buying damaged vehicles?
So the last few years ive been buying damaged motorcycles, repairing them and using them for my personal enjoyment for a little while until i decide to sell. With that being said id like to buy either a car or a truck thats in need of repair to flip for a profit, but am having a hard time because i know there can be ALOT of variables, clear or salvage title damage amount and etc...i have boughten one salvage motorcycle in the past and it turned out to be not a very good deal so id like to prevent that from happening again...1 or 2 vehicles is all i really plan on doing a year mainly for hobby but for some extra money... any ideas / places where i can find decently priced repairables, that arent beyond repair such as frame damage....any help greatly appreciated...
I've done around 20 wrecks the way your discussing. Normally I fix them for Family or Friends and drive them around 60-100K miles and then sell them. I've always done it because I enjoy it. When I sell them I always disclose that they were wrecked even if they have a clear title.
Salvage titles are pretty common. They will hit you when you sell. Some banks don't loan on salvage titles. If I do a salvage title I have to drive out the value or plan on selling it for 2/3rds the book value. Not against them at all because of the damage, but the branded title can suck. No matter clean title or salvage make sure to buy them right. They won't bring the same money as a never wrecked vehicle.
I've bought hard wrecks and light wrecks. I actually prefer the vehicles that need a bunch of work like an interior removal for a clip job or roof. Also watch the amount of damage. Many times they aren't hit just in one spot and you end up painting a lot more of the vehicle than you would think. Also if you end up playing with pickups remember that frames aren't that expensive. It's a lot of time to swap the parts, but it ends up with an awesome result versus something that's been straightened. Not against frame work, but 700 bucks at the frame shop will go along way towards a frame. Airbags and those systems aren't too bad. Sometimes even with all new parts they need to be reset by the dealer. I haven't done a wreck for a few years now so I may be out of the loop on the newer cars.
Oh and make sure to check car-part.com for parts. Best place to round stuff up.
Key words - buying them right...i dont have a dealers license so i usually poke around on internet auctions, but by the time the vehicle is boughten and repaired seems like its right around retail price anyway,plus then it has a salvage title...
I've bought through my buddy who has a dealers license and from places that specialize in selling wrecked vehicles. The local salvage yard does OK sometimes, but most of their stuff is high miles.
Dealer auctions - Normally these have been over the internet. So I bid cheap and assume it's rougher than shown. I've done OK with these. My buddy bought a couple of crewcab trucks though that had been doctored up so they looked better than they were. One had a different grill wired in to hide that all the coolers were bad. One also had a less wrecked fender put on it to hide how bad the front end was pushed back. The pinstripe on the fender didn't match the rest of the truck, but you couldn't tell in the picture.
Dealers specializing in wrecks- normally I have a vehicle type in mind. I normally had to see the vehicle there for 1-2 months before the price was anything I would mess with. They start them out high. I picked up a 2002 Envoy in 2004. they started at like $7800 for it and I bought it 2 months later for like $5300. These dealers are nice though because normally they've tried to start the vehicle and cleaned it up some. Removed all the garbage etc. They also have typically brought the vehicle closer to me so I don't have to ship it. I live in Iowa and a lot of the vehicles have came from New York, Pa, or down south.
Local Junkyard - They don't seem to get the selection that the other places get. I do like the junkyards though if they get something in that's a good fix, because many times you can work out a package deal for the vehicle and the parts. I've had really good luck doing that for cheap drivers. Like a cavalier.
Good luck and have fun!
I live in iowa myself and theres not too many places around that have damaged vehicles for sale, i have been lookin at the erepairables site trying to find something on there located in iowa so i can pick it up and dont have to ship... is there really a true value of a salvage vehicle? Im not out to make a bunch of money, but dont want to lose my ass either...
I live in northwest iowa and there are a lot of places by Sioux falls sd that sell wrecks.
Regarding a value for a salvage title vehicle I'm unsure but a salvage title is no different than a vehicle with a damage disclosure on the title in my opinion. At least with a branded title you and everyone else knows the vehicle was in a wreck. I'm amazed at how many clean titled vehicles my buddies have bought that have had a bunch of work done on them.
Not all salvage is wrecked. Theft/recovery vehicles get branded also. Most were stolen for a ride home.
Originally Posted by junk
Henry - Good point on the salvage being thefts also.
I've always heard the reason that salvage gets put on vehicles is because of some sort of paper work deal with the insurance company. It's easier for them to salvage out the vehicle than to move it along with a non-salvage title. No clue if that's true, but always what I've heard. Kind of makes sense, but in other ways makes me ask a lot of questions. I'll definitely say that I don't believe salvage is determined by the damage amount or type. I've seen vehicles that just needed a bumper cover that were salvage and I've seen pickups flat as a pancake with clean titles.
Does anyone know the specifics of how titles get branded salvage?
Oh if your looking for an auction that lets people buy check out IAAI.com. I've watched them a little bit, but don't need any projects right now. They have a site in Omaha. Which is fairly close to me.
