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Would you buy a Smart Car, with a "rebuilt" title?


mr. cob

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Howdy All,

 

I ran across a 2013 BRABUS Smart Car with 6,500 miles on it for a VERY good price, however it was involved in a wreck. The drivers side front fender, the hood, the front bumper and other associated parts were replaced, from what the guy selling it says the rest of the car was not in any way damaged and it runs and looks perfect. I am "ASSUMING" the insurance company totaled the car thus the "rebuilt" title.

 

This car is located about 300 miles from my home, in you folks opinion, should I go look at it or RUN away? In particular if I go look at the car is there anything I should really take a close look at, I know NOTHING about Smart Cars. Thanks for any advise or suggestions you may offer,

 

Dave

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Can you get a CarFax report? It might show why it has a "rebuilt" title. I understand that some dealers / auto repair providers either don't report things you'd expect to see or, delay filing the information.

Howdy FlyGuy,

 

I never thought of that, I'll look into it. I have just gotten off the phone with the Washington DOV, they said it wouldn't be a problem to get the car registered here in WA, I also just spoke to my insurance people and they ran the vin and said it would not be a problem to get the car insured, so I am "ASSUMING" if the car is in good shape it should be a good deal.

 

Dave

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All the outside panels are plastic and I am told for $1800 you can change the car color, if the frame and running gear are not hurt should be ok

Howdy sailor,

 

From what I was told, all that was done was to replace body panels and the headlight assembly. Talking to my insurance man he told me that it is not unusual nowadays for new or newer cars to be totaled for the type of damage that this car suffered. I am thinking hard about taking the trip to look at-buy this car.

 

Dave

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Assuming you'd be buying from the guy who did the repairs, ask for pictures of the damaged vehicle and receipts for parts. At the very least, there would have been some taken for the insurance sale of the damaged vehicle; if you're lucky there would be some pictures with all of the damaged stuff removed before new parts started going back on. Any mechanical/structural components (e.g. suspension parts) should be new, preferably OE components, and any painted body panels would (my preference) be used, OE parts from a matching vehicle (a factory paint job and orignal parts likely to be a bit better in finish quality than a body shop in the long run). In the case of the Smart, with plastic panels, I'm guessing there really isn't a new, paint-ready panel option anyways.

 

If all of the damaged parts were removed and replaced, which is often possible with newer vehicles, especially front collisions (even more so with the Smart since the engine is in back), it should be fine. Of course, the price you pay should be less than a vehicle without a wreck in its history, and the payout any total loss claim you might have would likely reflect the reduced starting value of the vehicle. How much it's reduced is the tougher part to figure out.

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Assuming you'd be buying from the guy who did the repairs, ask for pictures of the damaged vehicle and receipts for parts. At the very least, there would have been some taken for the insurance sale of the damaged vehicle; if you're lucky there would be some pictures with all of the damaged stuff removed before new parts started going back on. Any mechanical/structural components (e.g. suspension parts) should be new, preferably OE components, and any painted body panels would (my preference) be used, OE parts from a matching vehicle (a factory paint job and orignal parts likely to be a bit better in finish quality than a body shop in the long run). In the case of the Smart, with plastic panels, I'm guessing there really isn't a new, paint-ready panel option anyways.

 

If all of the damaged parts were removed and replaced, which is often possible with newer vehicles, especially front collisions (even more so with the Smart since the engine is in back), it should be fine. Of course, the price you pay should be less than a vehicle without a wreck in its history, and the payout any total loss claim you might have would likely reflect the reduced starting value of the vehicle. How much it's reduced is the tougher part to figure out.

Howdy David,

 

I just got off the phone talking to the guy who owns the car, he said he has receipts for all the new parts that were bought from the local Mercadies (sp) dealer, he said he has a friend who owns a body shop who he paid cast to fix the car, this is believable I have done such things myself on other vehicles. The asking price is $7,500.00 for a car that has 6,500 miles on it, if its in good shape that sounds like a deal to me. I am not to concerned about future selling price as I am one of those people who hold on to their vehicles for many years if not decades, the only vehicle I now own that I have had less then ten years is my HDT which I bought close to two years ago, everything else I have had at least ten years.

 

Dave

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I have owned two F-350 Fords with rebuild titles. No issues titling or insuring them.

 

I've been advised by numerous folks, who had zero experience in such matters, that you cannot insure, finance, or resell a rebuild titled vehicle. I proved all the naysayers wrong, and had good experiences with both trucks.

 

Buy cheap, pay cash, and enjoy the savings every time you drive it.

 

You may take less for the vehicle when you sell it, but if you save enough up front, who cares?

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Dave, as you know, I was hit head on right before the Rally in Hutch last year. My DW was rear-ended, while stopped, just a few months after we purchased the car. The saying in the past was if the cell of the car has been damaged, pass on it. I took a good look at the damage to the rear when she was hit. The only structure damage was a small crease in the muffler from the reinforcement bar at the rear. She was also shoved into the car in front of her, but not so much damage there.

 

When I got hit, the front driver side took all the direct impact, both steering wheel and knee bags deployed. Feet were unharmed but the front looked like they would have been crushed. The car did what it was supposed to do, but I didn't look at the cell at all because the insurance company quickly totaled it. Like David said, I was told they just total them if the bags pop.

 

So the questions would be:

Any cell damage?

Have the popped bags been replaced?

Has the wheel been checked for being bent? Pretty common on these.

 

If you have the parts list, then you should be able to determine of much of a chance the cell was protected, or did the cell protect the occupants? If it did, it might be a good parts car.

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The only thing I will add is that when mine was hit in the drivers door and rear tire. They did not total it, damn it. But they fixed it visually fine, but I have a loud squeak from the rear and a rattle to go along with it. The dealer says this is normal and "all smarts do this". Did have this before the wreck. They claim the body panels are the reason. Anyone else have squeaking smart cars ???

 

Down side to traveling is not being able to deal with people you know!!!

 

So drive th hell out of it first.

 

JC

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