Episode-1989- Expert Council Questions and Answers ~ 4-21-17 — 10 Comments

  1. A ‘salvage title’ had nothing to do with damage. it actually only means that an insurance claim for the vehicle has been paid out. The salvage title process is the only way an insurance company and dispose of vehicles they have paid total losses on. So, if your car is stolen and left in a parking lot with absolutely no damage but not found for 2 months, if the insurance company has paid off your loss in that time this car will have a salvage title even if it’s never had a scratch on it.

    When a salvage title car has been repaired, it goes through an inspection process with the State Patrol Division of the state it was repaired in. they do not inspect the quality of the repair work but only look for stolin parts and basic roadworthiness standards. it’s also a good way for the state to extort 65 bucks out of you. After the inspection, the salvage title goes back to the title office and combined with paperwork from the state patrol returns to an ‘original title’. in the comments section it will say “previous Salvage.”

    My problem with CARFAX, is that having a clean or dirty carfax report means absolutely nothing. Literally by reading the title you can gather 90% of the same information that a Carfax report would charge $20 for. A clean title does not mean that a car has never been wrecked and a salvage title does not mean a car has been wrecked.

    I have seen vehicles that were destroyed wrecked and repaired that should not have been. a common place this happens is with car rental vehicles.places like Avis and hurts are self-insured and when they suffer a loss and insurance claim is not paid on the vehicle. So if a train runs in to the side of their 2018 Nissan Altima it may be sold Auto Salvage Auction to dealers and retain its clear title. Said salvage dealers may repair the vehicle and then pass it on to you with a clean Carfax report and clean title. This is why a pre Buy inspection is critical.

    Insurance- do not say the words “I need Insurance on a salvage car”. NO INSURANCE COMPANY insures a “salvage title” car. Before that state patrol inspection it is illegal to drive a salvage title car on the road. You are buying a “previous salvage vehicle.” this subtle sounding difference is actually an enormous difference and commonly misunderstood as it was by our humble mechanic here.

    1 incredibly important detail about a flood vehicle: I would advise someone to not ever buy a saltwater flood vehicles. After Hurricane Katrina tens of thousands of salt water flood salvage vehicles hit the market. Many of them were shipped to Midwest states far away from the ocean insurance companies could swindle unsuspecting buyers.many of these vehicles were repaired and the reason I say don’t ever buy a water flood vehicle is because water on metal act like acid and they all pretty much rusted apart within a couple of years. a fresh water flood vehicle can be a hit-or-miss. sometimes they can be cleaned up and are perfect, while others may have persistence electrical issues.

    Money- the valuation service to use with any car is This is what a bank would use when you ask for a loan. KBB also values the same vehicle lower if its in your front yard than on a dealers lot which is bullshit. Previous salvage vehicles are commonly sold around loan value saving you $1k-$5k vs retail price. Where you can actually save lots of $$ is buying a car still wrecked. While this requires skill and knowledge to not get burned (don’t do this if you don’t already know what you are looking at) an individual can often end up with 1/2 to 2/3 retail in a vehicle. That can add up to many thousands not dollars quickly.

    Another pro tip is… Buy the lowest milage vehicle in your price range regardless of what it is. There is the belief that a diesel truck will run 500k miles and that’s great… But CV joints don’t, bearings don’t and so on. Over 100-150k cars start nickel and dimeing you to death in my opinion.

    As with all things, the safety of a previous salvage car depends on the skill of the person fixing it and in modern vehicles all damage is “structural damage”. They can absolutely be repaired to pre-accident condition; but I have also seen scam artists put them together with bailing wire.

    As a mechanic i fixed salvage wrecked cars for about 15 years and will personally never drive anything else. But as I said before its important to know what you are doing or at least find a mechanic who is knowledgeable about salvage/previous salvage vehicles who can help you.

  2. Regarding socialization for your people, I wanted to share something about one of the best kept secrets in this country — the Civil Air Patrol.

    The Civil Air Patrol is the civilian auxiliary to the United States Air Force with three missions — cadet programs, emergency services, and aerospace education. It was founded back in 1941, so the organization is actually older than the Air Force.

    My daughter joined in 2014, and before we knew it, my husband and I were sucked in too! It’s a fantastic organization for anyone who wants to volunteer with interests in STEM, aerospace, leadership, emergency services, mentoring, and much more. Folks who are interested can get more info at

    The reason I bring this up now though is because the Cadet Programs curriculum is so strong that it seems to attract the homeschool community in a big way. I’ve heard folks say that something like 85% of the cadets who’re involved are homeschooled, and while I’m certain this is a serious over estimate, the program is a perfect compliment to homeschooling or unschooling.

    Kids can’t join the cadet program ’til they’re 12, but I really think it’s something that can bring a ton of enrichment to any young person’s life. I’ll also mention that although Civil Air Patrol is part of the “Total Force Team”, it’s not a recruiting extension for the military. There are benefits if folks decide they want to join the military after participating in the Cadet Program, but it’s not forced on folks.

    Just wanted to share ’cause before a friend told me about it, I’d never heard of it.

  3. While I agree that Steven Harris gave some good advice about light in a search and rescue situation, I did notice that he didn’t address the listener’s underlying concern about red light.

    While Steven may not need red light in his duties as a deputy, many search and rescue teams require it. In fact, in the Civil Air Patrol, both blue and red light (or lenses) are REQUIRED. It’s used for signal purposes.

    Great light is very important to me because I’m legally blind. That being said, I tell anyone who’ll listen. 18650s are absolutely worth it! They’re so much more reliable in the field, especially when it’s cold outside. You also get more light output with those batteries. (I have several lights that can run off 3 AAAs or 1 18650 and there’s ALWAYS brighter and longer light output with the 18650s.)

    I’ll have to do some looking for a headlamp that runs off 18650s but also has a red option (or a red lens.) My daughter is getting ready to go to advanced ground team training this summer, and that lights is a requirement. You better believe we’re going with our new standard for lighting — 18650s!

    And one last note… We LOVE the Nitecore stuff here. Awesome!

  4. I was looking for the link to Michael’s swarm traps. However, when I follow the link in the show notes I get a youtube page with his mead-making videos, but nothing about swarm traps. Any suggestions on where to find them?

  5. Great info on headlamps. Im going to be giving this info to my CERT team leader.
    Growing up as a city kid listening to zeppelin Rush ,etc. I never thought i would get into country but one I moved out to Long Island and became a volunteer Firefighter things changed. I got to see Garth in Central Park in 97. What a Great show!

  6. What??!! You have never seen The Princess Bride?? Dude.

    Welcome to Charles(?) the Mechanic – awesome addition to the panel! Fantastic, really excited about it. Let’s learn about cars!