Buying Advice - '99 Integra, Salvage Title

Discussion in 'General Motoring' started by Deeg, Jan 14, 2005.

  1. Deeg

    Deeg Guest

    Hey, all. Just want to get some input on what sort of deal this is.
    I'm looking at a '99 Integra GS coupe, 59K miles - leather, spoiler,
    new tires, AT, interior perfect and exterior fine except for a tiny
    ding and a few scratches on rear bumper. All service records since
    4500 miles and no major repairs.

    Now here's the hitch - its a salvaged title. The seller claims that
    they interior was stolen - seats, interior panels, stereo - and
    replaced when the car was almost new. She bought it at 4500 miles and
    has had no problems since. She wants $7500, and the KBB on this
    vehicle is about $10K with a clean title. Obviously I'll have my
    mechanic check it and see what he can see, but given all factors, is
    this a good price? As I said, just looking for some experienced

    Thanks - Dan
    Deeg, Jan 14, 2005
  2. Deeg

    TeGGer® Guest

    Salvage means an insurance company wrote the car off in a collision or
    flood or other catastrophic event, then the car was repaired and re-
    certified for use on the road. It has NOTHING to do with the interior.

    I wouldn't buy it at any price.
    TeGGer®, Jan 14, 2005
  3. Deeg

    Deni Guest

    That's not true... a car can be have it interior stolen and still be
    declared a total loss.
    A write off is a result of a repair amount being to high, regards if it's
    been accidented or not !!!!
    Calculate the price of a radio, air bags, leather seats and door panels and
    you'll easily be over 10 000$ of replacent parts.

    The one thing you do need to know is that when the car was re-certified, the
    owner was required to provide 5 pictures (each side and interior) of the car
    before any repairs take place. I've seen many salvage titles and some have
    been lemons while MANY others have NOT.

    Ask for the pictures of the car... he should have 5 showing you a clean body
    and no interior. If it's on;y the interior... I'd go for it.
    Deni, Jan 14, 2005
  4. Deeg

    Larry J. Guest

    It *could have been* the interior theft which caused it to be written off
    in the insurance settlement.

    Larry J. - Remove spamtrap in ALLCAPS to e-mail

    "If you take out the killings, Washington actually
    has a very low crime rate."
    - Marion Barry, mayor of Washington, D.C.
    Larry J., Jan 14, 2005
  5. Deeg

    SoCalMike Guest

    id consider it, but only if i was going to drive that thing until it
    gets junked.
    SoCalMike, Jan 14, 2005
  6. Deeg

    TeGGer® Guest

    It loooks like only Massachusetts will brand a car Salvage due to

    The OP appears to be in California. He is on thin ice with that car.
    TeGGer®, Jan 14, 2005
  7. Deeg

    TeGGer® Guest

    Total Loss is not the same as a Salvage brand.

    Salvage means very badly damaged, then resurrected.

    That car is trouble looking for a target.
    TeGGer®, Jan 14, 2005
  8. Deeg

    Deeg Guest

    Thanks for the advice, all. My inkling was that it was something to
    steer clear of, but the temptation is strong - the car really is
    immaculate and so are the service records.

    Ler me ask this - if she can produce the photos showing a clean body
    and no interior, is the price more or less fair? Or is it simply an
    unacceptable risk at any cost, in your opinions?
    Deeg, Jan 14, 2005
  9. Deeg

    dold Guest

    I've never heard of the "pictures" thing in California.
    A friend has bought and sold quite a few salvage vehicles, mostly for racing.
    One was a Mazda Miata that just didn't look that bad, a crunch in the rear
    that made the trunk hard to close. Must have tweaked the frame.
    Many were motorcycles. If the ABS fairings get broken on motorcycles, the
    factory replacement price is enough to total the bike, which might be
    essentially unharmed and in good shape with aftermarket fairings.

    I disagree with Tegger about the required cause for salvage. I think it is
    any time the repair of a vehicle, plus its salvage value, exceeds the blue
    book on the vehicle. It is registered with the state of California as
    "unrepairable". It may, however, then be repaired and registered again,
    with the words "salvage" appearing on the title. Often, all this requires
    is a cursory inspection by any Highway Patrol officer. At this point, it
    is no longer a Salvage Certificate. It is referred to as a "revived total
    salvage vehicle".

    The Canadian web site above refers to the vehicle during the time it is
    registered as unrepairable. A California page:

    I do agree that it is a vehicle that should only be purchased as a
    throwaway unless you can really determine the original cause. Flooding,
    for instance, usually results in a salvage vehicle. Repair of that vehicle
    for cosmetic purposes usually involves steam cleaning, and a replacement of
    the interior. That doesn't leave you with a vehicle with long term value.
    dold, Jan 14, 2005
  10. Deeg

    TeGGer® Guest

    The interior means absolutely nothing.

    Cars are not branded Salvage because their interiors were stripped, they're
    branded because the front bumper ended up embedded in the firewall, or
    because somebody else's front bumper ended up in the trunk.

    You need to find out why Salvage was branded on the car. That means talking
    to your insurance company, giving them the VIN of that vehicle. I've never
    actually had to do this, but it seems to me they'd be the ones with access
    to the details of the Salvage brand.

