Is It Safe to Purchase Rebuilt Cars on Craigslist?


Quick Answer

Rebuilt cars often have mechanical problems, since the mechanics who perform the rebuilding often cut corners to maximize profit. Therefore, rebuilt cars purchased on Craigslist and elsewhere are potentially dangerous. Furthermore, some states require certification for rebuilt cars, so the legal status of rebuilt car might be questionable.

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Full Answer

In many states, rebuilt cars must be inspected to ensure that basic parts are intact and that none of the parts used to rebuild it are listed as stolen. However, a rebuilt title does not indicate a car's safety, and buyers who purchase rebuilt cars have no certainty that the rebuilding was competent. Sellers on Craigslist typically offer no guarantees of this sort, although lemon laws in some states might apply if the car breaks down after sale.

Another problem with rebuilt cars is their value. Buyers prefer to mitigate risks when purchasing a vehicle, so selling a rebuilt car is often difficult. Some states require sellers to note if a car has been rebuilt, although Vehicle Identification Number searches generally reveal this information even if disclosure isn't mandatory. In addition, sellers might be liable if any part of the rebuild was not done correctly, which can pose legal risks long after the car has been sold.

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