For me I got into long and short term projects. See what would pay more. I believe the short term , small projects would pay more. Find some on craigslist. Usually someone who doesnt know whats wrong with the car and just sells it. I got an old crx cheap with 166 on it. No rust or dents, just needs paint and small amt of interior work. Got for under 800,,,RUNNING and DRIVING. Guy sold it thinking it needed a head gasket. I got discouraged but then questioned him on discovering this. He said in the winter it smoked and in the summer it didnt at startup. Condensation ...duh. I said did he check the oil for antifreeze, over heat the car ever, do a block test. No, no and no. He assumed it was bad. Now well after driving the car for 2k with 0 problems I guess he was clueless. Lesson, check out what you buy completely and circumstances they tell you , you could have a good or bad day. Also I did do a block test, just to be sure. Car stayed nice and cool and fluid never changed color,,,even in the slightest remained nice dark blue. People guess when they see symptoms and just sell not knowing anything. Also ,people IMHO, dont discount bad paint cars enough. They seen too many MAACO and Earl shibe commercials and discount the car maybe 200-300 for horrific paint. IMO that should be 1/2 off the price. They know you cant get a car painted,,even decently for 299, that is just old BS. And if you try and talk them down, they just poo poo you. Not discounting for paint..To me that is the real crime..
Insurance companies cannot sell vehicles since they don't have a license to do so NOR do they want to get involved. They pay out on a total and put it up to recoup "Salvage Value" (what it will bring at auction).
Originally Posted by junk
Many guidelines for making it salvage. It boils down to the $$ dollar $$ value of the vehicle and cost to fix vs current cost of vehicle. Years ago, the first thing they looked at was miles. Too many miles and call it a total. Now it's airbags. If they're blown it gets salvaged.
They do NOT want to repair fire damage where interior parts burnt. Used to be if seat(s) burned only, they would change out interiors (based on worth of the vehicle). Most will salvage the vehicle with interior damage because they have gotten hit with changing interiors, give the car back only to have the customer insist they smell fire damage - it smells!! Most act the same but ins companies have their own list of what will determine a total loss.
Just a bunch of shit because it's figured by the dollar and age of vehicle. Brand new cars being 'rebuilt' never get branded because they're worth more even with blown bags, etc. In most states the junk yards are the ones making it harder to buy salvage vehicles to FIX.
I think it's fine to brand it salvage but once it's fixed and Motor Vehicle inspected it should be a clean title again not stamped REBUILT. If they don't stamp new cars with tons more damage then don't stamp REBUILT on the older salvage crap.
Here's my rule on buying salvage vehicles.
1. If there is a certain vehicle I want to own then I'll buy it after knowing if and where I can get the repair parts.
2. To make any money, buy a bunch of the SAME car to assure a flow of cars/trucks and have any part I need.
It is a costly operation. There is no get rich things about it. You can get setup at local dealers to view and buy their trade-ins. I do well doing that. Also, at auction, donation cars can be a good deal and they have clean titles UNLESS an individual has donated their own salvage car.
If you have no parts access or other connections then you need to think twice about the salvage vehicle venture.
OH, for those buying strictly online, keep in mind, your are BIDDING ON A PICTURE ONLY!!!!
I dont discourage buying online, but I know of nightmare stories from that. Guy I know just recently tried to flip a 97 lumina. Big mistake. Kind of a worthless car to begin with. Only minor problems. Exterior was worse after he picked it up from the pics, also auctioner racked up 300+ in fees , so he bought a 1k paper weight IMHO. He started driving it home it drastically overheated, doing the james bond white smoke screen. Head gasket was blown, car was AS IS. Buyer beware , there are TONs and I mean TONS of people trying to unload junk like this on people. He drove it till it died 10 miles from home. Left it on side of highway to tow home and state picked it up. Wanted 300 to get it back from their yard. You see where im going. Online auctions should be bid to win and on YOUR approval of what was stated have the option to back out if car is not what they say. People usually dont get rid of cars because theyre in good shape, you are always buying other peoples problems.
My experience with salvage/rebuilt titled cars here in Michigan is bad. The word salvage or rebuilt on a car/truck title is the kiss of death when trying to get a reasonable price for the finished vehicle. There are many good reasons why most vehicles are branded salvage. The first and foremost reason vehicles are branded salvage title is because the INSURANCE company deems the cost of repairs exceed the value of the vehicle. In other words it cost more to fix the car than the car is worth. They are money ahead to brand the car a "total" and pay the owner outright. Insurance companies are not stupid, if any given situation is a money losing proposition then they won't get involved. They know that some vehicle will sustain more hidden damage than other vehicles. Hidden damage is called hidden damage because you can see ALL the damage until the vehicle has been stripped down removing most of the damaged parts. That removing all those damaged parts would cost the insurance company significant outsourced labor costs which in most cases would result in the same outcome, total the car (and then the state brands it a salvage vehicle with a salvage title title).
I think salvage titled vehicles are a benefit to everyone involved based on the fact that future buyers and sellers need to know that the vehicle had been in a very serious accident. There are a LOT of hacks out there (unethical bodymen with poor abilities at properly repairing vehicles) who will cobble ad bad wreck ignoring serious safety concerns for people riding in that vehicle as well as other drivers on the road. All they care about is making a quick buck while cobbling a vehicle for resale for a quick buck. In the past those types of bodymen (some "professional" and some who never did any bodywork before) caused many injuries and deaths because the vehicles they "repaired" were unsafe ending in deadly crashes. Branding vehciles with a salvage title was a benefit for us all.