    Unless you know EXACTLY (from a trusted party) what happened to brand that
    car, you're risking being rooked of $7,500.
    TeGGer®, Jan 14, 2005
  11. Deeg

    SoCalMike Guest

    doesnt seem to me to be vandalism, just theft. if, instead of the
    leather seats and interior panels being stolen it was the engine/tranny
    and wheels would it have still been vandalism?
    SoCalMike, Jan 14, 2005
  12. Deeg

    SoCalMike Guest

    from what i understand, if the insurance pays off the loan for any
    reason-wrecked, or stolen/stripped and the car is put back into service,
    its going to have a salvage title. ive seen stolen/stripped cars for
    sale that have been repaired, and they have salvage titles. why? the
    cost to replace the missing parts was more than 50% of the book value of
    the car.

    if my 98 CX was stolen and the interior gutted, it would definately cost
    more than half the $5000 book value for an excellent condition car.
    replacement carpet alone is about $500. add in a couple seats, door
    panels, miscellaneous trim, screws, fasteners.

    now, if i recover the car and dont claim it to my insurance? then the
    title is "clean" and i can replace the interior parts myself.
    id agree with that.
    SoCalMike, Jan 14, 2005
  13. Deeg

    SoCalMike Guest

    if the car was that tacoed, putting it on a lift and inspecting all the
    seams, etc should prove that. you cant make a totalled car perfectly
    straight again. there will be wrinkled panels, bondo, weird weld marks, etc.
    plus, the insurance co is NOT going to pay full coverage on a car like
    that. ie: no "replacement cost" coverage.
    should be easy enough if the original owner has all the insurance
    paperwork, police report, impound recovery slip, etc.
    SoCalMike, Jan 14, 2005
  14. Deeg

    SoCalMike Guest

    itd be worth a carfax to see whether the car has been a california car
    all its life. there was a while after the floods in texas where cars
    were being sent to california to be resold.
    SoCalMike, Jan 14, 2005
  15. Deeg

    dold Guest

    That reminds me of another one that might be difficult to spot.

    The airbags deployed in a wreck on a friend's 95 Civic.
    She was told that the airbags alone cost $4000, and that they didn't need
    to look at the rest of the car to determine that it was totalled.
    I didn't see the car, but the body damage might have been repairable after
    the salvage, but the repairer might not have put new airbags in it.
    dold, Jan 15, 2005
  16. Deeg

    TeGGer® Guest

    Well, it may depend upon the jurisdiction, and I will clarify with my
    insurer on Monday.

    Some state documentation:

    It appears to be possible in some locales for the vehicle to be declared
    Salvage on the basis of something like a stripped interior *IF* the value
    of the repairs was deemed to be greater than what the insurance company was
    willing to spend on the car.

    I was assuming the OP's car had had its interior stripped very early in its
    life. I suppose if the interior had been stripped when it was 4 or 5 years
    old, the value of the replacement might come close to 80% of the car's

    Either way, purchasing a salvage vehicle is very risky unless it has been
    ascertained that there has been no fire, flood, hail or collision damage.

    One sure sign to check for: Body panel gaps. Hondas are just about perfect.
    ANY uneven gaps AT ALL are cause for concern. Honda is fanatical about body
    panel alignment.

    And one more thing: Do ALL the major body panels have the VIN stickers
    still on them?
    TeGGer®, Jan 15, 2005
  17. Deeg

    TeGGer® Guest

    Just thought of this:
    Check all the fenders, doors, hood, trunk lid, etc for the VIN stickers.

    I'm in Canada, where VIN stickers on body panels are not required. Your
    intended car ought to have all of them if the seller is telling the truth.
    TeGGer®, Jan 15, 2005
  18. Deeg

    Deeg Guest

    Assuming I can get the Carfax report - which I'm trying to track down
    right now - will that show me the details of the salvage (wreck, theft,
    etc)? Or would I still be more or less in the dark?
    Deeg, Jan 15, 2005
  19. Deeg

    jim beam Guest

    like buying any used car, it depends. i have a civic with a salvage
    title, but that was because the previous owner handed the plates back
    rather than pay p.n.o. on it. utterly illogical as she destroyed the
    vehicle's resale value, but hey, some people... the car is absolutely
    perfect - probably straighter than one i bought new which had a small
    front wheel camber issue from factory.

    in your case, as others have pointed out, salvage does not mean the
    vehicle sustained frame damage, the only thing that really matters. if
    you're uncertain, look how well the doors, hood & rear hatch fits - not
    when closed, but slightly open so the catches aren't holding things in
    place. if the frame is truly straight, you'll see it then.

    don't forget, insurance companies are all about ass covering and book
    values. [imo, kbb has a lot to answer for here - here in the bay area,
    clean, straight, un-riced hatchbacks will sell for well over kbb - kbb
    holds values down because it sets expectations and becomes a
    self-reinforcing price determinant.] if the cost of repair [also
    remember that repair shops charge top dollar for insurance work] exceeds
    whatever fraction of book the ass coverer has in their book, it gets
    written off. interiors are time consuming & expensive to repair if
    buying new parts. if yours was repaired by using parts from a wreck, it
    would be a great car and would have made a tidy profit for the repairer.
    jim beam, Jan 15, 2005
  20. Deeg

    dold Guest

    "CVC Section 544 defines, in part, a total loss vehicle as a vehicle that
    has been wrecked, destroyed, or damaged, to such an extent the insurance
    company considers it uneconomical to make repairs to the vehicle and the
    vehicle is not repaired by or for the person who owned the vehicle when the
    damage occurred."

    I say that "damaged" in this case is a financial issue, not necessarily
    from a collision. "uneconomical" is in the same sentence.

    It does clarify that a "total loss vehicle" can be retained and retitled by
    the owner, where a "non-repairable" vehicle cannot, but the definition of
    non-repairable is pretty tight.
    Flood is my biggest hidden concern. The car looks fine for a few years, but
    the electrical is probably going to fail, or maybe things will rust before
    they ought to. Cars in California usually don't get retired due to rust.
    That's an interesting point. Those puppies are all over the place on my
    2003 Honda. I thought they were intended to slow down chop shops.
    Verifying that all the major parts are original is probably a more valuable
    dold, Jan 15, 2005
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