You've found a great deal on what seems to be a very good car, but then you realize that it has a rebuilt title. Does this mean you should completely rule out the vehicle as a buying option? Or, should you purchase the car in spite of its status? Answer this: Do you feel lucky?

What is a Rebuilt Title?

buying a car with a rebuilt title
If a vehicle has never been in a serious accident, in a flood, the object of theft or recalled by a manufacturer due to a defect, it is said to have a "clean" title. However, once a car is totaled, flooded, stolen or been labeled as "undrivable" for any other reason, it is given a "salvage" title, and it cannot be legally registered at this point.

However, cars with salvage titles are sometimes repaired, and if these mended vehicles can pass an inspection, they are assigned "rebuilt" titles. This is to let consumers know that, while these cars have sustained significant damage in the past, they are now at least drivable and eligible for registration.

Inspection Standards Vary from State to State

Different states have different laws concerning the standards necessary for a vehicle to earn a rebuilt title. According to Jalopnik, some states enlist law enforcement officials to serve as inspectors, and they are primarily concerned with whether or not the parts used to repair a car have been stolen. In these states, it would be entirely possible for missing airbags or some other defect to slip past the inspector.

Check your state's laws regarding rebuilt titles before seriously considering your purchase, and always be extremely cautious when dealing with any car that has a checkered past.

  • Have the vehicle checked by a trusted mechanic. This rule applies to any used car purchase, but is an absolute necessity with a "rebuilt" vehicle. While some states maintain fairly strict standards for considering a car roadworthy, mistakes can always happen. You don't want to take any chances when your safety is on the line.
  • Prepare to have difficulty insuring the car. Many insurance providers will not extend comprehensive collision insurance to vehicles with rebuilt titles. Check around to see if you will be able to acquire the coverage that you want/need before committing to buy the car.
  • Don't expect an easy or lucrative resale. You might be okay with a vehicle that was once considered undrivable, but not everyone is so open-minded. If you're planning on driving the car until it's scrap, then you won't have to worry. However, if you're hoping to find a buyer one day, you may have to search hard and be willing to accept very little money for the vehicle, even if it actually runs pretty well.

Many consumers choose to avoid buying cars with rebuilt titles just because purchasing one is such a gamble. You could end up with a reliable vehicle that will last for years. Or, your "bargain" may cost you hundreds or thousands in repair bills down the road. It really could go either way. Most buyers are willing to pay a little extra for the peace of mind that comes with a clean title.

Rebuilding Your Credit

Even if your credit is severely damaged, it's still salvageable. If you're in the process of rebuilding your credit, financing a car is a good start. With an auto loan, you'll get an opportunity to improve your credit rating with every timely payment. And Auto Credit Express can help. We can match you with a local dealer that works with unique credit situations.

Fill out our simple and secure auto loan request form and start today.