Drawbacks of salvage title?

MarkinAtlantaMarkinAtlanta Member Posts: 194
edited March 2014 in BMW
Does anyone have information the drawbacks of a car with a salvage title.

There is a reputable guy selling a 98 BMW M3 with a salvage title for what appears to be $5k under market value. Salvage title for water damage, the owner is a weekend racer and that is why he bought it. However, he never registered it, and never raced it. And he is looking to get out of it. He says he has been all over it and sees no evidence of water damage.

98 M3, 38,000 miles for $20k negotiable. I've seen email pics and it is extremely clean. I have a 98 323is and take my car to an excellent independant BWM mechanic. I'll have him check out the M3 first.

BTW, I found out about it through word of mouth, it is not on the open market.



  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    Seriously, since with a salvage title, you can never sell it to anyone who would have to finance or properly insure the car, I'd say the value is 60-70% less than retail.
  • MarkinAtlantaMarkinAtlanta Member Posts: 194
    Thank you sir. Exactly the type of information and issues I was fishing for. I'll follow up with my insurer as to their take on my owning a car with a salvage title. I will stick to your guideline of 60-70% of retail in negotiating this car. (If it works out).

    I keep cars for my personal use a long time, until they are used up. Last car was a 200,000 mile Honda, previous was a 120,000 VW, both bought new. Intent was to keep current bimmer, but this is an interesting situation. There is no financing involved on my part, I can scrape up the cash. I think I am in a strong negotiating position. Just wondering how stupid it is to buy a salvage title car for personal long term use.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    but I'd hate for you to pay more than the car is worth at the onset, whether you have the cash or not.

    The car CANNOT be retailed at any dealership, or without disclosure in private sales, which effectively kills any chance of getting the "real" money on the car (if it didn't have the salvage title). That's your bargaining chip.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Another snag I see here is that the previous owner never registered it, which means he never drove it, which means he doesn't know (or perhaps he does) if the water damage has affected any functions.

    Aside from a salvage title being the Kiss of Death for a BMW, a 4 year-old, soon to be 5 year old M3 is yesterday's news. These cars depreciate more than you'd think, and so I don't see $25K as market price. More like $23.5K and falling.

    I don't think I'd give more than $13K-14K for the car and I'd think twice about that.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    all kinds of evils here, particularly all the control computers, motors, alternator, sensors all ready to fail or go intermittent and then fail. corrosion of the wiring harness. rust. mold in the seat cushions.

    I wouldn't take it to put it in a bomb bay and drop it on this weeks National Enemy. this is a very expensive maintenance hog waiting to feed on your wallet, I fear.
  • cutehumorcutehumor Member Posts: 137
    I have a salvage title vehicle. it's a 92 mits mirage. not high end at all. I bought it for 3500 bucks in 98. I've had it for four years and have driven it 45k miles. The car is still running pretty good too as I am very strict on maintence. I believe the key with salvage titles is to buy low end cars. The reason why I say this is because your risk is lower since your not spending that much and the lower end the car..the amount of damage will be less to cause the salvage title.

    For example,

    $3500 car has 2400 damage = salvage title
    35000 car has 26000 dollars damage = salvage title

    big difference my friend. a shopping cart ding can total my car. LOL
  • MarkinAtlantaMarkinAtlanta Member Posts: 194
    I'm going to follow through and have my mechanic look at it and look specifically for the problems you guys outlined. But by and large, I'm very hesitant about the whole idea of this car now.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    There's only one exception I can think of concerning Salvage Cars.

    If the owner has photographic evidence and repair receipts that seem to indicate a non-harmful type of salvage (example, interior stolen, or superficial but expensive sheet metal damage) I might consider a car like that....but again, for a whopping discount.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    Because when it's time to sell it you'll have a car nobody will buy.

    I wouldn't touch one with a twenty foot pole.

    When something is being sold "cheap" there is a compelling reason!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    And if you do buy it, and then want to sell it in 2 years, the new buyer will be online talking to guys like us!!
  • rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    Just put it on Ebay with no reserve and a $1.00 minumum bid, and be glad to get rid of the thing ;-)
  • MarkinAtlantaMarkinAtlanta Member Posts: 194
    "And if you do buy it, and then want to sell it in 2 years, the new buyer will be online talking to guys like us!!"

    Oh God noooooooo!!!! LOL Now I'm really worried.

  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    It's a thankless job. People don't want to be rescued from their temptations. We should know better and just tell him to DO IT!
This discussion has been closed.