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Old September 4th, 2007, 17:10   #1
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Simi Valley
TDI(s): 2003 Jetta
Default Salvage Title TDI

I am new as of today to this forum, so I need opinions. I am looking to buy a 2003 Jetta TDI that was in a rear end accident and was considered totaled by the guys insurance, but he had it fixed and it now has a salvage title. The car is beautiful and looks great and appeas to be straight. It has 33,984 miles and is loaded, dark blue and a sun roof. I am taking it to the VW dealer for a full inspection on Thursday. If the car is solid, what is the general concensus? Should I go for it and what is the car valued at? KBB value is 16-18K for private party. What's the salvage title value? The price he is asking seems really resonable, but if I tell you I'm afraid someone will buy out from under me.

It is the car I have been looking for to drive to work and as a third car and I don't plan on selling it..

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Old September 4th, 2007, 17:14   #2
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Joe: same thread, different day --> http://forums.tdiclub.com/showthread...24#post1840624
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Old September 4th, 2007, 17:18   #3
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You may not plan on selling it, but what will insurance give you on a car with a salvage title if it gets wrecked? My guess is: not much!
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Old September 4th, 2007, 19:33   #4
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I have a 1997 Tacoma with a salvage title, fixed it myself. Insurance rates are like it has a clean title but was told by State Farm they would not pay normal amount. Just something to think about. Got mine with 38K now have 243k so its been good for me. If it works for you go for it.
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Old September 4th, 2007, 19:53   #5
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Location: Front Range of Colorado
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I had good luck with a S titled honda civic. When you go to sell it or trade it though it will be HEAVILY discounted if the dealer will take it at all. Talk to some dealers in your area and see what they think it is worth. Lot of folks sell these things to unsuspecting people. that is how I got the honda.
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Old September 4th, 2007, 20:34   #6
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Sneads Ferry, NC

8-10k depending on how bad you want the car and the way the repair looks. If I was buying.
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Old September 4th, 2007, 20:59   #7
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Location: Between Toronto & Montreal
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Originally Posted by JoeBuck
I am taking it to the VW dealer for a full inspection on Thursday.
I'd rather see you bring it to TDI Guru Leonard Harview in Fullerton for the inspection... he's a straight talker who'll give you the real story of whether this car is worth the trouble.

Wild Rose Motors, Ltd
148F S. Lloyd Ave.
Fullerton, CA 92833

(714) 449-0485

Good luck,

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Old September 4th, 2007, 21:39   #8
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Originally Posted by ymz
I'd rather see you bring it to TDI Guru Leonard Harview in Fullerton for the inspection...
It's a long, long, long haul from Simi Valley to Fullerton. It looks bad on the map, but it's worse on the ground -- probably 2+ hours in each direction.

JoeBuck: IF the car has been perfectly repaired (possible), and is as good as any other Jetta TDI with similar mileage and a clean title -- then you have to knock off some unknown thousands of dollars because of the salvage title.

Originally Posted by JoeBuck
KBB value is 16-18K for private party.
The KBB website says this about salvage-titled vehicles:
" A vehicle with a branded title (salvage, flood, etc.) or unsubstantiated mileage is considered "poor." A vehicle in poor condition may require an independent appraisal to determine its value. Kelley Blue Book does not attempt to report a value on a "poor" vehicle because the value of cars in this category varies greatly."

I plugged everything into the KBB checklist except salvage title, AND I entered 133k instead of 33k miles, and it kicked out around $10k. If the Jetta is in good mechanical condition, and you feel like taking a chance, then I think $10k or maybe just a tiny bit more might be fair.