You also need to keep in mind that obviously the newer the car the higher the threshold of being branded a salvage title will be. In other words if you own a $70,000 Mercedes that was in a serious accident the insurance company will pay up to like $50,000 to repair that vehicle and still not brand it a salvage title. On the other hand if you have a $2,000 car that was in a relatively minor fender bender they will probably total the car because to fix that relatively minor fender bender will cost more than the car is worth. Again it all gets down to what it will "conceivably" cost the insurance company to repair that vehicle. There are a LOT of vehicles out there that are damaged but the owner had no insurance. Enough damage that if the owner would have had insurance the insurance company would have totalled/salvage titled the car. But since the insurance company wasn't not involved then it still ends up a good title.
I personally never get involved with a vehicle that has a salvage/rebuilt title. Based on previous experiences I barely broke even on buying repairing and selling those vehicles. Somewhere between very little profit to actually losing money on them. There are too many repairable vehicles out there that have clean titles to mess with salvage titles. Keep in mind when buying a wrecked repairable that hidden damage is what can make the difference between decent profit or losing money on the deal. I would NEVER buy any vehicle off the internet or printed material without me inspecting that car close up and in person. I seen cars that were totalled by the insurance company and the car appeared to have hardly any damage at all, what you can't see is the car's previous owner lost control of the car, spun off the road through a ditch, into the woods where tree stumps and rocks destroyed the whole bottom of the car including the cars suspension etc.
Here is another thing about buying repairable vehicles from places that specialize in selling repairable vehicles. You will see in the picture of their advertisement that the vehcile is partially stripped down. They do that for two main reasons, one is that the damage looks less serious with most of the mangled parts not visible and the other is that most of those places repair many of those vehicles themselves, they got into the one they're selling in the picture ad and decided there was more profit in selling that vehicle to someone else than there would be profit for them completing the repairs themselves then selling the finished vehicle.
I strongly advise ANYONE other than a well experience professional bodyman to stay away from wrecked repairables (especially the newer vehicles).
In many cases it ends up costing them more fixing the wrecked vehicle that it would have cost them to just go out and buy a similar make and model vehicle that was never damaged.
It is really difficult for even a professional bodyman/painter to find good clean title repairable later model vehicles to buy and repair for profit. The biggest obstacle is the slavage/junk yards are willing to pay considerably more for a vehicle than you or me and even with that inflated price they can still make a hefty profit parting the car out. You can buy cars from private individuals who let their insurance lapse before the car got damaged but in most cases they want way more for the damaged vehicle than its worth. They don't have the money or the knowhow to repair the car themselves, the junk yard will give them say $400 for the car but they thin the car is still worth around $2,000.
On a side note -- something that makes me laugh out loud often is craigslist ads with pictures showing a punched in quarter panel or a fender bender that will require and new 3/4 front clip and the ad always says -- damaged - " but easy fix ". Which in reality is never an "easy fix" and in most cases cost as much or more to repair than the car they're trying sell is worth finished up.
Bottom line is my experience is buying from SOME private individuals is the still the best way to buy repairable vehicles WITH clean titles.
exactly my point
I really dont want to buy anything with frame damage because you just never know whats hidden, some panel replacement i could handle however. I have been cautious enough at all the auctions ive been looking at, seems to me most of the cars are going for higher prices then by the time its all fixed up your either behind or even just like what was mentioned earlier, im thinkin maybe something with hail damage or panel replacements i will look at... private deals are by far the best way to buy, but theres just not much of that in my area....thank you all for your input...
be careful, sometimes there may show little bumps or bangs on the bumper or support, but pushed in just far enough to start bending the frame. I've seen lots of ads on craigslist and others for "slightly damaged" , when u can see bent support or frame rails damage.
I always figure if I buy a wreck I need to think I'll have it back on the road for 1/2 to maybe 2/3 of it's book value. And not high book. If I start out higher than that on the 1st look I'll definitely hose myself. That way when if you get nickel and dimed to death or find a big problem you are still covered.
I also stay away from Dodges. They have been expensive for me. i can't find reasonable parts. I also agree to stay with one style of vehicle so that as you buy parts or clips you will end up with little extras here and there that will help the next one. Like buy 3 chevy trucks to fix 2 type of stuff. The last two wrecks I did were 2003 and 2004 subaru wagons for my wife and I.
The 2004 we bought in 2004 for $3500 bucks with 6,000 miles. The passenger strut tower was in the dash. I found a front clip including firewall and I had a shop i trust clip the front of the car after I removed the drivetrain and most of the interior. 130K miles later we still drive it. It's been a phenomenal car for us after the fix. Basically little repairs have been needed. At the time it booked around $20,000 or so and we ended up with about $11,500 in it all said and done. The clip I bought cost more than the car I was putting it on. We do have a salvage title on this which is fine. It's got 140,000 miles now and isn't worth much, but is still a great car.