So, You found the car you always wanted or maybe its just someting you can afford to drive and the deal looks great on paper until you arrive and find there is some accident damage that needs to be fixed before you can even get on the road.
The owner tells you the damage can be repaired pretty easy and you believe that most of the work is in your ability. So should you buy a damaged car or is it better to walk away and let a body shop or junk yard take care of the nightmare.
The first thing you have to consider is will the value of the vehicle once you have made the repairs be more then the initial cost and everything you will put into it?…. and how much longer it will hold that value.
If the vehicle has already had a salvage title attached to it or if it is over 5 or 10 years old most banks won’t loan you the money so you will need need to look for a Personal Loan from your bank rather then a standard car loan.
If you are good with your hands I would suggest that you purchase damaged vehicles only after having them inspected and valued by a mechanic. Any accident damaged vehicles should have close inspections of the frame and suspension. Repairs to frame damage is not something most average home mechanics can fix and it is often the reason even light visual damage makes a car a total loss.
Remember that a vehicle that over 5 years old will most likely need suspension, break and at least light engine repairs even if the owner kept it in great condition. These hidden repairs are often overlooked because potential buyers are more concerned with fixing what they see. You have to add these costs on.
Even just over looking the cost of replacing the exhaust system for $500 could mean your deal is in the sellers favor and not yours… So you must account for all repairs necessary within the next couple years on top of any repairs needed to pass State inspection and get it on the road.
You should also do a background check on any used vehicle today because there are too many people especially dealers that are selling cars that have been Fleet or Rentals or ones that have been listed by insurance companies as total losses.
Many dealers use their networks and Auto Auctions to re-brand a Salvage Vehicle which means it is to be used for Junk as a clean title by reselling it over and over in auctions in different states.The title does not show repairs but a good internet title search company will.
Visit Ebay and look for your vehicle and check its value both locally and nationally then view the free carfax reports and you will see how some cars that look perfect have gone through a large number of reconstructed bodies and titles.
If you find a car with a reconstructed title I would not purchase it. Even if a mechanic tells you the work has been done to perfection you will still find it hard to resell.
However $2500 for any vehicle today that runs and can pass inspection is not so bad if you can get 3-5 years out of it.
Better to buy it and drive it and in the summer hit a few junk yards and see if you can spend $200 on parts then match the paint the best you can.