Reliability on a Budget: Is Salvage Honda Civic A Smart Investment?


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Jul 29, 2023

Reliability on a Budget: Is Salvage Honda Civic A Smart Investment?

The Honda Civic is one of the most affordable, reliable, and easy-to-repair used cars on the market. When shopping on a tight budget, a salvage title Honda Civic listed for an ultra-low price may seem

The Honda Civic is one of the most affordable, reliable, and easy-to-repair used cars on the market. When shopping on a tight budget, a salvage title Honda Civic listed for an ultra-low price may seem like a brilliant buy. Here are some auction Honda Civic cars to check out.

But is taking the salvage vehicle direction the right path? For many, it can be; however, there are many upfront factors to consider. Keep reading as we explore what’s involved in buying a salvage Honda Civic.

The main reason to consider a salvage Civic is the dramatically reduced purchase price. It’s not unusual to find a salvage Honda Civic for 25%-50% less than the market value of an undamaged example. These are considerable savings that add up.

Another reason to select a salvage Civic is affordable repairs. Body parts like bumpers, doors, and fenders are widely available at reasonable prices for Civics. For common accidents like fender benders, the repair costs may be low enough to yield a great deal on a fixed-up salvage Civic.

A comprehensive inspection is key to ensuring a salvage Honda Civic is suitable for rebuilding. You’ll want to check the visible damage and look for any hidden issues. The engine, transmission, electric system, and other vital components could be problematic. So, you’ll want to consider all of this before bidding or buying.

Even if you’re buying online, a thorough look at the photos can be very revealing about the car’s condition.

If you’re not a master of automobiles and their systems, seek out the help of a professional mechanic. This expert may accompany you to an in-person inspection or review the images that are part of an online listing. If there’s extensive body damage, consider consulting with a professional familiar with collision repairs.

Checking the vehicle history report can provide insight into the accident that led to the salvage title—numerous companies, like EpicVIN, CARFAX, and AutoCheck, offer this information. Minor collisions are far less concerning than significant impacts. If airbags did not deploy and structural damage was limited, the Civic may have only required bolt-on replacement parts.

Notably, the vehicle history report may reveal things about the car before the salvage title was issued. Did the vehicle receive regular maintenance? How many owners were involved? These clues can help determine if pursuing this particular Civic is worthwhile.

Not only do you want to know what damage is involved with a salvage car, but you’ll want to know how much the restoration costs. Add this amount to the cost of buying a salvage car, and you’ll see how much you can save over buying an undamaged vehicle. These calculations will help determine the maximum amount you should pay if you purchase through a salvage car auction. It’s also smart to set aside extra money in case hidden damage is uncovered during repairs.

Part of Honda’s reputation for reliability comes from building exceptionally dependable engines. That’s not to say that every Honda engine is perfect, but you have a greater chance of reaching 200,000 miles or more in a Honda automobile than many other vehicles. This success stems from simple engineering. You won’t find a supercharger under the hood of a Honda (unless the owner put one there), and the company is selective about its use of turbochargers (although this is becoming more common).

While the resale value of a salvage car takes a hit compared to one with a clean title, Civics tend to hold their value better than other models. That’s a direct reflection of an excellent reliability record. Even with a salvage title, a rebuilt Honda Civic in good shape will command higher prices on the private market than many other salvage vehicles.

A salvage Civic can be an excellent opportunity for would-be gearheads to learn DIY mechanical skills. The engine bay provides easy access to most components, and there are many online tutorials. Simple repairs like replacing brake pads, starter, or alternators don’t require expensive equipment. Even if someone else is handling the work, here’s an opportunity to learn how to bring a car back to life.

Airbags, seatbelts, and impact structures are designed to protect occupants in just one major collision. If those systems required replacement after the accident, the Civic’s crashworthiness could be reduced. Have an expert assess safety system repairs, and be sure to get an estimate for this type of work.

Due to increased risk, a salvage vehicle’s insurance premiums for comprehensive and collision coverage will be higher. Get quotes from multiple insurers before securing coverage; you may even want to talk with insurance companies before buying. You want to know that insurance is affordable before undertaking a salvage and rebuild project.

There’s no question that a Honda Civic with a salvage history comes with more risks than a clean example. But with a thorough inspection, extra research, thorough planning, and careful restoration, huge savings can result. For buyers on a tight budget looking for reliable, economical transportation and willing to take the time, a properly-repaired salvage title Civic deserves consideration.

The extent of repairs depends on the damage. Cosmetic fixes like new bumpers, fenders, mirrors, and body panels are common. Mechanical repairs may be needed if the engine, transmission, or frame are affected. All airbags should be replaced after a major collision.

It depends on the damage history and quality of repairs. A vehicle fixed using quality parts and proper procedures by a qualified shop should be no less reliable than an equivalent clean title Civic. But shoddy repairs increase the risk of issues and problems down the road.