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Buying the car by Dmitry Pavlov

Buying the car by Dmitry Pavlov

Added December 07, 2005

Dmitry Pavlov

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What is "Salvaged"?

Everyone is trying to make money on you, and car dealers are no exception. Let me start by briefly describing the two of my (relative) car-buying failures, both happened soon after I came to US, naive and trusting. After 3 months at UC Irvine, I realized that I needed the car. My TA salary of barely 1000$ a month plus some savings was only enough for something real old but I didn't need a lot either. After a week or two of searching we couldn't converge on anything (the car too old or too inconvenient and I am tall or been in the accident and the owner told us that), and, finally, we come across a beautiful 5 year old Nissan Sentra which we showed to a mechanic and after his certification eventually bought, fairly cheap. What we failed to do is to recognize that the term `salvaged` imprinted on the title, stands for `been in the severe accident, junked and restored`. What was also bizarre is that the mechanic we showed the car to didn't find any problems with it, including the fact that it was in the accident. Nonetheless, the car was running fine (good restoration!) and I happily sold it when I moved to Princeton, NJ 5 years later. Here I fully disclosed what the car was like, but the guy did not care. Take home message: read and know what is on the title if you are buying a second hand car, also do a lemon check on it, it is a peace of mind for a small price, dealers will typically run it for you without explicitely charging you.

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