Buying a used car can be a nerve-wracking experience. After all, as the saying goes, you are buying somebody else’s problems. However, a used car with a rebuilt title isn’t necessarily one.
Let’s take a moment to understand what a rebuilt title is and how it can be a good purchase for a used car. Understand, as always, it’s only a good purchase if the price is right.
A rebuilt title is given to a used car that was deemed salvaged. We explained salvage titles in a previous post. Basically, it’s a car that has been significantly damaged to the point where an insurance company says it’s not worth repairing.
However, if you’re handy and do your own repairs, a used car with a salvage title can be a great deal. You should be able to acquire one for at least 50 percent of its trade-in value.
A major problem with salvage titles is most buyers aren’t willing to buy a used car with one. That’s where rebuilt titles come in. In effect, you take a car with a salvage title, do documented repair work, and have it pass a state inspection.
Once that’s done, the state will issue you a new title that states the car has been rebuilt. It no longer has the salvage title associated with it.
So, why are cars with rebuilt titles possibly good deals? There is documented work that they have been repaired. Make the seller show you the same paperwork he or she used to get the new title. No legitimate seller won’t have copies. You can then use the paperwork to have your mechanic inspect the car just to verify the work that was done still exists. For example, an unscrupulous person could add new parts, get the new title, and then remove the parts.
Once the work has been documented, you know you have a good vehicle on your hands. It’s important to get that inspection done if you’re not mechanically adept. Frankly, though, if you can afford a used car without a rebuilt title, it’s always going to be easier to sell the car down the road with a clean title. Rebuilt titles work best if you plan to keep the car until it dies.