3 Steps for Purchasing a Salvage Car Safely
New cars are expensive, and nowadays, even used cars can be pricey. For people who need a car, a super-cheap salvage vehicle might be the only option. If this is the case for you, you need to be aware of the three key ingredients for a successful and safe purchase.
1. Dealer Reputation
You have to seek out a dealer—not a private party—who has a good reputation and who operates under the guidance and regulations of the state you're in. For example, in California, the Bureau of Automotive Repair functions as a lead agency for consumers, dealers, and service centers or repair shops. If a dealer leads you astray, for example, you can complain to the BAR. You can't do that if you purchase a vehicle from a private party.
In addition to looking at reviews and such, ask people who have dealt with that dealer before. Ask people you know if they know anything about the dealer, and check with the state licensing and consumer-rights agencies to see if there are any complaints against the dealer.
2. Mechanic Reputation and Time
No matter how many mechanics look at the car through the dealer, you need to bring the car to a mechanic of your choosing for an inspection. That means the mechanic you choose has to be able to inspect the entire car and let you know what needs to be fixed or whether the car appears to have issues that make it a less-than-optimal buy. This mechanic should also be someone who can fix those issues and ensure the car ends up in great shape. For most people, this part is simple: they can take the car to their regular mechanic. But if you're purchasing the car in another city, for example, you may have to find a mechanic there. Choose someone who won't leave anything on the car uninspected.
3. An In-Depth Pre-Purchase Inspection
Now that you've got the history from a reputable dealer and can take the car to a reputable mechanic, you need that inspection. You'll then weigh the price of the car against the condition and make your decision. Ensure that the mechanic can check not only the engine but also the body and any bells and whistles. For example, even if you don't smoke, you want to know if that cigarette lighter works simply because it's part of the car. If you don't care whether it works is not the issue; you just want to understand the current state of the care before you buy it.
You can find salvaged cars that are worth buying. For more information, contact companies that have salvaged cars for sale.