Vehicles with rebuilt titles usually sell for at least 25% less than “clean” title cars.
Rebuilt title cars still have to pass all of the same inspections as other cars, but they have a lower value because banks typically don’t like to finance them.
If you plan to pay cash or can find the right banker, buying a rebuilt title car can help you save.
You can find rebuilt title cars for sale at a number of places locally and online, including auctions, dealerships, eBay, local newspapers, and auto salvage websites. For more details on where to buy rebuilt title cars and what to consider before you buy, see below.
Where to Buy Rebuilt Title Cars
Vehicles with rebuilt titles have been repaired from a totaled state (or a “salvage” title) to pass a safety inspection. They’re typically less expensive but more difficult to insure than cars with “clean” titles.
There are several places you can shop for a rebuilt title car, both online and in person. Note that it’s a good idea to research the market prices for the types of rebuilt titles that interest you.
Auctions (Local or Online)
Rebuilt car auctions take place every day in the U.S.
A leading organization that conducts these auctions is Insurance Auto Auction (IAA). On the IAA website, you’ll find schedules for auctions held in different locations around the country.
Additionally, you can check Craigslist and your local newspapers for notifications about auto auctions in your area.
You can also participate in various online auctions by visiting websites like Copart, Auto Life Style, and Argo Motorcycles.
Auto Dealers (Local or Online)
Another option is to buy rebuilt title cars from dealerships. Some dealers specialize in this type of car; others sell new, used, and rebuilt cars.
You can search for local dealers online or in auto trader magazines. On the dealer’s website, you’ll find details, pictures, and the costs of each rebuilt car.
You can also shop through online dealers; some popular online car dealers include Salvage Autos Auction, Autoworld of America, and CAS Miami.
To buy a rebuilt title car from eBay, look for listings in the eBay Motors section. If you’re familiar with the market prices of rebuilt title cars, you can use the Advanced search option by entering the price range.
Once you get the list of sellers, you’ll likely want to check the reviews and feedback left by other customers before you make a purchasing decision.
If you plan to repair the car yourself, you can also look for the parts under the Auto Parts & Accessories section.
Local newspapers are some of the best offline sources for finding rebuilt title cars.
Many local sellers are willing to negotiate and sell at a price much lower than what is advertised.
You can also make one or more visits to inspect the car before you finally buy it. This helps ensure you won’t run into any surprises later, which is more of a risk if you buy a vehicle online.
Auto Salvage Websites
The quickest way to find rebuilt title cars for sale is by searching the numerous auto salvage websites online. Two reputable websites where you can start your search are ProSalvage and SalvageAuto.
Keep in mind that when buying a car online, you likely cannot inspect the car in person before you buy it, but you can research its VIN number.
For more about buying a car, check out our articles about how long you can drive a new car without plates and how many vehicles you can have in your name.
What to Consider Before Buying
Consider the following as you search for rebuilt title cars for sale:
Buying a car that was repaired from a totaled condition does come with some risk. Sometimes, rebuilt title cars have additional problems you might need to fix.
Before buying a rebuilt title car, make sure to research the VIN and take a look at the car’s history. Someone may claim it was only involved in a minor accident, but you may come across pictures from a previous auction where the car was in far worse condition than the current owner claimed.
As long as you’re aware of these potential issues, you can work to get the car at a lower price that reflects the need for future work.
Insurance for rebuilt titles typically comes with higher premiums and less coverage. Our related research has more details about insuring a car with a rebuilt title.
We got a great deal on a rebuilt title car. It wasn’t driveable yet, but it just needed a new transmission. We got a transmission from a salvage yard and had some repairs done on it, got that put in the car, and it’s been driving like a dream for 7 years so far!
I love cars and love getting a good deal even more. I would consider a salvage titled car but only under certain salvage reasons. I would never buy a salvaged car due to flood if its a car built within the decades since electronic management systems. An old classic without that I may but you are just asking for problems with flood cars and there are a lot of them out there marked as salvage after the past hurricanes and summer down pours.
On any salvage titled car go in knowing that air bags may have been compromised and be sure you know what you are getting. That said there are many salvaged titled cars that were in minor accidents but repairs came higher than the book value. Those are the ones to look at.