10 Tips for Buying a Salvage Auto


Get the Facts

The CARFAX, that is. So you've had the salvage auto inspected by a qualified repair shop — still, the inspection might not tell you anything about the car's past history as a wretched lemon. In addition to going on a thorough hunt for current damage, make sure you look into the car's past.

As a first step, consider a free Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) check at the National Insurance Crime Bureau. This will show you if a car has a salvage title, or if the car has been reported as stolen (but not recovered). You can usually find a car's VIN on the driver's side interior dash, where it can be seen through the windshield. The VIN is often stamped in other areas of the car, such as in the doorframe or in the engine bay, but you may not have access to these areas on a car you are trying to buy.