You will be your own insurance -- no point in getting full coverage collision and comprehensive. And you'll be your own warranty, you might even have to take care of safety recalls on your own nickel. (But the $25 brake pedal sensor is the only one that applies, AFAIK.)
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Old September 5th, 2007, 07:58   #9
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I have rebuilt several "salvage title" vehicles (only one VW, the current driver) and certainly think for someone who can do the rebuild they can be great buys to put together and keep to drive until they are run out. Having said that, I don't know if I would buy one already "repaired". Was it done professionaly or by the prior owner?? Rear end damage I would especially stay away from, usually lots of cutting, welding, bodywork. Rust and corrosion soon follow, at least in the salt slop we deal with 5 months out of a year here in MN. You should see some of the units sold as repairables at the yards and auctions that are bought by "shops" and private guys to be resold to the public. Some states do not even title as "salvage" or "prior salvage"-at least you know. The ones I have personally bought to rebuild have been front end damage-mostly bolt on replacement parts and air bags, etc. Lot easier since I don't profess to have autobody skills, that gets done by someone else. My daughter totalled out her first car (big surprise) which I had rebuilt. It had full coverage on it at the time (her choice) and the ins co paid it off at 75% of value, deducted 25% for the salvage title. She came out fine since Dad had done the work the first time got paid for the wrecked corpse and Dad put it back together again. I would be wary especially if the seller doesn't have photos of the unrepaired damage.

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Old September 5th, 2007, 08:57   #10
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Simi Valley
TDI(s): 2003 Jetta

Thanks for all the advice and personal experiences. The repair was done at a body shop and I looked it over pretty well and it seemd like it was done right. The guy is asking 10K, which seems to be about the right price, although I am going to offer to write him a check for 9K and see if he takes it, that is if the inspection checks out.

I will post the results and I look forward to all the information I can gather from this forum.
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Old September 6th, 2007, 17:29   #11
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i've repaired hundreds of salvage cars and they can be a great value if properly repaired. i think 60 to 70 percent of a realistic retail dealer price is fair for a car correctly fixed, but sometimes that is not easy to determine. any half decent body shop can make the vehicle look pretty good on the outside but as TDI's are bought for their longevity whats under the paint, caulk, undercoat etc is pretty important, especially since you are looking at a newer car that could be on the road for many years yet. i have had various mechanics inspect rebuilt cars over the years and honestly i would not count on them to assess the quality of a collision repair. thats just not what they do. i once had a buyers mechanic call the state police on me because i offered a car for sale to his customer that had been "clipped" in the rear. where or how this was done was not evident to him upon inspection so he got it in his mind that the car must not have been legit. i had to remove some trim panels and point out some structural details to convince him that the car was repaired as i claimed. i have had other mechanics do cursory "inspections" for customers, mainly looking at stuff like suspension, brakes etc and completely overlook any structural issues.
you if you are going to shell out serious money it would be useful if a first rate body guy could examine the car, in addition to a mechanical inspection. by the way, did the seller tell you specifically what was repaired/replaced? does he have any photos of the car damaged?

on the subject of insurance, i have had numerous customers total their rebuilt cars, and every one was paid the normal payoff, no adjustment for salvage history. that is just my experience, but you can ask your insurance carrier, dont be suprised if they dont have a clear answer, but one thing is for sure, your rate for coverage wont be any different from a non-salvage vehicle..

all this being said, it sounds like the car could be a good deal for around 10k. just know that you wont be able to so easily sell/trade the car thus you should plan on keeping it for some time. and i would say that there are a lot of shyster/hackers out there cobbling together insurance salvage and you definitely dont want to get stuck with rebuilt junk so you better get the most disclosure from the seller and best inspection you can. ps if you have the vin i may be able to get some pics for you if the car was sold on one of the bigger salvage systems fairly recently.
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Old September 7th, 2007, 21:21   #12
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Simi Valley
TDI(s): 2003 Jetta

Follow-up. I bought the car for $9000.00 and I feel really good about it. Recap - 2003 Jetta TDI GLS with automatic, dark blue wth black interior, sunroof, power and heater seats. Maybe this basic for a Jetta, I don't know. The body work is well done and it is straight and drives great. I had the full inspection done. I am happy to finally have my very own TDI and plan to have it for years to come. (My 7 year old daughter wants it when she can drive, she says it's cute)
One item - I had to remove the sunroof visor becasue it was stuck and the sunroof wouldn't close. It was completely tweeked and one clip was broken off. Are the sunroofs a problem for any other Jetta owners?

"Happy" JoeBuck
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Old September 7th, 2007, 21:23   #13
Join Date: May 2007
Location: San Diego, CA
Fuel Economy: 37MPG lifetime

I don't have any problems with the sunroof on my '03 GLS.

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