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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Just curious if buying a used Element that got side-swiped and has been rebuilt, inspected and licensed with the title having this listed on it "Salvage - Non-Removable" would be worth the gamble for the price savings? Thinking about buying one for my teenage son - as there are a few available. Not major damage to any of them, but enough they were sold as salvage, rebuilt by a professional and are for sale.

I checked with both DMV's involved (location of the salvage rebuilt cars and my state of residence). Both said the car can be licensed as is, just that one state calls it "salvage non-removable" and the other state calls is "prior salvage, rebuilt".

Any thoughts. Again, teenage local driving for the most part (to and from school and school events). Not being purchased as a "I hope this is as good as a brand new Element" type of euphoria.

TIA
 

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hello leadfoot...if the car is a salvage,,then it had enough damage on it that the insurance company made it a total loss rather then fix it,,,to me that means the structure of the car was compromised....i would never buy that car. i have a son and would not feel safe as a parent with him in the car ..thats just my opinion...good luck with your decision
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
hello leadfoot...if the car is a salvage,,then it had enough damage on it that the insurance company made it a total loss rather then fix it,,,to me that means the structure of the car was compromised....i would never buy that car. i have a son and would not feel safe as a parent with him in the car ..thats just my opinion...good luck with your decision
Understood - and believe me, I am contemplating all of that. One has to figure that if it was enough the insurance company made it a total loss, something must have happened to the car besides superficial exterior body damage.

Here is an example of one of the sideswipe Elements that comes up. Pictures are from start to finish of the sideswipe, the body repair and the finished product. I wonder how much structural damage was compromised in this particular vehicle. It doesn't look too bad...







http://m46.photobucket.com/albums/mcathcart/Honda Element/?src=www









Finished product after the body work...





But, again, this is one of the ones I was looking at that ended up being a salvage vehicle before it was rebuilt. The guy who fixed it has driven it for 20K after he fixed it without any problems.
 

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I drove a salvaged Tacoma for 5 years on a daily basis. The salvage 'brand' is nothing more than a financial decision by the insurance company. If you can make it operable for the right price it works. Just remember selling it will be tough. Did I mention I work in insurance?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I drove a salvaged Tacoma for 5 years on a daily basis. The salvage 'brand' is nothing more than a financial decision by the insurance company. If you can make it operable for the right price it works. Just remember selling it will be tough. Did I mention I work in insurance?
I understand selling it would be tough. This would be a vehicle for my son to use for his senior year in high school and then in college (nice college set of wheels to haul stuff around).

Anything I am missing in viewing the pictures that you guys see? I'm not sure how that chunk was knocked out on the rear bumper, but it has also been fixed. Perhaps one red flag is that the owner recently put 2 new tires on the car (not 4, just 2). Maybe the frame alignment is off causing tire wear or maybe he just rotated the front tires to the rear and put 2 new ones up front.
 

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Could be they never rotated and just bought two. One thing I wold do is check the alignment. But it doesn't matter, you should be able to pull the veh report and check the damage done. But the alignment check is what I would do if it were my kids. Screw the frame, what if a ball joint was damaged? Just have it checked out at a shop that can be trusted.

The rear bumper that is damaged is just a cover. No biggee.
 

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The pictures don't show if the vehicle has every been on a body alignment machine. That would be my first concern. If the body is not aligned, the strength of the structure is compromised and will not work as well if a second crash were to occur.

I don't know how they do repairs in a body shop, but I'm not sure all that bondo is a good sign for the passenger side doors.
 

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If the body is not aligned with the frame to a degree it is unnoticeable, it would pass my test. If it is bad enough to notice from below, there may be an issue. But this car does not look to bad. keep in mind I cannot see anything mechanical.

The bondo is no issue. He changed the front fender. The doors are fine as displayed. There may be some distortion in the paint but this is no collectors item so it doesn't matter.

What is the price tag on it?

Also, was the accident described to you?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
If the body is not aligned with the frame to a degree it is unnoticeable, it would pass my test. If it is bad enough to notice from below, there may be an issue. But this car does not look to bad. keep in mind I cannot see anything mechanical.

The bondo is no issue. He changed the front fender. The doors are fine as displayed. There may be some distortion in the paint but this is no collectors item so it doesn't matter.

What is the price tag on it?

Also, was the accident described to you?
All he says is that it was side swiped by another vehicle. He bought the vehicle wrecked from the insurance company and fixed it. Side air bags did not deploy as the "hit" I guess wasn't that violent. Right side doors now close exactly like they did before the accident. No error codes after the accident with regard to the airbags (and none now either).

Price tag would be negotiated, but I obviously would not pay as much as one that had not been wrecked and rebuilt.:grin:
 

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Two things:

Run the Carfax (cheap)

Ask if you can have alignment checked. If he balks, you walk. Have the rear checked as well.

