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Salvage value vs clean title

Discussion in '2002 - 2005 Ford Thunderbird' started by Kelly0051, Sep 16, 2017.

  1. I bought my 2002 Tbird, 44000 miles from an individual in TN. When I got the title, it was just marked "used". Thats it. He had owned it for 7 yrs, so I saw no need in running a Carfax report since the title was clean. I recently thought about selling because of finding parts isn't easy, so when I ran the ad on Cargurus, it showed my car had a "Salvage Title" out of GA..wtf?. The report read total loss in 4/4/06, then a couple of months later TN DMV shows its registered, but is a notation saying the Salvage Title from GA didn't get transferred to TN when sold. This may be a case of title washing??? I called GA DMV and they said they sent it to TN as Salvaged.....TN said it was sent just as used. I know this is off topic, but now I have a car that I thought was worth something, and now I'll never sell it. Any help or advise would be appreciated
  2. Sorry to hear of your surprise dilemma.
    I am a past used car dealer and know that salvage titles have a bad rap, even though the car may be perfect.
    If you go to mymechanic.com there is a calculation to find out value.
    When a salvage titled car is repaired properly you can have a great car as it seems you have.
    Kelly0051 likes this.
  3. tbird

    tbird Super Moderator Staff Member

    I've worked in the car business and I can tell you that a salvaged title significantly affects the value of the car. Also, your auto insurance is typically something that is higher when a car is salvaged, something that dealers that sell salvaged titled car dealers rarely disclose. It is also much harder to sell the car, and most buyers will need to pay cash for the car as well. Did you pay cash for the car?

    The only thing you can do now is consult with an attorney.

    Also, don't rely on carfax, it also provides a false sense of security as exposed by several investigative news stories like this one on ABC. A mechanic or someone who does bodywork should look at the car before buying.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2017
    Kelly0051 likes this.
  4. vinnie

    vinnie Aways Learning Lifetime Donor

    If you HAVE to sell it, be honest. Explain that it has a salvage title but you have owned it for XX years without a problem.
    Other than leaving it to one of the kids, there's really not much else you can do and still sleep at night. Good Luck.
  5. This past summer my wife got bumped in a minor accident with her 1993 Pontiac convertible and the insurance company "totaled" the car. Nothing more than a crack in the bumper, so I kept it for about $100 less in claim money. It was a big mistake, now we couldn't sell it, and no dealer would touch it for trade in. I was not about to keep it for the rest of our lives, so we bought the T Bird and the Pontiac was scrapped....for $100! I could have "cleaned" the title by re-titling, but I see now that other states might still see it as a salvage.
  6. So if you can't trust Carfax, how do you make sure what you are buying does not have a salvage title somewhere in its past? Looking at 2 right now and would like to confirm there are no issues.
  7. Salvage or "branded" titles are presenting a problem, but also an opportunity in the marketplace today. It's true that most buyers bring the "old" mindset to purchasing a car with a "branded title", which in a nutshell is "this car must have been a wreck and some unscrupulous con artist has taken it out of a junkyard, put lipstick on it and is now trying to rip off an innocent, unknowing buyer"
    Yes, that has and can happen, but there are going to be more and more perfectly good cars for sell at a big discount because the title is "branded".
    The way cars are manufactured today, individual parts can be very expensive (Cadillac XLT headlight assembly $4500, per side).
    So when a car is in an accident, your insurance company must use OEM, new parts if available. So the repair shop estimate for what looks like a medium level repair, to say the hood, left fender, grill and wheel could make the repair estimate with paint, remove and replace, discarding old parts, etc can be enough to "total" the car.

    A repair shop, using used parts or interchangable parts, none factory paint and repairing a fender verses replacing it might cut the costs by thousands and in the end the repaired vehicle is "fixed" as well as the one done with OEM.

    Because of this, there are some enterprising dealers that specialize in "branded titles". They sell perfectly good cars at about a 25% discount and end up with very happy customers.

