It’s not unusual to come across a car with a rebuilt title when purchasing a used vehicle. but how is a rebuilt title car different from any other? How does a rebuilt title affect a car’s value or how much do you pay for car insurance?
To answer the first question, a car receives a rebuild title after it has been totaled and then repaired to the point that it is safe for the road.
There are pros and cons to buying a vehicle with a rebuilt title, as you can imagine. You’ll learn about both in this article, which covers eight things to know about rebuilt title cars, including:
- a rebuilt car could save you money
- You may find it difficult to sell a car with a rebuilt title
- Not all insurance companies cover rebuilt title cars
- kelley blue book
- auto check
- how was the car damaged?
- how extensive was the damage?
- How was the vehicle repaired and who did the repairs?
- Is the frame correctly aligned?
- has the car been examined by a certified mechanic?
- Will my insurance company cover a car with a rebuilt title?
- Large dents or crushed fuel lines under the car.
- a malfunctioning air bag light. (this could be a sign that it was not replaced correctly).
- uneven tread.
- hood, trunk or doors that do not close properly.
- leaves, silt or sand on the trunk.
- mud or sediment in the glove department.
- wet carpets.
- musty smell.
- air freshener or other scent used to cover musty smell.
a rebuilt car could save you money
Cars with rebuilt titles are often cheaper than other used vehicles. How much could you save by buying a rebuilt or rebuilt car? Fifty percent, according to Jason Shackelford, owner of Stingray Auto Repair in Redmond, Wash. Of course, how much you save on a rebuilt car depends on a number of factors, such as the popularity of the vehicle and the type of damage that has been done to it.
However, this doesn’t mean that rebuilt-titled cars are cheaper than clean-titled used cars in the long run. If you don’t have your rebuilt or rebuilt car properly inspected before you buy it, you may have to pay for expensive repairs in the future.
cars with rebuilt titles must pass an inspection
If you’re wary of buying a car that was once salvaged, remember this: To get a rebuilt title, a car often has to pass a state inspection.
That doesn’t mean there won’t be surprises in the future. but it should make you feel at least a little more confident about buying a rebuilt car, especially if you also have it inspected by a trusted mechanic before finalizing your purchase.
get a second opinion before buying a car with a rebuilt title
Most salvage cars must pass an inspection before receiving a rebuilt title, but don’t stop there. have a mechanic check out the rebuilt cars he’s thinking of buying as well.
Remember, every car with a rebuilt title has ever been damaged to the point of inoperability. make sure the mechanic takes a close look at everything before you sign the car. someone could always repair it and then remove the new parts they added after receiving the rebuilt title.
always request documentation on rebuilt title cars
If your rebuilt car was repaired after it was totaled, there must be documented evidence of the work done to get it back in working order. if the person selling the rebuilt car you’re interested in refuses to give you this documentation, run! anyone trying to sell a reputable rebuilt vehicle won’t mind providing the documentation.
“Ask for receipts for repairs and make sure they were done by a reputable facility, not Uncle Joe’s backyard,” Shackelford said.
You can also search the history of your rebuilt car using sites like:
Your state department of motor vehicles (dmv) can also help.
It is important to know why your car was salvaged and how it was repaired. for example, it could have been rebuilt with parts from other totaled vehicles. while it may work fine, because it was fixed with aftermarket parts, you’ll need to maintain it differently in the future than you otherwise would.
you may have trouble selling your rebuilt car
Because rebuilt title cars can be problematic, they are often difficult to resell. And if you end up selling your rebuilt car, you’ll likely make less profit from the sale than if your vehicle had a clean title.
It’s also worth mentioning here that some dealers won’t accept rebuilt title cars in exchange for other cars.
here’s how to insure a car with a rebuilt title
Some car insurance companies will not insure a car with a rebuilt title. others will insure them, but won’t offer full coverage. This is because it can be difficult to calculate the true value of a car that has been rebuilt.
If an insurer refuses to cover your car because you have a rebuilt title, you still have options. shop around and compare quotes to find an insurance company that covers vehicles with rebuilt titles.
six questions to ask yourself before buying a rebuilt vehicle
You should ask yourself these questions and get them answered before you agree to buy a rebuilt car:
make sure the rebuilt car isn’t a lemon
While some cars with rebuilt titles are good, cheap vehicles to buy, own and drive, others are lemons to avoid at all costs.
“It’s very common for repairs not to be done correctly,” Shackelford said. “it’s a good idea to look for panel fit. lines or gaps between body panels are a sure sign of a good or bad repair. also, paint color from panel to panel should match exactly, not drift for a tone or two.”
Consumer reports warn that if you see any of the following on a rebuilt title car, think twice before buying:
Signs of flood damage to a vehicle include:
“Buying a car with a rebuilt title [can be] great or it can be a nightmare,” Shackelford said. “there really is no middle ground, so the buyer needs to be careful.”
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