Rebuilt Title Search by VIN
VIN history search on Rebuilt title vehicles is critically important and should be perforemd before you hire a mechanic to inspect the vehicle you are planning to buy, simply because inspections are costly but necessary. You want to pay once for a car that is worth being inspected.
Altough the exact title name for rebuilt vehicles may vary in diffent states, as well as criteria for issuing the title, the most common pattern is the following. A rebuilt vehicle is a vehicle that has had a total loss title or certificate (Salvage, in rare cases Junk) due to a total loss event (damage or theft) and became non-roadworthy, then was fixed, inspected at a DMV facility and registered with a Rebuilt title or its equivalent as a roadworthy vehicle so it can be legally used on the road again. 'Total loss' means that a vehicle with a full coverage was either stolen or received a damage and the insurance company found it less disadvantageous to pay total loss settlement than fix it. As a rule, this happens when repair costs exceed 70% of the vehicles Actual Cash Value (ACV) or when the vehicle is stolen. The branded title (Rebuilt, Rebuilt Salvage, Revived, Reconstructed) should remain on the vehicle permanently, even though the ways of clearing a branded title (aka title washing scam) do exist, so even a clean title cannot be a proof of a clean history.
Searching on the history of a rebuilt vehicle is important for a number or reasons:
In rare cases the seller does not discolse the branded title (Rebuilt Salvage) and the buyer who didn't run the check on the vehicle title by VIN gets the title by mail after signing the contract and only then learnd about a branded title and that the vehicle is devalued. This is illegal and the buyer can file a claim against the seller but still your want to avoid any troubles and associated losses of that type.
You cannot estimate the value of a rebuilt vehicle unless you research what happened. Knowing the make, model and age in not enough for rebuilt vehicles. The fact that the vehicle has a roadworthy status again means that the DMV checked it for use of stolen parts, verified the VIN and possibly veryfied that it conforms to the basic safety standards. However, there are damage types that devalue a vehicle most. These are frame damage and water or fire damage. Even such vehicles can be legally put back on the road but their value is much lower due to increased maintenance costs, high possibility of failure and impaired safety.
As said above, safetly of rebuilt vehicles may be questionable, especially in the mentioned categories. Specifically, on water damaged vehicles electric systems may fail at any moment and even the mechanic who checks the vehicle for your cannot tell for sure when it happens. Salt water damage is even worse because it entails massive corrosion of components that have been exposed to salt water. Vehicles with a damaged frame are unsafe because safety features calibrated during crash-tests no longet apply to such vehicles and the frame rigidness is deteriorated.
You should search for any airbag deployment incidents. Unfortunately, this may be a matter of life and death because of airbag scams not just rebuilt but any accident vehciles are exposed to. Some uncrupulous mechanics who are supposed to recharge the airbag may install just an airbag cover for $10-15 in its place without a working airbag and do some manipulations with electirc circuits so that airbag light incidators function the same way as on a functioning airbag. Another way rebuilt vehicles are left without working airbags is the use of defective relacement airbags from dismantled or parts-only vehicles. For example, airbags subject to the massive Takata airbag recall may be kept in unappropriate conditions (hot or humid) and so become not just unreliable or malfunctioning but even explosive and fail to protect people inside the car or even kill. Even if you know that the vehicle has a rebuilt title the fact of airbag deplyoment may be undisclosed by the seller, even though its illegal. Some rebuilt vehicles may have prior accident involving airbag deployment but not resulting in total loss so the title is clean and raises no suspicions. In such cases the buyer's attention is focused on the damage that caused total loss, not on the incidents that took place earlier and critical safety problems may be overlooked. More than that, if the vehicle has changed multiple owners since it was salvaged even the current owner may be unaware of the airbag deployment and potential safety issue.
Should I buy Rebuilt vehicles at all?
Rebuilt vehicles aren't necessarily bad and if you run a thorough search, study VIN history results and avoid vehicle with most undesired damage types you may get a good car, motorcycle, truck or RV may may serve your really long. Such choices are often hail damaged vehicles with a massive cosmetic damage but all the funtional parts intact, theft recoveries that may suffer no damage at all or vehicles depeciated due to age and so having a low ACV (closer to 10 years) when even a insignificant damage causes total loss. The latter case is quite common with private sellers who preferred to buy their vehicle back from the insurance company, fix it and continue driving because they found the damage insignificant or had a possibility to do cheap and quality repairs.
Can I sell by rebuilt vehicle later?
Yes but most likey privately and not as a trade-in. By the law you will have to discolse a Salvage / Rebuilt history to yor buyers.
Can I finance a rebuilt vehicle?
It is not easy but possible if you search. Please note that some damage types won't be accepted by financing companies and your won't get 100% of the car financed. Be ready with some cash input.
Are rebuilt cars insurable?
You should be able to find liablity coverage but the comprehenive part of the full coverage will be a problem. At the best and if you are lucky and the damage type is not severe, some damage types will be excluded from coverage and the vehicle will be valued lower that your expect.