehicle is too good to be true, it’s possible that it has a rebuilt or salvage title.

To be certain of your vehicle’s safety status before purchase, it is recommended that a VIN check be performed and a vehicle history report be generated.

At the end of the day, buying a rebuilt vs. salvage-titled car is entirely up to the buyer and their immediate needs.

If you have the time and effort to fix a salvage-title car, then you may proceed to purchase one; otherwise, you can opt for a rebuilt-title car.

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