Question about salvage title on 5th wheel in Oregon

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Sam7988

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Oct 12, 2012
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Hi everyone,

I am new to this forum. I am looking to purchase a 5th wheel for living in full time.  When a 5th wheel has a salvage title, what are some things I need to look out for?  I am also new to fifth wheels in general, so any info is appreciated.  I haven't talked to the seller yet - what are some good questions to ask? 
 

donn

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Nov 8, 2009
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4,492
Salvage title?  That means it was totaled by the insurance company and written off as junk.  I would not consider a salvage titled vehicle.
 

COMer

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Aug 25, 2009
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I'd certainly want to know why it was declared salvage.  Maybe it was in a flood and there is interior water damage.  You would probaby want to know so you can see how it affects you and you potential use of the trailer.
 

Lou Schneider

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Mar 14, 2005
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I bought a two year old Arctic Fox trailer with a salvage title in 2000.  It was inexpensive enough that I was able to pay cash, so financing was not an issue.

My daily driver car also has a salvage title from an accident while I was attending the Escapade in Goshen, Indiana two years ago.  I got rear-ended while stopped at a light and the insurance company decided to total the car instead of repairing it.  Basically they bought the car for it's undamaged Blue Book value, then they let me buy it back as-is with a salvage title for the scrap price (less than $200 in this case).  The is fully driveable and doesn't look that bad except the trunk lid has a slight upward bow on one side and the bumper is compressed slightly.  The unibody's crumple zone behind the right rear wheel telescoped about 1/2" which doesn't affect the car's handling or tracking but made it uneconomical to repair.

Basically, all a salvage title means is at some point, there was enough damage to the vehicle that an insurance company decided it was cheaper to scrap it and pay off the owner instead of repairing it.  There's nothing to stop someone else from disagreeing with that assessment, and if they buy the vehicle and repair it,  it gets a salvage title.

The first thing is to determine what kind of damage it sustained.  In the case of my trailer, it jackknifed and flipped onto it's right side, scraping open part of the right wall.  Inside there was a cracked countertop, a cabinet that pulled loose and a few other details that needed minor repairs.  Arctic Fox makes some strong trailers.

Before I bought it, I was able to confirm the frame was still square, the slideout worked perfectly and all the appliances were intact.  Some quick and dirty fiberglass work patched the holes in the Filon wall and a new hitch was welded on to replace the one that got twisted out of shape in the crash.  A couple of days worth of work repairing the cabinetry and cleaning desert dust out of it netted me a good rig that I still have.

Betty mentioned the insurance issue - since the insurance company already paid the vehicle's full value, you may not be able to get coverage to reimburse you for further damage if you're in another accident.  Liability insurance isn't a problem, just be aware that you'll either have to pay for your own repairs or write off the rig if you're in an accident, so take that into account when you determine the selling price.

If/when I sell either the car or trailer, the fact that it has a salvage title will impact the selling price.  But in both cases I'm already well ahead of the game financially, even if I don't get anything for either vehicle.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Feb 2, 2005
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As Lou says, the salvage title came about because of financial reasons, i.e. the potential cost of repair. Whether it represents structural problems or cosmetic issues is another story. You need to satisfy yourself that the damage problem will not seriously impact your intended use, or that you can afford to repair it sufficiently for your needs.

Oregon also has what they call a "reconstructed title", which is a vehicle that was deemed destroyed  (salvage) at one point but subsequently rebuilt. A "branded" title is, I believe, the same as "reconstructed".

http://www.dmv.org/or-oregon/salvaged-vehicles.php

http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/DMV/pages/vehicle/damage.aspx#reconstructed

 

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