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Retitling a salvage is not a walk in the park

You know trouble is ahead when you see zip ties behind the grille during the inspection of a car that you are thinking of buying. Several months ago, I found a 1998 Toyota Tacoma regular-cab four-wheel-drive with a four-cylinder and five-speed stick. Not exotic, not collectible, but compact in the way trucks aren’t compact anymore, and ridiculously useful. There was other evidence of crash damage, but the repairs were good, the frame welds all looked factory, and the price was skinny enough. So I handed the guy a stack of hundreds and drove off, trying to ignore the faint waft of antifreeze coming from the vents.


At the DMV, they informed me that the truck’s apparently clean title was in fact earmarked in the computer as “bound over for salvage.” Meaning that an insurance company had totaled out the truck but the state had yet to reissue a new salvage title. Gah!


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Something that is showing up in YouTube videos:  Apparently Tesla Motors has people following the insurance salvage auctions and they record the VINs of Teslas that have been sold as salvage. Then they disable that car's ability to use Superchargers and note the car's Salvage status so that they can weasel out of warranty claims.  From the photos I have seen on the CoPart site, it is really easy to total a Tesla. Lots of them with what looks like superficial damage.  They also restrict what body parts you can buy if you are not a Tesla certified body shop. For example, as I understand it, you can't buy a rear quarter panel, perhaps because they don't trust you to weld it on properly.

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