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What to look for while shopping for a used vehicle

Are you looking to purchase a new used vehicle? Because we care, we want you to know what to look for in your investment and for the safety of your family. You don’t have to know a lot about cars to ensure you are getting something safe, so here are a few tips to look for while shopping.

  1. Make sure the vehicle has a clean title. If the title is not clean it will state it on the title, non-highway use, or salvage. This means it is not road worthy to be driven on the streets. We are seeing a lot of rebuilt vehicles, at one point it had been deemed salvaged and someone has put it back together enough for it to be okay to drive on highways and the streets. These are more difficult to see unless you pull a carfax report – it does not always tell you everything, the dealer or seller states to you it was salvage or you see the title. In the state of Kansas once a title is salvaged it stays a salvaged title.
  2. How does a vehicle become a salvaged or rebuilt vehicle? if a vehicle has been rebuilt or damaged enough to be totaled by an insurance company they call this a rebuilt or salvaged vehicle. The vehicle could have been in a collision that has caused the frame to be compromised, Flooded, or damaged enough that it cost over the amount the vehicle is worth to repair or fix to the meet the manufacture’s standard
  3. What to look for to know if the vehicle is a salvaged or rebuilt. Each state has their own identity sticker or plate that must be put on the vehicle if it is salvaged or rebuilt. See examples of Kansas’s stickers. You can find them by opening the driver’s door and looking on the right jam area. Dealers are required to tell you if the vehicle is salvaged. Not all private sales will tell you this and the state of Kansas is an “as is” state so the vehicle is sold “as is” and the vehicle is yours once purchased no returns.

Here are some reasons vehicles can be salvaged or rebuilt.

  1. If the vehicle was in an accident compromising the frame. The vehicle in the event of an accident will not protect you as good as it would have as the manufacture intended. It also could cause premature wear on some parts due to modifications made to the vehicle to make it look and drive like it is ok.
  2. The vehicle could have been in a flood, this could cause you headache later with electrical problems that are costly to repair and will continue to cause damage for the life of the vehicle. Vehicles under water also could bring hidden mold. We have had customers bring their vehicle to us for electrical problems and found severe mold in the vehicle, the customer was wondering why they were having health problems since purchasing the vehicle, so don’t let this be you. With flooded vehicles or vehicles from northern states often have more rust under the vehicle and in areas you would normally not find rust. Rust may seem normal to some degree but a lot of rust cost more time and money to repair from a body and maintaining the vehicle. In some cases it can be so bad the vehicle cannot be put on a lift to do repairs or in the event of an accident the integrity of the metal causes it to not holdup as well.
  3. If a vehicle is a salvage or rebuilt vehicle, it may be more difficult to get a loan on a rebuilt vehicle and insurance will not pay the full amount of what the car is worth if it is salvaged or rebuilt, but they will insure it with full coverage so don’t fooled if someone says it is safe because you can get full coverage on the vehicle. Please be careful on the price you pay for a rebuilt or salvaged vehicle. If you do chose to purchase a rebuilt or salvaged vehicle understand its value is not the same as it would be if the vehicle had a clean title.

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Have the vehicle inspected by a certified technician at a shop that you trust. The cost for an evaluation at a shop is far less than the cost of purchasing a vehicle based on what the person selling the vehicle tells you. By getting a professional opinion on the condition of the vehicle it will help give you peace of mind and make you aware of potentially any upcoming cost of repairs the vehicle may need. Ultimately you want to have all the information about problems the vehicle may have, up keep costs and with this information ensure you are paying a fair price for the vehicle. Being prepared for the cost of owning and investing in something you will depend on for some time is important having it looked over by a professional helps give you the comfort of knowing you are making the right decision with the purchase of your new used vehicle. Even reaching out to the shop that you trust to ask questions is better than nothing. A shop that cares about their customers are there to help with guidance and will know how to advise you further.

Please don’t let this scare you from purchasing a used vehicle. This blog is only to help inform you that we can’t know everything about a car but there are professionals to help you in making the right desionsc on a new used vehicle purchase. Being a shop owner, I see and hear of concerns customers have on purchasing a new car and wanted to share some information on rebuilt and salvaged vehicles. So many consumers purchase these vehicles and don’t understand some of the added costs and down time associated with purchasing a rebuilt or salvaged vehicle. It is played down like it is not a big deal. You never know and by educating you on things to look for when making the investment of a new to you car you can feel confident and accept the choice you make in your car buying experience.

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