More and more, those in the second-hand car market are weighing their options when it comes to purchasing a used car. And buying a salvage car is no longer an outlier alternative, but is getting some press and definitely worth considering if you are prepared to do your homework and if you know what you are looking for.

Naysayers may caution you against investing in an accident-damaged car from a salvage specialist, but we are here to step up your due diligence checklist and highlight the advantages of such a purchase.

A salvage vehicle’s backstory

Any car that has sustained extensive or significant damage - from an accident, fire or flood - that the insurer deems the repairs too costly in relation to the car’s market value, will be written off as a total loss and sold to a salvage specialist to offset the cost and retitled with a ‘salvage’ title. If the car has been repaired or rebuilt, it usually gets a ‘restored salvage’ title to alert prospective buyers.

But accident-damaged or ‘written off’ cars aren’t the only options you will find for sale at a salvage specialist. Vehicles with severe exterior damage from a hailstorm will also find themselves under the salvage car banner.

Then there are also stolen and recovered vehicles that do not display extensive damage that are also included in this category. (In such cases, the car owner has been reimbursed by the insurer for its value before the vehicle was retrieved).

If you are considering buying a salvage title car, finding a reputable premium salvage service provider is the first step to doing your homework before closing the deal on your next set of wheels.

The next chapter - Buying a salvage car

At the outset, you have two options:

  • Buy a salvage vehicle that you can drive but which will still require after-sales repairs.
  • Buy a salvage vehicle that you will first need to repair before it can take you places.

Whichever option you decide on, buying a damaged or salvage car is a savvy solution. But we do advise that you do the following checks before you make a final decision:

Tips for buying a salvage title car

#1 Take a closer look

Anyone considering an accident-damaged car as their next ride is prepared that there are inherent issues that will need to be addressed. Find out what lurks beneath - i.e what prior damage and repairs you are dealing with or what repairs are required. Before buying a car with a salvage title, arrange to have it inspected by a professional and trusted mechanic. (You are welcome to bring your mechanic with you to assess the damage and repair costs). You may well be getting a bargain, but do the post-purchase costs sync with numbers?

#2 Crack the code

Salvage title cars come with certain industry codes that define the extent of damage incurred. Here at Hallmark Auto, we supply cars that comply with the following industry-standard codes:

  • Code 2: A vehicle which has been registered in the name of a natural or juristic person as a second-hand vehicle. The vehicle is not de-registered and is able to be sold to a third party as a used vehicle.
  • Code 3: A vehicle which has been de-registered. The vehicle may be sold to a third party, but if re-registered, will be reflected as a rebuilt vehicle.

Get a mechanic to quote on repairs before buying a salvage car.

#3 Do the maths

Buying a salvage car is definitely a viable solution if you are cash-strapped. (You will get a good deal below market value). It also offers you the benefit of buying up. The ‘bargain factor’ ranks really high on the motivation to go this route when looking for a second-hand vehicle. Even though lending institutions typically see salvage title cars as riskier investments, if you have a good credit score and a good relationship with your bank, a personal loan may be a viable solution if you do not have the cash.

The final chapter - Visit Hallmark Auto

The reasons for buying used vehicles are broad and varied and the niche audience for buying salvage title cars is growing in South Africa. If this is you, then Hallmark Auto Salvage Specialists - located in Bramley, Johannesburg and Pretoria West - is where you will find your next vehicle.

We not only have combined storage capacity for over 1000 vehicles at any given time, but we sell salvage vehicles sourced from the country’s top insurers that have been stolen and recovered or been in an accident.

Visit our FAQ page to learn more or browse our Salvage Vehicles.

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