please explain salvage titles | FerrariChat

please explain salvage titles

Discussion in 'Ferrari Discussion (not model specific)' started by zjpj, Jan 17, 2004.

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  1. zjpj

    zjpj F1 Veteran

    Nov 4, 2003
    Anyone want to give me "Salvage Title 101"

    Questions I am interested in include: what is it? How does it work? Will the car always have the salvage title or can you get a regular title once it's repaired? If the car has a salvage title in one state, what happens if you want to take it out of state and register it in another state?

    Many thanks.
  2. sparta49

    sparta49 F1 Veteran

    Mar 3, 2001
    Full Name:
    Here in Louisiana before a salvage title car can be registered the state police must examine it, supposedly to make sure it is roadworthy but really to check that the vin has not been tampered with.
  3. AnotherDunneDeal

    AnotherDunneDeal F1 Veteran

    Jun 2, 2003
    N.Richland Hills, Tx
    Full Name:
    James Dunne
    A salvage title means the car has either been totaled, flooded or a stolen recovery car. When a car receives a salvage title it means the insurance company has paid off and sold the car to someone who deals in salvage vehicles. This is usually the kiss of death to the value of a vehicle. You will not be able to tell if it is one that has been totaled and put back together with the front and rear of two different cars put together or what. It could also have been submerged in a flood and the carpets and seats replaced to erase the symptoms of the damage. In this case the damage will not show up until months later when the electrical connections start to corrode and the mold and mildew start to show up.

    The salvage title is supposed to stay intact even when moving from state to state but I have heard of some states issuing new clean titles when the car is registered in that state. I see this as very unethical but some shady, fly-by-night operators have been known to do it.

    Stay away from a salvage title car unless you are 100% sure you know the complete history of it and you plan on keeping the car and never selling it to someone else. I would not purchase a car for our dealership with a salvage title no matter how nice the car and no matter how low the price. Too many liabilities can arise.
  4. Horsefly

    Horsefly F1 Veteran

    May 14, 2002
    One more note on salvage titles. The saddest situation is when a car gets stolen. Suppose somebody steals a Ferrari by loading it onto a flatbed wrecker and transports it to a warehouse. It simply sits there for a few months and is then spotted by somebody and the police recover it. There could theoritically be absolutely nothing wrong or damaged about the car. But if the owner settled with the insurance company while the car was missing, the car now has been officially declared a "total loss" by the insurance company. And now that the car is owned by the insurance company, it will be reissued a "total loss" title by the DMV in the name of the insurance company.
    So here you have an excellent car with no damage that is branded for the rest of its life with a "total loss" or "salvage" title. Not good. But this is one way that a car can be in excellent condition with no damage, and yet still have a salvage title. Rare, but it does happen.
  5. Welsh

    Welsh Rookie

    Dec 16, 2003

    Exactly how serious is flood damaging and how can you tell without a carfax?

    A couple of months ago I was shopping aorund and I found a 2000 BMW 330ci for $20k. Too good to be true, carfax revealed that it had flood damaged. :(
  6. goyal99

    goyal99 Karting

    Mar 5, 2002
    Upstate NY - USA
    Full Name:
    V K

    I currently have a "salvage" titled Porsche 928 registered in NY State....This particular vehicle has had a front fender-bender (no frame damage) and originally had a salvage PA title. It was a running and driving car when I purchased it. I then replaced both front fenders, front bumper and repaired the hood...All replaced parts were USED factory parts because we all know what dealers are charging for new parts, right?? So after a front nose repaint, the 928 looks and drives like new with no signs of repair to the casual observer . The total cost of putting this car back on the road was LESS THAN HALF the insurance company's original estimate for repairs.

    In NY State, in order to register a salvage vehicle, one must have the the repaired vehicle examined by a DMV officer and present all receipts for parts and work done to the vehicle. The DMV officers basically are checking for stolen parts, that's why all receipts for parts are necessary.

    Is a salvage branded vehicle worth buying???

