Should I buy a car with a salvage title?

The Car Doctor answers automotive questions from readers.

Behind the Wheel-Used Cars
Buyers can take some simple steps to ensure they're not buying a problematic car that could cost them thousands in repairs and maintenance. –Scott Jacobs/Courtesy of Edmunds via AP

I’m thinking about buying a car with a salvage title. Should I?

Q. I recently looked at a car for sale with a salvage title described as “storm-damage.” From looking at the picture, the damage doesn’t look like anything more than dents from hail. Should I buy a car with a salvage title?

A. Be very careful buying a car with a salvage title. Let’s face it; the insurance company wouldn’t have totaled the car for just a few dents. My guess is this car could have come from one of the states that got flooded during the hurricane. Unless this car is a very good deal and you are extremely handy, I would look for another vehicle.

John Paul is AAA Northeast’s Car Doctor. He has over 40 years of experience in the automotive business and is an ASE certified master technician. Email your car question to jpaul@aaanortheast.com.

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