One of the most important things to do when you buy a salvage car is to inspect the vehicle, but aside from the standard inspection points, there’s a lot to look at. In addition to your normal inspection points – both interior and exterior – there are a few things that are often overlooked when people buy wrecked cars, but they’re vital. When you’re buying salvage cars online, you may not be able to inspect them in person, but you should absolutely hire a third party to inspect the car on your behalf. You can ask them to keep these inspection points in mind, as well.


An often-overlooked feature when buying a used car: seatbelts. When inspecting seatbelts, make sure to check a few things. Look for wear and tear on the webbing itself, any fraying or damage will worsen over time and the webbing will need to be replaced for the seatbelt to function properly. Inspect all the buckles, making sure they latch shut and can’t be easily pulled apart, but release when the button is pressed. Make sure that it retracts properly as well, and test the locking mechanism by pulling it quickly, to make sure the seatbelts will restrain you and your passengers in case of an accident.

Oil cap

While checking the oil is a common inspection point, there’s one little factor that’s often overlooked: the underside of the oil cap. A frothy substance or gunk on the underside of the cap itself can mean that the head gasket is blown, and coolant has mixed with the oil. If you spot this issue, it definitely warrants further investigation.

Panel gaps

This point stands out, especially if you’re buying a salvage title car. Go around the car and make sure that all of the gaps between body panels are even, even if the car looks like it hasn’t been in an accident. While panels can be repaired and replaced, frame damage is a bit harder to spot: if the gaps between panels aren’t consistent, it can be an indication of prior damage that may have underlying issues, including significant frame damage.

Tire Wear

Checking the tires when you buy a salvage car is a given, but there’s a specific thing to look for that can help you avoid odometer fraud. Specifically, if a car has relatively low miles but brand-new tires, that can be an indication that fraud is afoot. Make sure that the odometer reading is consistent with tire wear. If you see anything that doesn’t add up, make sure to run a vehicle history report to get a better picture of what you’re looking at. In our opinion, by using a VIN decoder before buying a car, you can uncover important details about the vehicle, such as whether it has been in an accident or has had major repairs. It makes the deal safe.

Buy salvage cars online with AutoBidMaster

When you buy a salvage car with us, you can rest assured that you’ll get the best online auto auction experience possible. Our Buyer Services team is available to help you with everything from registration, to bidding, to shipping your dream car. Just give us a call at +1 (503) 298-4300 between 6:00 AM and 4:00 PM, Monday through Friday, Pacific Standard Time. You can also email us at, or contact us through WhatsApp at +1 (503) 473-9895.

Happy bidding!

AutoBidMaster Staff Writer

AutoBidMaster members purchase auction vehicles without dealer’s licenses. All-inclusive support & global shipping make AutoBidMaster your one-stop shop.

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