Buying Advice: A Salvage Vehicle, Yes or No?

14 May 2024 BY Jean-Sébastien Poudrier

Firstly, what is a salvage vehicle? If you've never heard of this term, know that it refers to a vehicle that has been severely damaged in an accident and subsequently rebuilt.


Although it may seem daunting at first, there are generally good opportunities to be found there, which is why I've decided to discuss it with you today.


A Declaration of Compliance?


Over the past few years, the cost of repairing a vehicle after an accident has skyrocketed. Replacement parts are becoming increasingly expensive, not to mention the cost of labor. All of this means that a vehicle can be declared a total loss quite quickly, even if the damage is primarily cosmetic. Ultimately, this means that you can stumble upon real treasures.


It's important to know that a vehicle with salvage status that can circulate on Quebec roads has been declared compliant following an inspection by the SAAQ. This doesn't mean it's perfect, but it can be driven safely, and that's what matters. In fact, it all depends on the person who carried out the vehicle repair work, as I can tell you that I've found salvage vehicles in better condition than vehicles that haven't been in any accidents.


Do Your Homework?


Caution is always warranted when buying a used vehicle, even from a dealership. If you're interested in a vehicle with salvage status, don't hesitate to request all documentation related to the reconstruction. It's not uncommon for those who rebuild vehicles to take photos and thoroughly document the reconstruction process, including the replaced parts. The more the structure has been damaged, the less likely the vehicle is to be safe in the long run. That's why it's essential to scrutinize everything. Furthermore, don't hesitate to seek the opinion of an expert for a comprehensive evaluation.


The date of the vehicle's reconstruction is also important. If a vehicle was declared salvage more than 10 years ago and is still running perfectly, the chances of it having problems are quite low. However, you never know how things may turn out for a vehicle that has just been rebuilt, even if it has passed the SAAQ inspection.


Why a Salvage Vehicle?


With the average price of used vehicles in 2024, every means is good for saving money. Vehicles with salvage status are generally less expensive, and this is even more true for sports cars or exotic models. The only small drawback is that banks do not finance this type of vehicle. Therefore, you'll need to have cash on hand or find an alternative form of financing.


For my part, I believe there are good deals to be had with salvage vehicles. You just need to be cautious and well-informed.


Jean-Sébastien Poudrier