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Dangers of Buying a Rebuilt Car

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More and more, we are seeing car dealers here in metro Orlando selling rebuilt wrecks.  This means that the vehicle has previously been in a significant accident, and then was rebuilt.  In some cases, the vehicle may have been totalled by the insurance company.  Rebuilt wrecks generally fall into two distinct categories.

The first category of rebuilt wrecks includes those cases where the dealer sells it without disclosing its prior history.  For example, this can occur when you ask the dealer whether the car you are interested in was ever in an accident.  Unfortunately, some dealers will say that the car has not been in accident even when they know it is untrue, or if they simply don’t know the truth.  Other car dealers will claim that the car was only in a “minor” accident.  Either way, this can constitute fraud and violate several Florida consumer protection statutes.  In other cases, the car dealer knows the car you are looking at has been in a wreck and then rebuilt, but does not disclose that information to you.  If you ask, the car salesman may deflect the question and simply not answer it.  This failure to disclose an important fact can also be a violation of Florida law.  Shady dealers engage in this type of conduct in order to increase their profits.

The second category of rebuilt wrecks includes those cases where the dealer does disclose that the vehicle has been rebuilt.  I never recommend that a consumer buy a rebuilt wreck for many reasons.  Some of these reasons include:

  • The repairs are often performed poorly, which can cause your vehicle to be dangerous.  A poorly repaired vehicle can lead to an accident, which can in turn cause serious injuries to you, your passengers, or to people in other cars.
  • Rebuilt wrecks are often missing critical safety components. For example, the air bag system may have been disconnected or replaced with non-functional components. The vehicle structure often does not meet the manufacturer’s specifications. Important safety systems – such as your steering system or brakes – may not be fully and properly operational.
  • Rebuilt wrecks are often difficult to insure.  In fact, some insurance companies simply refuse to provide insurance policies for cars that have been rebuilt.
  • Your vehicle rarely has any value when it comes time for you to sell it or trade it in.

Simply put, don’t buy a rebuilt wreck.  It’s just not worth the risk.