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Low Mileage 2017 w/Salvage Title?

Acadia18

Autocross Champion
Location
Rhode Island
Car(s)
2016 GTI SE
Thanks for the great replies everyone! The seller emailed me the original quality pictures of the Carfax, so I replaced the potato versions with the new ones. The seller also knew the name of the repair facility, which is Spectrum Auto Works in Oak Park, MI. I called up the shop, and the guy said he's fixed 7 or 8 Golfs, so didn't remember the exact vehicle, but he said that all the cars with no body damage were engine replacements. Something about the plastic oil pans cracking or something if they run off the road. Seems plausible, but the MK7 composite oil pans are actually less prone to cracking or shattering than aluminum ones. Additionally, the salvage auction said the car ran and drove... Auction could've been wrong on that, though since auction houses tend to try to pump cars through as fast as possible for good turnaround. The Spectrum Auto Works guy said that he bought 5 or 6 test Golf engines with a few hundred miles on them for cheap from some company, so he would specifically buy GTIs with little to no body damage but underbody damage and damaged engines. The seller says that he's had no issues running or driving during the couple years he's owned it. Could be trying to get rid of a lemon, but maybe he also just wants something new...

Definitely seeing what you guys mean about too much sketch so best to avoid! This sleuthing is pretty fun though I'll say.

A couple of replies are mentioning that the price isn't that good, and I can find better deals, but have you guys checked the market lately? Not sure if these have inflated recently since I've just started looking within the past week and a half, but I'm not seeing any accident-free GTIs with low mileage for this price, let alone Autobahn editions. $17K seems to get ≈80K mile '15 or '16 good cosmetic dealer GTIs that are S or SE. And according to KBB, this car (priced for $16,395) is worth $22846. That's assuming a non-salvage title, of course, but I wouldn't call it overpriced for the market. Anyway, if you gents have links to nicer cars in this price range, I'd love to see them since I'm not coming up with anything low mileage around $17K. Really don't care about the Autobahn edition or luxury features, just would prefer low mileage since I plan to keep the car till 200K+ miles most likely.

I think you're underestimating how much a salvage title lowers the value of a vehicle. The market is indeed crazy right now, and with the current environment, $22,846 sounds about right for a 2017 with 27k miles, with a clean title.

However with a salvage title, it should be close to half of that.

Like I said in a prior reply, I'm not part of the "run away immediately!" crew. It doesn't hurt to check it out in person, and if you're serious about buying it, paying $100 - $200 to have someone check it out is a good idea. Get all the info and facts before deciding to move forward or walk away. But again, a salvage title doesn't lower the value of a vehicle by a couple thousand dollars. A salvage title tanks the value of a vehicle. I'd say that guy would be lucky to get $12k for that vehicle.
 

Strange Mud

Autocross Champion
Location
Small Town CT
Car(s)
Assorted
IF a major expense was engine (possible from pan) I would feel better about it. I'll repeat about having body shop look it over. I feel for ya trying to buy a car in this time.
 

Acadia18

Autocross Champion
Location
Rhode Island
Car(s)
2016 GTI SE
Also, if you do go forward, make sure you can register and insure the car. Some companies won't insure a salvage title vehicle, and most states require specific documentation to register it.
 

nosmirk

Ready to race!
Location
SoCal SGV
Car(s)
19 GTI SE DSG, Cat7?
I would pass personally, unless I was in dire need of a vehicle and that was the only one in my price range.

As Acadia18 said, you definitely want to have a DETAILED inspection, front to back.

My friend grabbed a cheap Honda w/ a salvage title and got into a minor fender bender and needed the front bumper cover replaced. The car had drove fine and there wasn't any obvious issues. It was a disaster once we started pulling parts off to replace them. The foam insert was missing half, the steel bumper bar was slightly bent and was missing 1 bolt. They epoxied the bar to the front end where the bolt head had sheared off and left a slight gap between frame and bar. Radiator brackets were either missing and epoxied to the frame or cracked and covered w/ more epoxy, two failed a year later. Cables were wrapped w/ electricians tape and were starting to corrode underneath. The quarter panels were poorly paint prep'd and started to lift at the edges.
He could never get a good alignment and it got progressively worse. He ended up selling it to a pick-your-part place for a few hundred.
 

cb1111

Newbie
Location
Virginia, USA
Also, if you do go forward, make sure you can register and insure the car. Some companies won't insure a salvage title vehicle, and most states require specific documentation to register it.
That's a very important point and something I was actually going to say (I'm a bit late to the party today - that pesky thing called work). Many (most?) companies either won't insure the car, will only do the state required minimum at inflated prices or will send you a bill that'll curl your toenails.

CARFAX doesn't usually make up body damage so, while the car may have had engine damage due to an unintended offroad adventure, it did have damage on three sides of the car.

The bodyshop should be able to pull the car up by VIN and know exactly what they did. OTOH, Spectrum seems to have a good reputation.

This is not the car to go 200k miles.
 

jimlloyd40

Autocross Champion
Location
Phoenix
Car(s)
2018 SE DSG
It sold at auction for $6725 for a reason. Have you checked for frame damage? It's also not a ringing endorsement that they said it runs and drives.
 

TheMechanicDude

Go Kart Champion
Location
Fl
Car(s)
17 GTI Sport
1623430198276.jpeg
 

The Fed

Old Guys Rule
Location
Florida
Not worth the effort if you were to ask me. To properly evaluate the car would cost more than $200. The only place you should take it is to a VW-certified shop that your insurance company recommends. A top body shop is the only one I would trust. I had a car that should have been totaled that was rebuilt from the firewall forward, including the ECU, so I have some experience with severe wrecks. The first thing I would do is have the shop put the car on a unibody machine and check that all of the reference holes line up to spec. That alone is more than $200. There are plenty of cars out there in better condition. Why waste your money on a car with no warranty or recourse that will be worth next to nothing when you get tired of it?
 

okMK

Drag Racing Champion
Location
USA
Car(s)
Gti
I wanted to chime in on this thread again and point something out. The guy selling the car is saying he's not totally sure what all he replaced on the vehicle. The repair shop is saying they have repaired so many GTIs they can't remember which one it was. These are not answers, they are deflections. Some asshole trying to get $17,000 out of you can't even be bothered to get you a detail service history, and I promise you there is a reason for that.

This is a run situation, don't walk away, run away. This workshop probably "repairs" a ton of vehicles for this guy.
 
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randomhobo130

Go Kart Champion
Location
Niagara falls NY
Car(s)
2020 Autobahn DSG

Parabola

Go Kart Newbie
Location
Black hole sun
Car(s)
2015 GTI, 2016 GSW
I wouldn’t even bother with the accident on Carfax, let alone salvage title. I’ve had a BMW that had a slight fender bender and because of that every dealer tried to lowball me on the trade-in based on “accident recorded” on the vehicle history report. Salvage title makes it worthless in my book. Run.
 
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