    It all depends on the type of "damage" the vehicle has had, and how well this "damage" was repaired (i.e. detailed repaired bills are a must)....Personally I won't touch cars with twisted frames or roll-overs. Keep in mind that it doesn't take much "damage" for the insurance company to declare a car a complete loss....In the case of an older Ferrari or Porsche, even a fender-bender coupled with the outregeous dealer prices for parts, can render a car not-worth-repairing by the insurance. Hence a "salvage" vehicle...

    Most people shy away from "salvage" cars for good reasons. Others, like myself, can see an opportunity when looking for a particular salvage vehicle.....I say: do you homework and ask lots of questions when it comes to salvage cars....If there are no repair receipts with the vehicle, then stay away....On the other hand a quality repair job is easy to spot when the car looks and drives like it was never damaged.....

  7. icars

    icars Formula Junior

    Mar 28, 2002
    Plano Texas
    Full Name:
    Rodney Haas
    The answer is yes there are ways to "wash" a title. The problem is with companies like Carfax it probably will not do any good. In fact if you "wash" a title it will probably end up worse over all since it will really stick out in carfax.
  8. sduke

    sduke Formula Junior

    Mar 10, 2003
    The Hub City, Texas
    Full Name:
    Steven D
    One additional note about cars carrying salvage titles. Very few lending institutions will loan any funds on a vehicle with a salvage title. Insurance can be difficult in some states. I was told by my insurance agent that in Texas, few companies will re-insure a salvage vehicle.

    I used to rebuild totals to sell. I no longer do so. The market is dangerous and liability issues are a real problem. Plus, rebuilding desirable autos (BMW, Porsche, Mercedes, Ferrari, etc.) requires that your potential buyer must have the total purchase price in cash. This severely limits your available market.

    my .02
  9. thecarreaper

    thecarreaper F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed

    Sep 30, 2003
    ah what a topic, here in GA you can get a car with a salvage title with any kind or amout of damage, fix it, have it inspected, and THE DMV GIVES YOU A CLEAN TITLE.!!!!!! yea i know its wierd. i know of 2 low mileage almost new cars that this was done to recently, but in their defense they gave one car to their teenage son to drive to school and work, and the other to the aging grandma. if you get a car from out of state with a salvage title, ga will give you a clean ga title when it passes inspection, and here in south ga we dont to emissions testing of any kind, it only has to meet a structure and safety inspection. as for me i would by a fcar with a salvage title as long as the facts are detailed. a car is a machine , nothing more. **** happens. fix it and drive it!
  10. SRT Mike

    SRT Mike Two Time F1 World Champ

    Oct 31, 2003
    Full Name:
    Raymond Luxury Yacht
    Personally, I think flood damage is the worst kind of salvage title, moreso than a "total loss accident". Cars in floods get water EVERYWHERE. In the HVAC vents, in the electronics, and in every crevice and nook and cranny you will never see or be able to get to. Parts that were never intended to get wet, will get wet and eventually corrode. Flood water isn't sterile and bacteria will form, including mildew, often giving a nasty smell that simply cannot be removed. Electrical connections that were never supposed to get wet will corrode and its generally accepted that flood cars are electrical nightmares.

    Regarding salvages in general, I would NEVER consider one unless I KNEW what happened to total the car. My father had an RX7 back in the day that was not worth much. He got into a very light fender bender, but the front fascia and mounting hardware was so much to replace, the car was totaled, even though it ran and drove perfect and had zero frame or suspension damage, only cosmetic. On the other hand, there was a guy selling a totalled Viper on eBay, and he was VERY misleading. He showed "pics of the damage" that didn't actually show where the car was hit. But you could tell the frame had been trashed. The car was not fixed right, and as I understand two buyers won the auction but passed on the car after seeing how misleading he had been in his description. A third bought the car but managed to get the guy to take it back after discovering the extent of the damage.

    Salvage can mean anything from a thief keying/smashing a car and doing zero frame/engine damage, to a frame and a bunch of parts from lots of different cars, welded together into a hunk of junk.

