How to Properly Assess the Damage of a Salvaged Car

If you’re interested in buying a salvaged car, it’s important to know how much the car is actually worth. This means assessing the damage and deciding if any additional repairs are feasible. Once you find a car that you’re interested in bidding on or purchasing, here are a few ways to get the facts on vehicle damage so that you can make a wise purchase.

Get the VIN The VIN, or vehicle identification number, is the best way to get all the information you need about a salvage vehicle. This number confirms the make and model of the car, and is normally located on the windshield (on the driver’s side) or the inside of the door frame on the driver’s side. The VIN will allow you to search for the car online to get detailed information on the accidents the car has been in or the ways in which the vehicle has been damaged. It’s also a good idea to search the car to make sure that there isn’t more than one VIN. This could be a sign that the car was in a terrible accident and certain large parts had to be replaced.

Create a List  Make a list of all the things that need to be repaired on the car in order for you to be able to drive it on a regular basis. If you find that there are more than two or three repairs on the list that will cost you more than $200, it may not be worthwhile to purchase the car. It’s also a good idea to make a list of the parts of the car you want to replace instead of repair. Again, if your list of replacements is noticeably long, it’s probably best to look for another salvaged car.

Get An Inspection  To accurately assess the damage of the car you’re considering, have a professional mechanic inspect the vehicle. This will help you decide if the car is right for you, and you’ll learn about any scheduled maintenance repairs that are coming up for the vehicle. An inspection is necessary even if the car has a good AutoCheck history or has undergone extensive repairs after an accident. Getting the car inspected can also reveal additional details about the car, such as how many owners the vehicle has had. Chances are if several people have owned the car, the automobile did not always receive the best care. If the car was ever used as a taxi or rental car, it has sustained lots of miles and wear and tear and may not be an ideal purchase.

Consider the Climate It’s also a good idea to ask about the weather conditions the car has been in. If the salvaged car has been exposed to cold weather for an extended period of time, vehicle damage can include rust and corrosion due to road salt and snow. Corrosion can also occur on cars that are in coastal climates and are constantly exposed to saltwater air.  One or a combination of these factors can help you determine which car is right for you. While you’ll likely have to put some money into your vehicle, be sure that you’re not overspending in order to ensure you’re making a wise purchase that you’ll be satisfied with for years to come.   


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