4 Warning Signs to Inspect When Buying a Salvage Car


Millions of cars arrive at salvage yards every year and later are sold at online auto auctions like Salvagebid. Some of those cars are in good condition; others require significant expenses for repairs. 

If you’re an average car shopper looking to buy an inexpensive car and avoid issues related to repairings, read this article. Below, you’ll find the four things that warrant inspection, even if the vehicle looks to be in good physical condition. 

Exhaust smoke

The smoke coming from a car’s tailpipe can tell you a lot about its engine condition. 

If you see white smoke when the car is warmed up, that can indicate that coolant got inside the combustion chamber. That means a vehicle may have a cracked cylinder block, a broken cylinder head, or a blown head gasket. 

Another thing is that you don’t know for how long the coolant has been inside of the combustion chamber and what additional problems it already caused.

If you see pale blue smoke coming out of the tailpipe, that means that oil may have gotten inside of the combustion chamber. The piston rings are likely worn down, and they aren’t correctly sealing the combustion chamber. It can also indicate an oil leak. 

Grayish or blackish smoke may indicate a concentrated air-fuel mixture or incomplete combustion. That can be caused by a lot of things, such as a clogged air filter or a spark plug that isn’t firing properly.

Excessive rust

If you don’t want to buy a vehicle that is rusting away, make sure to inspect it all over. Check the suspension, its components, and the frame itself. If you see a bit of rust on the exhaust – that’s pretty normal. However, more excessive rust is what you don’t want to deal with. 

That especially concerns cars with the “Flood” salvage title. If you decide to buy a water damaged vehicle, you should physically inspect it. If you want to know why flood vehicles can be dangerous, read this article.

Fluid leaks in the engine bay

The overall condition of the engine can tell you if a car is worth your time and money or not. Pop the hood and look all over the engine block. Make sure that hoses, belts, electronic connections, and other details are intact and connected.

Also, check the underside of the hood as sometimes fluids spray upwards and can indicate where a potential problem may be. If you see any spots or sprays, take a closer look underneath to see if you can identify the issue. Make sure that no oil or coolant is dripping from underneath the car.

Engine oil color

If you see that the car’s oil has a creamy color, that means that coolant may have leaked into the oil and the head gasket is likely blown, or there’s a crack in the block. Anyway, the engine doesn’t have proper protection and may have additional problems. 

You can also remove the oil fill cap, take a flashlight, and look around in there. The oil should look clean and no deposits should be built up in the valvetrain. If the oil’s condition is just the opposite, that means the car’s previous owner failed to change the oil regularly, and the engine isn’t in good condition.

Find a car on Salvagebid

If you don’t have the chance to inspect the car at the auction yard and check the signs listed above by yourself, we recommend arranging an inspection. Also, we recommend reading this article if you want to know more about the salvage titles listed on Salvagebid.com. 

Feel free to contact our support office at support@salvagebid.com, if you have any questions related to our salvage car auctions.

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