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Salvage Cars – What They Are and What Dangers They May Hide?

Looking for a salvaged car to travel in? Be sure to read this guide first.

Salvaged cars

The salvage can be an attractive business, and come at a good price. However, there are risks in acquiring a given car as a total loss.

What is a salvage car?

A salvaged car is basically a car that is reintroduced into the market after an accident for which it was totally lost – that is, it was considered that the amount to be paid for its arrangement did not offset the total value of the car or that automobile was in an irreversible state.

When these cars return to the market, they have already undergone mechanical and aesthetic rescue operations, appearing (almost) unblemished. However, there is damage that not even the best workshop can repair. And some may compromise security that may not be covered through the salvage car insurance policies. Follow our tips for detecting a salvaged car and learn about all the dangers it can hide. However, if, after passing the inspection, you still have doubts, ask to take the car to a garage that you trust. Another way to understand the vehicle’s history is to simulate insurance for that license plate.

Analyze the tires

Go around the car and check the tire wear. If it is uneven between the car wheels, it could be in front of a car that has suffered a serious side impact, having twisted or warped the axles.

Watch out for the pillars!

The pillars of a car are an integral part of its structure, and they support the roof. Pillar A lies between the windscreen and the driver’s door; B between the front and rear doors; and the C, before the tailgate (vans, minivans and others, also have a pillar D). Study them carefully, checking if they reveal signs of recent arrangements or paintings. Check the positioning of the door hinges. A damaged abutment compromises body rigidity.

Inspect the glasses

Glass can be broken by a stone in a car robbery or an accident situation. However, the easiest way to tell if the car has been involved in a serious accident is to inspect the windows: if you find that their numbering is very different, both in content and in graphic form, try to understand what caused the breakdown. If you detect more than one replaced glass, be suspicious.

Lift the carpets

In small touches, the cabin floor is not pinched, but in serious accidents may be one of the damage to be recorded. Therefore, lift the carpets and check if the floor is original or shows signs of recovery, recent painting, etc.

Check the serial number

Among salvaged cars returning to the market is not uncommon to find those that are basically a “several in one,” having been taken advantage of parts of other vehicles, engine included. Check the engine serial number and confirm that it matches the number on the documents shown.

New roof?

A shiny new roof on a car where the age is already weighing may mean that some signs of wear and tear have been corrected by overexposure to the elements or repaired, for example, rust points, but it may also well mean one thing: rollover ! In this case, verify that the recovery has been performed with care and competence.

Check the opening and closing of all doors

In an accident where there is structural damage, the first signs are in the alignment or lack thereof. Open and close doors, bonnet, and trunk, checking that the edges fit together and the doorways reveal similar measures. Difficulty opening or closing can also be an indicator of an accident.

Finally, another element that highlights flood victims is the electrical part. Lamps that do not work or systems that do not work when fired, and that work when no one has pushed any buttons, are a serious sign of trouble. Flooding oxidizes contacts, which is especially problematic in modern vehicles with many power stations. Some of them may cost more than the car. Escape from cars with electrical problems as much as you can.


If you have end up buying a salvage car and you feel like it isn’t save you’ll probably want to sell it. However, it might not be the best idea to sell it to a private party rather dealing with a company is safer. For example, you can find a local junkyard in your area that buy cars like this one in Pasadena, Texas. This will allow you to sell the salvage car without having a guilty conscience.


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