It is important to mention to you that a lot of cars that are titled salvage are titled so by insurance companies based on their calculations and estimate of things like cost of new genuine parts, cost of repair, downtime cost, delay cost, and a lot of other terms that do not affect an individual that just wants to buy a car. The point is that they are not titled salvage solely because they cannot be repaired.
Hence, the answer to if you need to extensively work on public salvage auction cars before use is NO. At least not the ones you buy, as long as you do your homework properly.
What should you do to avoid heavy repairs costs?
Be Informed: Doing thorough research and getting information about anything before venturing into them has never hurt anyone, at least none extensive research before buying salvaged cars. The fact that you are reading this now means that you already know this and you are acting on it. Good!
Now let us focus on the insurance companies here for a moment since they are the major sellers of salvage cars. To curb criminal activities and reduce the deceit rate, the insurance companies have established a code of practice. This has proven over time to be a useful tool in categorizing salvage cars in terms of the damage level. Although following this code of practice is totally voluntary and is not as rampant as it should be.
Public auction salvage cars have been categorized alphabetically from A to D in decreasing order of damage levels. Level A and B cars are generally not repairable at least not in any economically feasible way. Such cars should be totally avoided. C tagged cars can be repaired but usually at high costs (time and money) and is cheap to purchase. They are highly recommended for mechanically inclined car enthusiasts. D tagged cars are highly repairable at cheap rates and are more expensive to buy at auctions than C tagged salvage cars but relatively very cheap compared the new ones. Cars with very minor dents, worn paints, and smoke affected can be found in this category. This is what not mechanically inclined buyers should watch out for.
If you are a buyer at a live auction where this code of practice is not followed, then you would have to be a very good inspector before bidding commences. This would save you so much repair cost if done properly. You should be on the lookout for at least the following;
- Obvious dents and damages.
- Hidden dents and damages.
- Electrical faults that may have been caused by flood.
- Engine type and authenticity.
- Leaks in water, oil and fuel reservoirs etc.
- If the auction is online, give allowance in your bids for possible unstated damage.
All these as stated above, if well adhered to, it would save the buyer a lot of stress and money during repair. This means that contrary to popular belief, you do not have to do extensive work or spend elaborately on repairs of salvage cars whether or not you are a mechanically inclined car enthusiast.