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You have several choices when buying a salvage car at auction. There’s salvage tile, wrecked, repairable, damaged, project, flood damaged or theft recovery cars and trucks.
Damaged repairable cars may have had collision damage, vandalism, flood damage or theft recovery. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the insurance company has decided that repair costs would be more than the vehicle’s worth and called it a total loss. In fact, in some cases “damaged” might mean little more than cosmetic damage -- trim, sheet metal, headlights and taillights, bumpers—that sort of thing. In other cases, it can mean more severe and extensive damage, such as a bent frame, deployed airbag or damage that affects safety-related systems like brakes, ABS or steering.
Remember that in cases of collision damage, there are times when a car or truck won’t show much in the way of external damage or frame damage, but the impact of the collision can affect the transmission and drivetrain, or can cause body-related electrical damage to sensors and wiring that can plague the car for the rest of its life.
That being said, there are plenty of damaged repairable cars and trucks languishing in junkyards or in the auction system that can be put back together and made into safe, reliable vehicles again. In many cases, a late-model banged-up car can be bought at 50-75% lower than the Kelly Blue Book price; at those sort of prices, the time, effort and expense you put into it can still add up to a good bargain. You just need to know what you’re getting into, what kind of damage the car has and how extensive it is, and what your own rebuilding skills are like. The last thing you want is to get in over your head on a vehicle that has more problems than what you’re capable of fixing!
That’s why if you’re in doubt, it’s a good idea to inspect the car personally, or have AutoBidMaster send out a licensed independent inspector. A trained set of eyes might be able to spot problems that wouldn’t readily present themselves otherwise. Either way, if you go it alone or bring a friend along, make absolutely sure you do the best inspection on the vehicle that you can before you start bidding!
And as for bidding on an online car auction, remember that you will be bidding alongside dealers who buy cars regularly to fix up. Don’t let yourself go in any deeper than you can afford to.
By buying at low prices on online auctions, and inspecting the car, or having the car inspected professionally, it's possible to avoid potential problems. At least if you get a late model damaged repairable car and you can get a pretty firm grip on how much work it will need, you can feel fairly certain that it’s going to have some good miles ahead of it.