Salvage Vehicles and Parts

25 January 2021 | Bruce Compton

Salvage vehicles and parts are a resourceful way of saving money and promoting environmental conservation if you have the experience or qualifications to fix or maintain your vehicle yourself.

Auto salvage means the restoration of damaged repairable cars and the removal and recycling of scrap and salvageable parts of those vehicles which are beyond repair.  By using parts salvaged from written off and damaged salvage vehicles to maintain or repair your vehicle, you are saving money and recycling…which is eco friendly.  Likewise, buying Cat C or Cat D salvage vehicles to repair instead of purchasing new, providing you are able to do so yourself and with salvage parts, you could be saving yourself a tidy penny.

What does Cat C and Cat D mean?

“Cat”, short for category, is the term used to define a salvage vehicle’s status (or extent of damage) by insurance companies following a claim which results with the car being written off.

“Write off” is the term used when a vehicle has been deemed beyond economic repair by the insurance company dealing with the claim.  This could be because of the extent of damage or because the cost of repair for damage exceeds the market value for replacing the vehicle.

Cat C and D vehicles are those salvage vehicles which are damaged repairable cars which can be repaired but have been written off due to economic reasons.  Therefore, if you are in a position to use salvage parts and your own time and skills to repair them, you could repair the damage sustained for considerably less money the market guide price for repair obtained by the insurance company.  Leaving you with a very nice car for a very good price.

Cat C vehicles have sustained moderate-heavy damage, whereas Cat D vehicles usually have minimal damage.  Although both are repairable, obviously Cat C salvage vehicles will need more work than Cat D salvage vehicles.  That being said, if you have the necessary skills and inclination, Cat C salvage vehicles are also sold for less than Cat D salvage vehicles.


The other salvage vehicles categories

The other “Cat” status which could be applied to salvage vehicles are “A”, “B”, and “X”.  Cat A vehicles are written off due to the extent of damage they have sustained.  This can often be from fire or a bad accident.  Cat A, indicated that these cars are the worst kind of write-off.  They are not fit for repair or for salvage parts under any circumstances and must be disposed of.  It is illegal to sell a Cat A car.

salvage vehicles cat a

Cat B salvage vehicles, are also not fit to be sold as a damaged repairable car but unlike Cat A salvage vehicles, these can be dismantled by a reputable salvage company and the reusable parts sold as salvage parts. It is likely that these vehicles sustained extensive structural damage due to an accident. It is still illegal to sell Cat B salvage vehicles for repair.

Cat X could be undamaged ( merely sold for scrap as they are old or no longer wanted) or recovered following theft and no longer wanted.


Tips for buying salvage vehicles or parts

Always buy salvage vehicles from professional, registered and accountable salvage vehicle recycling facilities. This way, you can be sure of the salvage vehicle’s status and rest easy that you have the appropriate paperwork.

If you are able to use salvage parts to repair your salvage vehicle, you will save yourself money.

If planning on repairing your salvage vehicle yourself, be certain that you are able to carry out the repairs to a safe and professional standard.  Remember that a car can be a death trap if not repaired properly.

Check with your insurance company that they insure salvage vehicles which have been repaired.  Many will, but there is also a chance that your insurance premiums could be increased because of the vehicle’s salvage status regardless of the quality of repair.  That being said, it is imperative to disclose this information as withholding it could invalidate your insurance in the event of a future claim and is illegal.

When using salvage parts, bought either online, from a scrap/ salvage yard or through free ads…do your research!  Check if a guarantee or warranty is offered.  Try to establish where it has come from.  If at all possible, check the part out yourself first.

Make sure that you have all of the necessary information and vehicle details when searching for and buying salvage parts.  Although, buying salvage parts from salvage vehicles can open up the possibility of obtaining even rare and obsolete parts, remember that small modifications and differences can occur in the making of certain parts dependent on specific model and year.

Remember that any warranty or guarantee given for the salvage parts, will not include poor fitting.  Be confident that you are able to carry out any repairs yourself properly before attempting them.

If at all unsure about any aspect of buying salvage vehicles or salvage parts, consult a reputable vendor and salvage vehicle recycling establishment such as Scrap My Car who will be happy to help you with any of your questions.