    It's an approach with a very promising future, think Houston and Florida.

    It will take some time to get the buying public to change the way they think about the words "salvage title", but the price difference will accomplish that very soon.

    Given that you have had and driven your car for some time after the repair and the fact that it's a unique and special car, you will get pretty close to what you could have sold it for as a "clean title".

    Carfax is pretty reliable. It's going to be harder and harder for anyone to "launder" a title and it is rapidly becoming a main stream business opportunity.

    It's a big advantage if you know or better have pictures of the damage (could also be from a theft, flood, fire, collision), who did the repair, parts used and was it inspected.

    But that's the new future for "branded " titles and it's going to give us all more options. Just be sure to do your "due diligence" and you could end up with a very nice car for a lot less than what your neighbor paid for the same car.
    Kelly0051 likes this.
  9. Thank you for your reply. I just bought the car in June 17 from a man that owned it for 7 yrs. His title he gave to me was just marked used, so I didnt think I needed a carfax. After 2 months I found parts are not easy to find, so I posted on Cargurus for sale. I guess they automatically run that report, because thats how I found out it had been totalled in Georgia. GA DOR admits its their fault and they are working on "fixing" the problem, but at this point I'm not sure what they can do. I don't mind driving a salvaged title car as long as its put together right, Im just upset that I bought it under false pretenses. I got a really good deal on it and knew if I had to sell it I could have made some money. Now, Ive not even been offered what I paid for it. That's why I'm disgusted
  10. I hear you. It rather ambitious to buy a used car and expect to sell it for more than you paid for it.

    People who do that over and over are usually referred to as "dealers".

    You don't sound like a dealer, so I'm guessing this is an experiment for you?

    It sounds like you got a nice car and that you like it, it's just that you're not going to "make out" on it like you expected. That is more my experience of buying cars.
  12. You might even try selling it here. As you say nothing is wrong but parts are hard to find, so everyone has that same problem, if someone here buys it and parts it out, it will bring about 3 times the market value just because of the effort to remove parts, ship and store the remainder. I bet there are folks reading this who are willing to solve your problem one way or the other.
    Kelly0051 likes this.
  13. Thanks for the reply. I should have known it was too good to be true. It looks almost perfect, especially for a 15 yr old car, with 45000 miles, and the man let me have it for $10,000. Eastman Credit Union said the loan value was 15,875. It was the first time in my life I wasnt owing more on a car than what it was worth. I found I have cancer in December and at the time was paying a 430 car pmt. I work 40 hrs a week, and not knowing what was going to happen to me, I wanted to get that high pmt off of me, in case I needed to go to part time or quit. I sold my Camaro, and this Tbird at least cut my pmt in 1/2. I just can't get used to the look. I feel like a granny in it for some reason. I guess because Ive always had Vettes and different sports cars, but it is what it is. I'm blessed to still be able to work, and do have a car that some people would kill to have, I just wish I could sell it or trade fir a 350 Z or BMW Z4...
  14. If I understand, you owe less than $10,000 and you'd like to start over with another car. Ideally you could fall in love with the car, all over again, 'cause if you can ignore the fact that it's a "branded" title, you have a great car at a "fair enough" price (as long as you don't have to sell it).

    If, however, you just can't accept it as "your ride", trading is a way that can work. Where are you located and does your car have a hardtop and does it need anything (tires, suspension, ac, transmission etc)?
  15. You can rename it whatever you want, but a salvage title, or "branded" title, places a car in a position of lesser value. To not notify a buyer of this information is deceitful. If you think you are purchasing a used vehicle like the individual above and you are getting a vehicle that has been wrecked to the point it has been totaled, you are not given the information needed to make an informed decision. I would agree though that if you need a car to drive until you run it into the ground, a salvage titled vehicle if known at purchase may be the best way to go.
  16. tbird

    tbird Super Moderator Staff Member

    I really don't think you save enough money on the cars that I saw, and your insurance is more expensive and harder to get as well on salvaged titles.

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