What’s the Difference between New, Rebuilt, and Salvage Titled Vehicles?

When buying a vehicle, looking at what the title is branded may be a determining factor that affects the final decision. It should be noted that the actual title, which deems ownership, is different the title’s brand. Title branding is the use of a permanent designation on the vehicle’s title, registration, or any other documents relating to the ownership and legality of the vehicle. The most common three “brands” on a vehicle’s title in North America are Clean, Rebuilt, and Salvage. These indicate how many accidents have been written off by insurance on the vehicle. A car’s title brand will also have an affect on its price.

Clean Title

Generally speaking, cars that have a clean title are either new or only a few years old. A clean title means that the vehicle does not have a history of accidents or replaced/repaired parts. However, a car that has been in an accident may still have a clean title if it was not reported through insurance, and was fixed “off record”. Though this is illegal, it’s surprisingly common. A car with a clean title will be a lot more expensive than a car with a rebuilt or salvage title, as everything is most likely the same as it was when it was bought brand new from the dealer. Used cars with a clean title are still rather pricey, and they only tend to be a few years old without too many miles added up.

Rebuilt Title

The definition of a rebuilt title vehicle varies depending on location. The most common being a car that was previously wrecked, which would have a salvage title, that was reconstructed back to working condition, usually with used or refurbished parts. It’s not uncommon to see a car with a different colored door, hood, or other exterior body part. Cars like these have a rebuilt title, as the part was damaged and replaced. Vehicles with rebuilt titles are often severely damaged before they are fixed, and in some cases, the extend of the damage is to terrible it would be a better option to get a new car entirely. A rebuilt title means that the car will run and work properly, and the price will be quite a few grand lower. Buying a used car with a rebuilt title is a good option for people on a budget, but always make sure to get a pre buying inspection before buying to make sure everything works properly.

Salvage Title

A car will normally become a salvage vehicle after an insurance company declares it a “total loss” after an accident. A vehicle is determined a total loss when the cost of repairs are higher than the value of the vehicle itself. Some states do not allow people to sell cars with a salvage title, and the vehicle can’t be legally driven or have a valid license plate. A salvage vehicle can be fixed back to working order, and if it passes inspection, can become a rebuilt vehicle, once again legal for sale. In places that do allow the sale of salvage vehicles, insurance rates will be awful, though the price of the car itself will be exponentially cheaper than normal. Unless there is a plan to change the salvage title to rebuilt, consumer buying is not a good idea.

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