    The amazing thing is salvage cars seem to sell for 10-20% below market value, if that. There will ALWAYS be someone out there who sees a salvage title as a cheap way to own a nicer car than they could otherwise afford. These people will bid a car's value up above what it's really worth. These folks don't care so much about the condition of the car as much as owning a nicer car than their money would otherwise buy. For this reason I would stay away from salvage cars, because they generally go for more than their market value.
  11. norm

    norm Karting

    May 30, 2003
    Rochester, NY
    Flood damage is one of the worst, especially if salt water involved. The newer the car, the more electronics, the worse it can be. automotive electrical connectors were not designed to run submerged. The odds that these connections were disconnected, and dried out/treated with contact spray is extremely small. This is a recipe for long term electrical headaches.

    Even with boats, which have electrical designed for a marine environment, run into electrical issues, if they are sunk and recovered.

    Again, it comes down to economics and time. If can buy the car cheap enough to cover replacing various electrical items, potentially could work out. Normally, not the case.
  12. Bandit

    Bandit Formula Junior

    Dec 21, 2003
    Central MS
    Full Name:
    Mike B.
    Mississippi is like Georgia. If a car is declared a total loss, the car gets a salvage title. But once it is fixed and proven roadworthy, the DMV will issue a clean title. I guess you could then take a clean MS title to another state and get a clean title there.

    In most instances though, Carfax will still show where a salvage title was issued.

    If you know what damage caused the salvage in the first place and can be sure it was fixed properly, a salvage title car can be a good deal if you want to keep it. Resale on a salvage title car can be a bit of a problem as the pool of buyers is much smaller and they also are looking for a good deal.
  13. Fastviper

    Fastviper F1 Rookie

    Nov 20, 2003
    Full Name:
    I used to be in the salvage repair business and I can tell you that If you can buy and fix for half the cost of retail then its a good deal cause you get a car for 1/2 price, if you cant, stay away.

    The thing to look for is value and damage there are millions of cars on the road today that would be salvaged if they were older or had less value for example my mother went out and bought a new car and a few weeks later someone ran into her and the price to fix it was 14000 the car was worth 28000 so they fixed it and she still has a clean title now had the same car been worth 12000 they would of totaled it.

    So if you take the resale values of ferraris and you wreck a 150k car and it costs 40K to fix then the insurance company is going to fix it and leave the clear title, and if the owner or dealer doesnt tell you its wrecked you will never know. So dont be worried about buying a salvage title as long as its not too totaled.

    I have seen cars with a wrecked fender that have been totaled.
  14. miked

    miked Formula Junior

    Feb 7, 2001
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    A lot of good info in this thread. The bottom line, if you are serious about a salvaged title car, do a lot of investigation. Sometimes it is just a matter of administration, ie: a stolen and recovered car with no damage. A friend (who is a damage estimater for an insurance company) bought a Mustang GT under those circumstances. It had been recovered with only a few scratches but since the claim had been payed, the car had a salvage title. He knew the circumstances and the history of the car so he got a great deal.

    My current winter driver has a salvage title. In 1995 I bought my 1987 Audi 5000TQ at a wholesale price from a dealer, it had 125K miles on it so they couldn't sell it. The same friend, while working with the dealers body shop on a claim, asked about the car which was about to be sent to auction. I bought it cheap and drove it for years. In 2001 I hit a deer which damaged the LF fender, hood, left headlight assembly and the rad support bulkhead. The insurance company did an estimate using Audi dealer prices and with 180K miles on it at the time, it was totaled. I settled for taking the car back AND a check for an amount that was actually $9 more than I had bought the car for 5 years earlier. I spent $140 for all the repair parts at a U-pull-it junkyard and repaired the car (sans paintwork). I had to submit the car to State Police for verifcation to actually get a title (salvage) as the insur. co. just gives you the paperwork and the state gives you a "one trip permit" in order to get to the inspection. I had to provide all receipts WITH the vin # of the donor car with a photo or tracing of the plate. They checked the numbers on all the parts and verified with the junkyard that the parts came from their car. They also run a check on the person presenting the car for any warrants, tickets and past history (fishing expedition). My friend as well as my neighbor (bodyshop mgr.) gave me a heads up on the proceedure so I had all my paperwork in order as well as pictures of every phase of the repair. It's a "YOU have to prove the parts are not stolen" situation. I still drive the car today (225K miles) and in my case I knew the car and did all the repairs.

