How To Buy A Salvage Car In 10 Simple Steps

Buying a salvage car

Buying a salvage car is an epitome of burgeoning automobile passion with a visionary repair debt. It’s a thriving industry and an entirely different world of auctions, title rebrands and bustling global business of imports and exports of cars. Quite often it is the route usually chosen by car aficionados wanting to turn around the design and test their creativity and mechanic skills, or vehicle rebuilders, auctioneers, artists and scrap dealers. Buying a salvage car is an art for some. A gamble for others. Let’s explore a few ways you can make this a smoother buying experience if this is the route you choose.

When is a car called “Salvage”?

Every vehicle in the U.S. receives title’ from the Department of Transport which includes the details of vehicle ownership and history. Salvage is a vehicle Title Brand’ given to automobiles that have been damaged or deemed as a total loss by the insurance company after the vehicle may have suffered accidents, natural disasters or theft.

The way the insurance companies decide to give a vehicle the salvage title is-

when the cost of repairing the car exceeds 75 to 100 % of its total value.


Although salvage is term primarily used and applied to cars in the U.S., it has now become the informally coined term for such cars globally and is often used as search words for some of the most dynamic car auctions in the world.

1.Find the right Salvage Car for your needs

Find  Salvage Car

With the growing number of Salvage cars being traded, it is almost impossible to not find one near you. It is important that you first define your reasons for the purchase. Whether you want to buy the salvage car to take some parts, to rebuild it, or purely for scrap, your search and options may differ.

The easiest way would be to run a quick Google search stating your Location and the term “Salvage Car Auction/ Sale”, and you would be surprised at the number of results and offers available. Some of the leading and reputable salvage car auction sites include

A Better Bid


Auto Auction Mall


Each website has testimonials and reviews, and verification certifications, however, be sure to double check the source and credibility before making any payment. Many auctions take place everyday world over, and there is often a possibility there could be one happening close to you. The salvage car trade is turning out to be a highly professional community that is slowly shedding its shoddy reputation while transforming into a globally booming industry, led by demand. In case you go to a live auction, make sure to take your moolah with you as if you win the bid, you would be requested to make a 25% upfront deposit.

2. Do a History Check

 Do a History Check

Once you have decided and shortlisted your vehicle, the next step is to check the ehicle History’ and ensure that its title registration is done. A title registration history will help you with the details of past owners and vehicle conditions so you have a clear perspective before purchasing.

You can do so by checking the Vehicle Identification Number on services like CARFAX- a globally trusted source of vehicle history information, having over 150 million records of cars registered in Europe, US and Canada. Alternatively, there is also AUTOCHECK- which has a very good record tracking world over as well. While in the U.K., V- Check is the leading tracker.

3. Get a Pre-Purchase Inspection

 Do a History Check

While purchasing a Salvage car is recommended for the auto experts and those who can understand the mechanisms of the automobile and weigh its possible functionalities or threats; it is recommended that regardless of whether the buyer is an expert or not, a thorough external inspection must be done before the purchase.

4. Get Insurance Possibility Check with Your Insurance Company

It would be advisable to check the viability of insurance for the Salvage car and the requirements so that you can ensure a smooth after-sale insurance issuance.

A salvaged car is often given liability insurance. Most often people buy salvage cars and later realize that it does not suffice the insurance checklist. Make sure you do this before the purchase.

5. Get Your Sale Agreement Deed

 Your Sale Agreement Deed

If the inspection satisfies you to proceed, it would be recommendable to ensure that you have all relevant details,

●Title brand registration of the vehicle

●Vehicle identification number

●Past owner details

●Past insurance details

With the above information, you can make a legal Sale Agreement deed describing the sale of the Salvaged Car to its new owner (You), while protecting yourself legally in case there is any ownership confusion in the future.

6. Arranging the Transport of Your Salvage Car

Transport salvage cars

Until a salvage car clears its title from “Salvage” to “Repaired/Rebuilt”, it cannot be legally or safely driven on the road. Normally auctioneers and independent dealers have a fixed transport partnership that they work with and are familiar with consistent and on-point deliveries working with them over a period of time. You can arrange the transport via your seller’s existing partner, or arrange one yourself. The vehicle is normally towed from the source to the location unless imported.

7. Repair Your Salvage Car

repair cars

Once you have your car delivered, and a million possibilities ahead, the next thing would be to “Repair/Rebuilt” it if you want to drive it legally and safely.

8. Get an Inspection

salvage Car Inspection

Get a mechanic to inspect all parts of your repaired vehicle. Getting a personal inspection, before presenting to the state transport departments for certification or insurance company for insurance, will give you more confidence in driving and safety.

8. Change title from “Salvage” to “Rebuilt”

Change title from “Salvage” to “Rebuil

A rebuilt title is given to salvage vehicles that have been repaired and ready to drive successfully after passing the inspection tests by the state motor department. A “rebuilt” title will allow you to drive the vehicle, insure it or sell it.

10. Get an Insurance

Now that you have a “rebuilt” title to your salvaged vehicle, you can go back to your insurance agent with the title certificate issued by the state motor department and get your insurance for the ready-to-drive vehicle.

Hit the road and enjoy responsibly with your new beast!

Share Now


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here