Should You Repair a Salvage Car? All That You Need to Know

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Edgar Moulton.


Edgar Moulton. Car Expert

Are you interested in repairing salvage cars? Many drivers out there may want to bring damaged cars back to life, but there are a lot of factors they have to consider before making such a serious decision. 

Car accidents regularly happen on the entire territory of the United States. According to the 2021 statistics, there have been 36,743 car accidents recorded in New York City. This includes both fatal crashes and insignificant ones. As for all the US states combined, the number of car accidents in 2019 reached an astounding 12.15 million

It is easy to imagine the sheer number of cars that are given salvage status every single day. Almost every driver who has been in an accident asks themself the same question — is fixing salvage cars really worth it? There is no simple answer, yes or no, to this question, as there are a lot of factors that have to be considered. Here you can find out more information on this topic. 

What Does a Salvage Car Mean? 

Many people out there want to save money by purchasing salvage cars, but is it really such a good idea? Before anyone decides to repair salvage cars, the first step is to understand whether this process is worth it. For instance, you may find out that the repair work will cost more than the actual car. In this case, it is obvious that going this route is not the smartest strategy. 

Depending on the state of the vehicle, one of the three main titles assigned to it:

  • Clean title

Just as the name suggests, the clean title refers to a new or almost new vehicle that hasn’t been in serious accidents and hasn’t undergone any changes to the vehicle emission system (tampering). Also, to get a clean title, the car shouldn’t have any manufacturing defects that may require a driver to send it back. It should be noted that the car may have a slightly bent fender, a scratch on its body, or another minor issue but still get a clean title. 

  • Salvage title

The next category that we are most interested in is the salvage title. As opposed to the clean one, this title is given to cars that have been severely damaged and then assessed by the insurance company as “totaled.” During the inspection, the insurance company decided whether the damages made the vehicle not worth repairing. It is essential to be careful with salvage cars because they can often look normal on the surface but have serious problems inside. It is best to entrust the assessment of the vehicle salvage value to professionals, as it is easy to make a mistake. 

  • Rebuilt title

The final title is the rebuilt one. Not all salvage cars end up in the scrapyard, as sometimes drivers may decide that a car is worth repairing. If someone saves the salvage vehicle and brings it back to a condition suitable for safe driving, the car will get a rebuilt title. To get this title, the car should undergo a thorough inspection, as it may be dangerous to drive a vehicle depending on how the repair works have been conducted. 

It is important to mention that every US state has its own rules to define salvage titles of the state you are in to understand what it means. The authorities of one state may be willing to let you go on the road, while others may not. Some states have pretty strict laws, while others give drivers more leeway. There is a difference in the approach to providing a salvage status. For instance, the state of Louisiana's authorities pay more attention to the actual damage, while those in Florida make their decision based on the reports of insurance companies.

How Do You Determine the Cost of Repairing a Salvage Car?

The next thing you have to consider if you want to repair a salvage car is, of course, the cost. No one wants to invest a lot of money in vehicles that will still be unsafe to drive. 

If a car has been in an accident and the obtained damage is over 75% of the car value, the majority of the insurance companies in the US will declare it as totaled. It means that fixing a salvage car with such damages is not cost-efficient. But accidents are not the only reason for getting this title. There are different types of damage that the vehicle may suffer, and this will play a role in determining the repair value of the car and the potential cost of fixing it. 

The main types of damages that give a car its salvage title as determined by insurance companies include the following: 

  • Hail damage

If the state doesn’t envisage a separate hail damage category for the car, it may get a salvage title due to being damaged by hail. 

  • Flood

The situation is similar when it comes to flood damage. In some states, the car will be immediately given a salvage title, while others will mention the actual flood damage during the inspection. 

  • Vandalism

If someone intentionally damaged a car, it is likely to receive the salvage title in the majority of states. 

  • Theft

In the case of theft, the process is more extensive. If your car is stolen, the insurance company is supposed to pay it off. But if the police later find the vehicle, the insurance company is likely to sell it with a salvage title.

