How to Choose a Salvage Car by Photos


Buying a salvage car from an online auto auction is a good idea if you want to save money. There are many cars available at auction, but you need to research the vehicle you’re interested in before you place a bid on Salvagebid

On an auction website, you’ll find a vehicle description in every listing that will tell you a lot about it,  but that isn’t the only source of information. You can also get an impression of a vehicle’s condition by inspecting its photos, without physically going to the salvage yard. 

In this article, you’ll learn how to choose a salvage car through its photos and minimize the risk of buying a non-repairable vehicle.

Explore all the angles

After you pick a car you want, it’s time to have a closer look at it. We recommend choosing vehicles that have as many photos as possible. Use the opportunity to look through a vehicle’s images from all the angles to get a comprehensive look into its general condition. 

If you see that a vehicle was only photographed from one side, there’s a high chance it’s damaged severely from the other side. So, if you’re still interested, try running a vehicle history report to find out exactly what damage it has sustained. 

Also, it’s pretty easy to see which of a car’s exterior parts were painted after it was in a collision or damaged some other way. So, take your time going through the photos to get what information you can through the vehicle’s appearance.

Pay attention to repaired parts

Some rebuilders use cheap car parts instead of original ones to save on repairs. If you notice cheap-looking parts in a vehicle’s photo, it was likely restored after getting into a collision. If so, we recommend looking for another option if you’re looking for a vehicle that needs minimal work and don’t want to compromise your safety on the road.

If you see that a car has spoilers or other after-market parts on it, the previous owner may have pushed the vehicle’s limits. There’s a higher chance that parts are worn-out and you’ll have to spend a lot repairing and changing those parts. 

Check out the background

If you see that the vehicle’s shots were taken somewhere other than a salvage yard, this is a matter for further investigation. If a car was photographed in a parking lot, most definitely, the seller is a private dealer. They might be selling a poorly rebuilt salvage car that can become a real headache for you. To make the right choice, we recommend conducting a car VIN lookup with our partner, ClearVIN, which also has a dealer VIN check.

Take a closer look at the interior

By inspecting a vehicle’s interior shots, you can find out how it was maintained and if it was involved in a collision or not. Pay attention to the steering wheel. If you see that it’s pretty worn down and the car’s mileage is listed as relatively low, the odometer was likely rolled back. 

Choose a car on Salvagebid

Finding a vehicle with a clean history and accurate mileage can be a challenging task if you don’t know what to do. That’s why we recommend running a VIN check before purchasing a car from an auction. Feel free to contact our support center at if you have any questions concerning bidding on Salvagebid. 

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