Should You Buy A Vehicle With A Salvage Title?
My sister reached out to me today and asked my opinion on a car she was going to go look at, a 2010 Honda Fit with 152,000 miles on it. I received a couple of screen shots from the Facebook post and it actually looked like it was in pretty decent shape. Asking price for it was $5500.
The price seemed a smidgen high, but I don't know much about those cars so I pulled it up on NADA. I always go to their site before Kelley Blue Book as NADA is in my experience more accurate. I also will use both sometimes and kind of meet in the middle on pricing to determine a vehicle's worth. What the seller was asking wasn't too far off on pricing until I received another screenshot that mentioned it had a salvage title.
Salvage titles are generally a red flag in my book but vehicles can get those for a variety of reasons. Flood or fire damage are usually a big no-no as I've dealt with vehicles that have been through that and it's usually a nightmare of electrical issues. Theft, hail, and vandalism are also reasons there might be a salvage title involved, and sometimes those aren't too bad if they get fixed right.
According to Kelley Blue Book (KBB), "a salvage – title car is typically worth 20% to 40% less than one with a clean title." Again, this is going to depend on what kind of damage the vehicle had and then it's up to you to decide to take the risk. Also, if you need to get a loan for whatever you are purchasing, some banks may night finance the total amount you need or might not at all.
Being that the seller of the Honda didn't have listed why it was a salvage title, my sister decided to pass on looking at it. I did encourage her to at least ask but Dad stepped in and said, "you're not buying a #$%^*$% salvage title car".
If you're in the market though and you come across a salvage title, at least be cautious, run a CARFAX, and do your homework on the vehicle, so you don't end up with someone else's problem.