Buying a car with a restructured title

On Behalf of | Apr 22, 2019 | Consumer Fraud |

A necessary part of buying a used car is checking to see if the vehicle been involved in accidents or damaged in some way. Taking the time do this can mean the difference between buying a reliable used car and one that is not reliable. Doing this may bring to light the fact that the car was involved in a wreck, and it was then salvaged and rebuilt.

Buying a salvaged car with a reconstructed title

Insurance companies will look at a car involved in a wreck and determine if it is worth fixing. Often, they will declare a severely damaged vehicle as a total loss and then issue a salvage title, which is a title for ownership of a vehicle not safe enough to drive on the road.

This can lead, however, to low-end auto dealers and weekend grease monkeys taking a chance on fixing the vehicle up to the point where it can pass inspection. Reasons for doing this vary, but the car model may have a specific following, the car is collectible, or it can fulfill a particular function, such as pulling a boat or occasionally hauling materials.

If the vehicle passes the inspection, it is issued a reconstructed title (which is also known as a rebuilt title). It is worth noting that even if there is a new reconstructed title, there may still be challenges getting the vehicle insured.

Buyer beware

California is well known for its extensive regulations involving vehicles. Nevertheless, an inspection is a relatively quick process where the inspector goes down a checklist. A vehicle’s safety issue may not be addressed on that checklist and may not even reveal itself to the buyer until long after the purchase. This is fine for some, but others may not feel the same way.

Ideally, it is best to buy these types of vehicles from a trustworthy individual or business who stand behind the work. It is also recommended to avoid buying the vehicle until the work is done and it has passed its inspection. If the seller misrepresented himself or herself in using the restructured title, it is advised to speak with an attorney who handles Lemon Laws here in California.