“Cars that do get marked with accident history rightfully raise questions from prospective buyers,” Sam said.
He’s right. It’s natural to get paranoid about buying a car with a questionable history. If it crashed, how nasty was the collision? What was repaired? And probably the most critical question is, at what price is the salvaged vehicle worth, given its tainted history?
Sam has been working on a cheap auction 2015 Cadillac Escalade with a questionable history. He got it for $28,370, with 34,000 miles (54,000 kilometers), a clean title, and a few errors on the dash.
But after getting his hands dirty trying to fix the errors, it dawned on him his cheap auction SUV could be a possible case of a crash cover-up.
A couple of things gave the car off, including the fact that the front bumper was replaced. However, the dead giveaway was all the harnesses on the seat belts were cut off and wired to resistors – an old-school hack done to shut off airbag warning lights.
It gets worse. They also removed all the seat belt mechanics built to keep the driver safe in a crash. The belt freely moved and, to an unsuspecting buyer, felt normal.
Here’s the real problem. Is it worth buying a cheap auction car with possible accident history pending repairs or a retail version that’s a little costlier without a pending repair headache?
Well, Sam spent $150 for the front bumper wiring harness, $60 for a clock spring, $140 for trim pieces, $250 for seat belt service, $80 for a used module, and $100 worth of service items (suspension links, oil, air and oil filters. In total, $780 for the complete repair.
Since the front bumper radar sensor isn’t working 100%, he’ll need to get a replacement which costs $270 plus shipping, bringing the total cost to $1,050.
Retail versions of the same model with higher mileage cost between $39,000 and $44,000. According to Sam’s calculations, he saved $10,000 on the premium luxury SUV.
“We got around a $10,000 discount to buy and sort this truck ourselves. Sure there are a few easter eggs around this one that I have shown off, and that might lower the value itself. But on paper, this is a $40,000 truck that we paid under $30,000 for. I think that’s a huge win,” Sam confessed.
Would you do the same given a chance? Let us know what you think in the comments section.