Rebuilt Title Auctions
Most vehicles sold at salvage auctions have a salvage or junk title, depending on whether they are eligible for reconstruction or can only be used for parts due to extensive damage. Some may end up at a salvage auction for the 2nd or even the 3rd time. Such vehicles generally have a rebuilt title or have rebuilt records in their history, otherwise they simply wouldn't have been allowed back on the road again to get into another accident.
Salvage auctions play a crucial part in esmitating a used vehicle with a branded title, like salvage or rebuilt, it's actual condition and potential problems. These auctions are such a valuable information source and a great supplement to a VIN history report because they feature the vehicles as they were after the damage and prior to being repaired.
In the past years one could easily use searchboxes on COPART and IAAI websites in order to find the vehicles of their interest by their VIN, be it among current or closed bids. Now the the procedures changed and only the vehciles with open bidding can be found based on make-model-year and the information about closed bids, including search by the VIN, is hidden and requires registration or even subscribing to a paid plan.
Informaition provided by salvage auctions:
- 10 photos taken according to fixed rules and displaying specified elements
- Basic vehicle info, like make, model, year, transmission and drive type, engine type, cylinder and fuel type
- Odometer reading at the moment of damage or being excempt from odometer reporting (for vehicles older than 10 years)
- The date of sale and the location (auctions have multiple sites in different states and cities countrywide)
- Primary damage type (always available)
- Secondary damage type (optional)
- Estimated retail value (optional)
- Availability of keys
- Lot location (precise address)
- Sale date
- Current bid and whether or not the minimum bid placed by the seller was met
- Airbag deployment, if any
There are other important bits of information not always mentioned in the vehicle's data sheets provided COPART but sometimes visible on photos or listed by other sites re-printing COPART and IAAI data: marks one the vehicle. For example:
- R means that the vehicle is able to run and drive (it's wheels and other attached mechanisms are not blocked or damaged), the engine starts, the vehicle can be put into gear and can move forward under its own power. Some sites add a note the the vehicle cannot run or be driven.
- D - the vehicle was donated
With IAAI, the Start Code encoding whether the vehicle's motor was able to start, the stirring wheel was fucntioning properly, the vehicle could be put into gear and move using its own power when it arrived at the auction site (not warranted at the moment of sale) is generally present in data sheets. Status codes are Stationary, Run & Drive, Start.
On both IAAI and COPART sites, searching for archived (or closed) bids is no longer possible. Fortunately, ordinary search engines come to rescue and the plain vookup by VIN will show a bunch of websites that gather COPART or IAAI data while or where it is still available and display it. The photo resolution is generally lower than originally posted by COPART or IAAI and even watermarks are added, which seems queer as the photos originally belong to COPART and IAAI, where taken by their staff, etc. However, the quality is in most cases enough to have the general idea of the damage the vehicle had undergone, although the smallest details or scratches may remain indiscernible.
All photo sets for a specific vehicle always have a VIN and the dashboard close-up, as well as damage spots.
COPART && IAAI
COPART has been in the business of selling damaged vehicles for 40 years, as their site states. Their current inventory at any given moment is around 300,000 - 400,000 vehicles, which gives your an idea of how many veicles get written off in the US on daily basis. However, this does not mean that one can easily get vehicle info dated 40 or 30 years back. IAAI auctions represent vehicles much like the way COPART does. IAA is a leading global digital marketplace for total-loss, damaged and low-value vehicles whith a shorter history than CARFAX and a smaller number of payment options but a little lower prices.
Now the VINs on both auction platforms are hidden even for current bids, you would have to register to find the VIN. Technically advanced internet users may be able to retrieve the hidden VIN from the page or, if they have obtained the VIN from other sources, even extract the data from COPART site based the lot # and other info obtained on other websites. However, the general public will have to register to link the valuable data to any specific VIN. The good news is that one does not have to be a nerd to copy the concealed VIN from a close-up photo where it is always present :) This method is no so convenient and copying mistakes are possible, but it's a sure way.