How to Sell a Salvaged Car

Sometimes Salvaged Cars still have parts worth money...

Generally speaking, vehicles get damaged through accidents, floods, being vandalised or through any other means. When this happens, it might not make economic sense to restore the vehicle to a working condition, in some cases, the owner may just want to do away with the vehicle and get a new one. Such vehicles are referred to as a “salvaged car”. It should be noted that not all vehicles that are tagged the salvage title are actually worthless, in some cases, these vehicles are tagged salvage cars because the insurance companies wrote them off. Some of these cars can actually be repaired and reused.

Salvaged cars are an inexpensive option for shoppers who are shopping on a tight budget as you can get a salvaged vehicle for around $1000 or even less. However, this depends on lots of factors. Before selling a salvaged car, sellers must be familiar with the laws governing selling salvaged cars in each state of the US because some states have very strict laws. For example, in the state of Utah, auto sellers are required to provide a written document notifying prospective buyers the branded status of the vehicle before the commencement of price negotiation. When this is not done, it is considered an offence punishable by fines.

Types of Damages

Salvage vehicles have not always been involved in collusions. There are various types of damages that might have happened to a vehicle before it is tagged the salvage title. Here is a quick rundown;

  • Damage from Hail: These are vehicles that were damaged by hail, (hardened snow that falls like ice). In most cases of this type of damage, the wind shield is destroyed and the interior is affected.
  • Damage from Flood: Flood can also cause significant damage to vehicles that makes them tagged as salvage. This is very common when there is a natural disaster like a hurricane or a tsunami. Depending on the level of the flood, it may affect the electronic components of the vehicle and the fabrics.
  • Theft Recovery: when stolen vehicles are not recovered after a long period of time, (21 days as in some states) the insurance company may write off the vehicle and pay the owner of the vehicle. If the vehicle is eventually found, the insurance company may sell it to a salvager who may replace any missing part. Here are some states that issue the salvage title to recovered vehicles. They are Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Oklahoma.
  • Non-Repairable: A vehicle that is so badly damaged that cannot be repaired gets this title. Some states refer to them as Junk title. Although this may not be a salvage title, it is worth knowing as you might come across a vehicle that falls in this category. Vehicles in this category either goes under the crusher or they are disassembled while valuable and functional components are removed.
  • Vandalism:  If a vehicle is damaged by vandals, it might get a salvage title. Damages could result from the wind shield being sprayed, the vehicle might be overturned or the chassis and wind shield being severely damaged.

How To Sell A Salvage Car

Depending on the extent of damage, salvaged vehicles can easily be sold off as in some cases, it is the preferred choice for individuals who are on a tight budget. Salvaged vehicles can be sold by the owner or agents. If the latter is the case, the owner receives a lower amount of money as the agent charges commissions for every single detail involved in the selling process. Here are some steps that is involved in selling a car with a salvage title.

  • The first step involved in this process is to make sure the vehicle is inspected by a certified mechanic from ASE, (Automotive Service Excellence). The mechanic is to make sure that all repairs that were made to the vehicle were properly done. This service costs about $80 and all documents relating to this inspection must be kept for future reference. Salvaged vehicles can be sold without repairs, but their value are significantly lesser as compared to when it is repaired. Without the vehicle being repaired, your best option might be to sell to a salvage firm or a junk yard.

  • The next step is to have the vehicle extensively washed. This would cost about $25 to $100 depending on the extent to which you want attention to be paid to details. A deluxe-type car wash would serve this purpose.

  • Next, post an advert in your local daily newspaper or on Craigslist. Attach a price tag and do not mention the salvage title in your advert. Your price should be comparatively lower than that of other vehicles that have a clean title. Sit back, relax and expect incoming phone calls.

  • When prospective buyers come for inspection, make sure you inform the buyer that the vehicle has a salvage title. Show the buyer evidence of recent repairs you made on the vehicle, allow them to go for a test drive and also visit their mechanic if they want to as that is a reasonable request. At the end, if the client is comfortable with the vehicle, payments can be made. As a seller, you can collect cash or cheque depending on your preference. Make sure that any bill of sale with respect to the salvage title is signed by the buyer.

Assuming you choose not to repair the vehicle, here are some steps you can take in selling it off.

  • When posting an advert, mention the salvage status of the vehicle so prospective clients are not disappointed when they come for inspection. Alternatively, your adverts can be posted in forums related to salvage vehicles. Make sure you post in forums that have targeted audience, do not resort to spamming out of desperation to sell of your vehicle as spammers are not welcome in most forums.

  • You can sell your salvaged vehicle at auctions, you can also sell them off online at eBay which is a very popular site for auctioning items. You can also give your vehicle to agents or search for companies online that will allow you list your vehicle on their site so you can have more publicity. You may ask what is the difference between selling at auctions and selling through an agent. Basically they are the same. The agent takes a commission from the sale of your vehicle but at the auction, you can set a minimum price for which you want the vehicle sold.

  • The last resort to selling your salvaged vehicle is to sell them to the junk yard. This option should only be considered if all other alternatives have failed. The value recovered from this sale is always less as compared to the value recovered from other methods mentioned above. Make some phone calls to some scrap yards in your locality to get the best price available for your vehicle, make a choice and have them come tow your vehicle.

In summary, salvage vehicles have salvage value, this value can be optimised when the seller makes the right decision and exercises a little bit of patience. Before sending that salvage car of yours to the scrap yard, please make sure that you have explored all options with respect to redeeming the salvage value.

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