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Old 11-12-2018, 06:39 AM   #1
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Georgetown, IN
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Rebuilt-Flod-Theft Recovery Purchase.....anyone else?

With the Traverse due for replacement we're on the prowl for something new.

The Mother-In-Law mom has bought 3 cars from a dealership local to her in SE Missourri that sells rebuilt/salvaged title cars. Most are flood cars, rebuilt crashes, or theft recoveries that were otherwise totaled from an insurance standpoint. We're visiting this weekend and drove down there to check them out yesterday. There are a couple we're interested in, and the pricing is VERY attractive. The owner seems like a straight shooter and tells me they have a team of 3 guys running the place, and each vehicle is checked/repaired to like new before it's sold. He also tells me if the flooding is beyond the floorboard they pass on them, and if the crash requires more than straightening/body work they pass (no engine/trans damage, and no rollovers). We test drove a couple of the cars he had on the lot and honestly, I had a hard time determining they weren't "standard" used cars. The only tell tale sign I found in any of them was the residual "dirt" left from a flooding in the engine bay. The undercarriages, interiors, and body panels all looked "normal". He had a couple in the shop that he was in the process of "fixing up" that he let us look through. Carpets were out and being replaced. All electronics modules below the dash were inline to be replaced, and he had the fuel tank out of all of them as well. It really does appear to be a "stand up" operation he's running. To back that up he offers multi-year warranties on all the cars (for an extra cost of course).

SO, I have a few concerns about buying one.

Resell Value. We're essentially taking a risk and buying in cheap up front. $35k SUV for $20k cheap. But with that comes the premise that it's not going to be worth anything in 5 years after we've used it and it's time for another something. I haven't really run this scenario out all the way to see how that will affect us. Not sure how I feel about this one. We bought the Traverse for $22.5k 5yrs ago and it's worth $7k now. Not sure if that is buying the wrong model or just the way things go, but can we expect that same 70% value drop over 5yrs on a rebuilt?

Unseen issues......Now if they are really just flooded over the floorboard, or lightly hit and rebuilt the impact to driveline and electronics should be low. However, what if I miss something. Modern AWD vehicles have multiple differentials where fluid coul dbe water contaminated. Things like electronic steering are prevalent now. I'm certainly taking a risk on if those components will have a reduced service life on them. Then the question becomes, is the reduced service life going to impact me. Was it a 10yr part before and now it's a 7yr part that will still last our typical 5-6yr ownership? What else am I missing in here?

Insurance....How does insurance coverage change on a rebuilt title vehicle? If we crash it in the future is it repairable for a second/third time? Will I have an issue getting it repaired/covered by the insurance company? What about getting proper fixes vs 1/2 baked aftermarket parts because "it's already a a rebuilt title" mentality. I have an email out to me insurance agent now to hopefully answer some of these questions, but I'm curious what people here have experienced.

Lending....We don't have $30k sitting around to pay cash, so we're looking at financing. I have an email out to the bank as well to see what they think about the rebuilt title vehicles. I suspect so long as it's properly insured, including appropriate gap coverage then they shouldn't really care, but I'm sure there are rules around that.

The price and "value" seem deceivingly good on the surface. For instance we're looking at a 2017 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum for $23k. KBB puts it around $31k or so and I can't find any within 200mi for less than $29k. So we're saving $6k up front on that one. Despite not being an SUV she found a Fusion Titanium AWD with the Ecoboost engine and only 21k miles for $15k. Again, about $5-6k below the rest of the market it appears.

SO......with that novel length post. Anyone have an experience or recommendations? Did you or someone you know buy into this situation and have good luck? Bad luck? Thanks in advance!
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