    My state is very leary of titles from the south (AL, MS, GA) because of the ease of "title washing" there. We use to get a lot of clean title rebuilds here until a few years ago when a TV news report showcased the rebuilder industry. They showed several cars that were the good ends of two totaled wrecks welded together. People were buying them as "clean used cars".

    I wouldn't consider a flood car (most states won't let them be sold except for parts), for any other I would investigate very thoughly completely independant of what the seller says. If all checks out then it would still be priced to reflect the "salvage" title.
  15. goyal99

    goyal99 Karting

    Mar 5, 2002
    Upstate NY - USA
    Full Name:
    V K
  16. jsu800

    jsu800 Rookie

    Jan 24, 2004
    Does any of you know the answer to this: I spotted a 1994 Ferrari on a newspaper with just ONE carfax history! The only history listed was that someone had actually taken title in TX in 2001 and there was no previous mileage reading reported. The car now has about 25K mileage on it.

    Could this car has been in any sort of prior accidents, flood situations, stolen histories, etc? Or could it be a salvage title car? From

    This is weird.... Any comments?
  17. racedecknc

    racedecknc Karting

    Nov 24, 2003
    Winston Salem
    Full Name:
    Carfax would tell you loud and clear if there was a salvage title or not, most of the time.

    There are lots of exotics out there owned by people with enough money that they don't claim against their insurance if there is an accident. The problem with this is you can buy a 'totalled' car with clean history and either a) fix it, or b) transfer VINs to a stolen car.

    I used to rebuild wrecks also. In addition to GA and MS, you have to be VERY careful if you buy anything in Kentucky. They are infamous for washing titles, and nearly anyone can get a dealers' license there and set up shop. Many states now declare cars "junk" if the damage is substantial enough, and many of these washer states will give a 'regular' salvage title to a junk title car, and you can fix and re-register the car....BUT, if you take it to a state that looks at the previous "junk" status, they won't register the car, even if it has been repaired.

    I wouldn't hesitate to buy a salvaged Ferrari (or any car for that matter) if there were pics/receipts of the damage and repairs, but I'd really prefer to buy the car wrecked and repair it myself knowing that the repairs were done right. Again, the price has to be right, but there is always a buyer for a salvaged car with good documentation, you won't be "stuck with the car forever" as some have said.

  18. JOHN328

    JOHN328 Karting

    Jan 2, 2003
    Full Name:
    Remember, a total loss is the repair cost plus the salvage value that exceeds the martket value of the car. Some cars (ie Ferrari) can have fairly high value in the wreck condition.

  19. saiid

    saiid Karting

    Jan 6, 2004
    London, UK
    I wouldn't take the risk. Consider an alternative vehicle, or if your budget doesn't allow, consider another model. As you go further up the food chain, the risk increases exponentially.. Be careful! It could turn into a real nightmare.
  20. LP400S

    LP400S Formula 3

    May 18, 2002
    West Coast
    Carfax is definately not that perfect or something to totally rely on when buying a car.I have seen plenty of mistakes.I know someone who had 9000 miles on his car and went in for a emisson test. Well the person there typed in 90,000 miles by mistake and thats what carfax now has. Shows mileage rollback if you check.Carfax wil not do any corections. Just because there is no prior history wouldn't necessarily be bad. It could just mean that there was nothing reported to them before then. From what I her alot of states didn't report to them before. just my 2 cents.

  21. mfennell70

    mfennell70 Formula Junior

    Nov 3, 2003
    Middletown, NJ
    I have had similar experiences TWICE thanks to the NJ DMV. My '95 BMW M3 got registered with 232000 miles in 1997 (rather than 32000) and my Lotus Esprit was recorded as "Not Actual Mileage" when I first registered it.

    At the time I sold my BMW, carfax gave me a form to send in. I never followed up to see if the correction had been made.

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