This is peace of mind for $100

If it was a side swipe, then you should be in good shape. The Carfax should have a description of the accident.

**One thing bothers me. If the Ins Co uses a method of 75% damage, Let's say the value was 10K. Where is the 7500 of damage at? Def have the alignment checked. If it ran for 20k miles after the accident that is where the pain would be. However, every adjuster and customer is different. I have seen them totaled when they should not and visa versa.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Two things:

Run the Carfax (cheap)

Ask if you can have alignment checked. If he balks, you walk. Have the rear checked as well.

This is peace of mind for $100

If it was a side swipe, then you should be in good shape. The Carfax should have a description of the accident.

**One thing bothers me. If the Ins Co uses a method of 75% damage, Let's say the value was 10K. Where is the 7500 of damage at? Def have the alignment checked. If it ran for 20k miles after the accident that is where the pain would be. However, every adjuster and customer is different. I have seen them totaled when they should not and visa versa.
He checked the alignment and nothing had to be pulled. I guess that's good news...

"Nothing had to be pulled. I always have the alignment checked on anything I repair."
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
If he is honest that is good news. As a good American, I find it hard to trust anyone selling me a car. The more trustworthy they seem the more I doubt them. I am a strong believer in empirical evidence.
I'll run the Carfax report. If I decided to purchase, it sounds worth the money to take it to a frame shop to have them check it out and offer advice.
 

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hey leadfoot...with reguards to the rear bumper even if he changed the bumper,,there was an impact there,,,i would be very concerned to how much damage was done to the rear,,,even if the pictures only shows a minor crack..its whats damaged behind that crack...btw whats his asking price???and how many miles are on the car???
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
I'll run the Carfax report. If I decided to purchase, it sounds worth the money to take it to a frame shop to have them check it out and offer advice.
Carfax report says:

Original owner....

Damage Report Accident reported
Involving front impact
It hit an embankment
Extensive damage reported
Vehicle towed

Salvage Title issued and the Element was sold to the 2nd owner who did the repair work and has been driving it for the past 16 months.

Carfax also states the history impact should deduct $1660 from the retail book value. That seems to be a small deduction for a car that was totaled by the insurance company and rebuilt. Hmmmm......

Everything else follows the history of what the current owner told me. Car wrecked in 2008, declared a loss by the insurance company. Sold at auction with the issued salvage title where he bought it and took it home to repair it himself. He's been driving it ever since and is now selling the vehicle. The word salvage must remain on the title.

Any thoughts on all of that? The pictures I posted don't seem to jive with my vision of a front impact and I guess the sideswipe was the embankment - or perhaps the embankment was hit following the sideswipe. Carfax doesn't mention sideswipe. And I guess the front wheel area would qualify as "front impact".
 

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leadfoot...something is wrong...that dont look like no front impact....be very carefull my friend,,,and remember its going to be a nighmare for you to try to sell this car down the road....how many miles are on the car??
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
leadfoot...something is wrong...that dont look like no front impact....be very carefull my friend,,,and remember its going to be a nighmare for you to try to sell this car down the road....how many miles are on the car??
97K

Purpose is not to sell the car, but drive it into the ground (provided it is not already into the ground due to the wreck it had in 2008).:lol:

Based on your comments of something looking wrong, I guess it could be that this car was in some sort of a front impact as the Carfax report shows leading to the total loss back in 2008. The 2nd owner may have purchased it from the insurance company auction, rebuilt it and the sideswipe pictures we see may have been a 2nd accident that was not reported, but simply rebuilt by himself leading to the scenario of doubt (I'm just guessing here as fish does smell from quite a distance).

LeadFoot
 

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I seriously doubt there was any real collision on the rear. It looks like it was torn. There is a cover over the actual bumper and that is what you are looking at. If the bumper inside is sesriously dented, then dig deeper. Pull the spare tire out of the inside and look for crumpled metal there.

But I doubt it is much to worry about. You can see a lighter shade around the area which indicates to me a tear. My girlfriend backed into my Jeep bumper and did the same thing to my car.
 

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Ps

"Any thoughts on all of that? The pictures I posted don't seem to jive with my vision of a front impact and I guess the sideswipe was the embankment - or perhaps the embankment was hit following the sideswipe. Carfax doesn't mention sideswipe. And I guess the front wheel area would qualify as "front impact".

It would qualify as front impact, but the alignment check will show any real damage to that area. It either fits or it doesn't. Regardless, the front area is easy for anyone to observe. Just have the alignment shop look at it.

Go back to your book and use the 'person to person' pricing, not retail. If you are using the retail amount as your starting point you have already lost on this car. The money saved is the only advantage to buying salvaged. The discount will be deep as it cannot ever be sold to a dealer. Nor will it's brand ever be reversed.
 
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