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Consumer Reports Used Car Title Warning

According to a recent Consumer Reports warning, what might seem like a good deal right now could turn into a headache later as they offer this advice on why you really should pay attention to a used car's title. Plus, $100 insurance policy every used car buyer should invest in before buying a used car.


Used Car Shopping Advice

According to a recent Consumer Reports warning to used car shoppers, having to make compromises is a reality when it comes to finding a used car in today’s market. The year, make, model, color, engine type, safety features (or lack of) used to be “make or break deals” for shoppers when it came to buying a used car. Today, however, shoppers cannot be so choosy and sometimes have to be satisfied with just getting a reliable and functional car for the short term until the market improves.There is a caveat to this however: Used car shoppers should be especially wary of cars that have a salvage-rebuilt title history.

That was the message by the good folks at Consumer Reports who briefly outlined the problems inherent with buying a used car with a salvage-rebuilt title history and why they tend to advise consumers to steer clear of these types of used car titles.

Generally, most car shoppers should stay away from rebuilt titles,” says Steve Elek, program leader for auto data analytics at Consumer Reports. “That being said, it could come down to a case-by-case basis. For example, you could have a car that has a rebuilt title due to heavy hail damage. That car might be mechanically sound. On the other hand, a rebuilt title could also mean the car was in a serious accident that resulted in significant frame damage.”

The Cons of a Used Car with a Salvage-Rebuilt Title

When it comes to a used car with a salvage-rebuilt title history the best-case scenario is that the vehicle was considered “totaled” by the insurer due to non-flood damage from a weather-related incident where repairs outweighed the value of the car. Another scenario is that the vehicle was in a minor fender bender, but was again deemed “totaled” because of its age and not considered cost effective to repair.

Related article: If Your Car Is Damaged in a Storm, Do This Not That When It Comes to Floods

What is out there is more often than not lies somewhere between the two extremes and CR analysts make a good point of listing the following cons:

• Not all states are equal in their requirements on what it takes to convert a non-sellable salvaged vehicle into a sellable rebuilt titled vehicle to pass onto a used car shopper.

• If the vehicle was totaled due to flood damage, despite repairs being done to get it up and running for sale right away, electrical problems often manifest months later when corrosion of sensitive electrical/electronic components sets in.

• Your insurance company may have issues with coverage of a vehicle with a salvage-rebuilt title history that will either cost you more than the vehicle is really worth or only offer the most minimal of coverage.

• There is practically no re-sale value to a vehicle with a salvage-rebuilt title history.

• Safety to you and your family is an issue that just does not make it worthwhile in many cases of these types of vehicles.

Is a Salvage-Rebuilt Title an Absolute Dealbreaker?

The point to keep in mind with advice from Consumer Reports is that like in all things there are exceptions to what sounds like an absolute. For most used car shoppers, CR analysts make a good point and recommendation concerning used cars with a salvage-rebuilt title history. However, for those looking for a potential gem in the rough and willing to go the extra mile to determine whether a car really should be avoided, there are steps used car shoppers can and should take.

That is the message in a HumbleMechanic YouTube channel video where the host talks honestly about what your concerns should be concerning used cars with a salvage-rebuilt title history AND what you can do about it to ensure that a used car you are considering is still good despite its history.

In the video you will discover:

• What to look for in a vehicle that may have been in an accident.

• Telltale signs that are easily and quickly found to help you make a quick decision before putting too much time into your investigation.

• What $100 insurance policy can save you thousands of dollars and a lot of headache.

• The bottom line to whether a car’s history should deter you from purchasing it.

• That his advice pertains to all used vehicles

Is Buying a Salvaged Title Car a Good Deal?

And finally…

For additional articles related to buying a used car (or not), here are a few for your consideration:

An Important Used Car Hidden Damage Warning for Used Car Shoppers

Signs of Hidden Damage That a Used Car Was in a Collision

How To Spot a Used Car Being Flipped After a Hurricane

Timothy Boyer is a Torque News automotive reporter based in Cincinnati. Experienced with early car restorations, he regularly restores older vehicles with engine modifications for improved performance. Follow Tim on Twitter at @TimBoyerWrites for daily new and used vehicle news.

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