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10 Reasons a Car Might Have a Salvage Title


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The car is being sold for parts only.
Sometimes, cars that receive salvage titles can only be sold for parts and not legally driven.
Sometimes, cars that receive salvage titles can only be sold for parts and not legally driven.
Hemera/Thinkstock

One of the restrictions on salvage-title cars in most states is that they cannot be legally operated on the road. Some states go one step further, declaring certain salvage-title cars as being too damaged to rebuild. These cars can only be sold for parts.

This is a situation where a savvy home mechanic could obtain useable parts for a bargain price. If you have a vehicle you repair yourself, and you have the space and tools necessary to stockpile, clean and organize the parts, buying a "parts car" can provide a cheap source of parts -- especially if your car is older, rare or no longer supported by manufacturers' parts suppliers.

The drawback to buying a salvaged car for parts comes when you complete the sale. In some states, only licensed rebuilders can purchase salvaged cars. Check your state's laws before making a purchase [source: QuinStreet Insurance Agency Inc.].

If you can purchase the salvage-title car, think before you act: How will you get it home (it's not licensed, so you can't drive it)? Do you have room to store it without violating any "junk car" ordinances in your community? Do you have the tools, time and knowledge to disassemble it, and do you have a plan to store the parts until you need them? Thinking through these questions is important, to ensure your parts car doesn't become a useless eyesore if it's stored incorrectly in the wrong place.


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