I want to buy an inexpensive car, and I was wondering what you think about salvage titles.
It’s not impossible to find a decent salvage car. But I’d take extra precautions to find out exactly why it was salvaged. If it’s a salvage car because it was wrecked, I’d take a look at what kind of wreck caused the damage. Lots of people know how to repair and rebuild cars, so it might end up in better condition than before if you find the right mechanic. On the other hand, I’d probably walk away if the vehicle had been flooded. Some people claim they can fix waterlogged cars, but that’s a tough job. In most cases, water just doesn’t do very nice things to onboard computer systems and wiring.
Regardless, do as much research as you can into the car’s history. See if CARFAX has a record. But if the seller doesn’t know anything and other searches don’t turn up good information, my advice is to say no. Make sure you check with your insurance company before you make the purchase too. Salvage cars are sometimes more difficult, or more expensive, to insure!
* Dave Ramsey is America’s trusted voice on money and business. He’s authored four New York Times best-selling books: Financial Peace, More Than Enough, The Total Money Makeover and EntreLeadership. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 6 million listeners each week on more than 500 radio stations. Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at daveramsey.com.