The car may also get a non-repairable title, which is different from the salvage one and refers to extreme cases. If the damages are too severe, the government won’t allow the vehicle to be repaired. 

Determining car problems that are not worth fixing is not as easy as one may think. You may stumble upon a car that looks almost new, but later discover what makes it unsuitable for driving. It is highly important to be attentive and turn to professionals for an accurate assessment, as the incorrect one may cause both safety issues and additional expenses. 

There is also a significant difference in the price of rebuilding the car depending on who does the repair. It is often better to sell your car to specialists and get your money back this way. 

Remember these 3 Cons of Repairing a Salvage Car

Repairing a salvage vehicle can be a complicated process and also one that doesn’t amount to any good results. You should consider several cons before you decide to repair a car. 

Wrong assessment of the car

There is always a risk of not noticing some problems in the car, especially if you do this on your own. Even professionals may make some mistakes. This is a significant con and one of the reasons you have to think twice before dealing with a salvage car. 

Spending more money than expected

Those who are interested in repairing a salvage car should be prepared to spend more than they would like. Additional costs always arise, and the prices also go up. 

No insurance for a salvage car 

Insurance companies that will cover salvage titles are extremely rare. In most cases, it will be either impossible to get insurance, or the driver will be obliged to pay for a premium one. Also, the potential insurance may cover only up to 80% of the vehicle’s market value. 

Ways of Getting Rid of a Salvage Vehicle

If hearing information about how to repair salvage cars doesn’t sound good, you may want to learn about ways to get rid of it. In many cases, this is the best decision you can make. Once a car gets a salvage title, there are several ways you can sell it. 

Sell to individual buyers

You can sell your car to your neighbor or put up an online ad to find a buyer. The problem is that this process can take a long time, and there is a possibility that no one will buy your car. 

Sell the car to a scrapyard

You can consider selling your car to a scrapyard if the previous options don’t bring the results. There are numerous options available in the United States, but they pay less compared to junk car buyers.  

Sell its parts 

If you cannot sell an entire car, consider selling its parts. They may hold a better value compared to the whole vehicle, especially if you have some parts that are difficult to find.  

Sell your vehicle to specialists 

One of the best ways to get rid of a car is to sell it to junk car buyers, such as Junkcarus. In this way, you not only get a free car pick-up, but you also get money for your old or damaged vehicle. This option is much easier and better for your wallet. 

Consider Selling Your Car to JunkCarsUs

So, is it worth fixing a salvage car? As you can see, repairing damaged vehicles is not always feasible or rational. Sometimes you just have to let it go because investing more money in its repair will not lead to good results. 

If this is the case, you can still sell your salvage car for cash to JunkCarsUs. Our junk car buyer company has been operating for more than 30 years, and we specialize in purchasing salvage cars in various conditions — damaged, flooded, old, and more. Our team fixes all the administrative issues, and we collect your vehicle for free while you get the money. 

Contact our team and get a quick car pick-up from your location! We are happy to help you get rid of unwanted cars regardless of their state. 


Is insurance on a salvage title more expensive?

If you wonder what to do with a salvage car when it comes to insurance, the truth is that insurance is more expensive on salvage cars compared to the same models that have the clear-title status. It is common for the insurance to be up to 20% higher. In many cases, it is even impossible to get.

How do you price a salvage car?

It is essential to correctly assess the state of a salvage car to price it. Even if the car suffered insignificant damage, it would likely cost no more than 75% of the market value.

What are the rules for repairing salvage cars?

The number one rule when it comes to repairing salvage cars is that you have to know the exact damage and also make sure that specialists assess the vehicle. They can determine whether fixing the car will be worth the cost and whether it will be safe to drive when you are finished.

Is fixing a salvage car a good idea?

It depends on the severity of the damage. Replacing a bent fender on a salvage car could be a great idea, while repairing the entire vehicle won’t be a cost-efficient strategy.

Edgar Moulton.


Edgar Moulton. Car Expert

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