Buying a Salvage Title Motorcycle at an Online Auction

Few things are as great as riding a bike on the open road. The wind, the speeds, the general thrill of it all is enough to get anyone excited. What could be more exciting than that? Well, buying a motorcycle at auction for up to 70% off, that’s what. Buying a salvage title motorcycle at an online auction whether to ride in it’s current state or to use for parts can be a great way to save money. It can also be a convenient way to lose a lot of money if a buyer isn’t careful. But no worries! Below are some tips brought to you by to get a buyer started in this seemingly intimidating market.



  • Have a Plan

The first thing a buyer should do before hitting the online auctions is write a specific list of exactly what they are looking for and the price they’re willing to pay. Because the Internet has people from all over selling all kinds of bikes, it could be easy to lose focus and end up buying the wrong thing. A buyer searching for parts should take the time to write down the parts they’re looking for, which models they’re compatible with, and budget them to start. For example, sometimes a nut or a bolt can fit one kind of bike and only one, making all the difference in the world in terms of price. And speaking of price…


  • Know the Value!

The Kelley Blue Book is quite possibly the most popular and concise guide for determining the value of a vehicle. It’s a thorough and seemingly exhaustive guide of almost every make and model under the sun, which makes it hard to believe that it’s not the only resource available.  When searching for a salvage titled motorcycle, buyers can learn about the market by checking motorcycle forums, local classifieds such as craigslist or even a newspaper. These resources can prove more useful in terms of what people are commonly asking for and paying for every day.


  • Don’t Forget About Labor Costs!

One would think that most buyers shopping for a salvageable motorcycle or parts would have access to a proper mechanic or are savvy about repairs themselves. Surprisingly, this simply isn’t the case – there’s a movement out there of do-it-yourselfers that feel they are capable of putting in the repairs themselves. Confidence is certainly admirable but it’s probably better to have a trusted mechanic standing by. Whether it’s a bike that is described as a drivable vehicle that’s been repaired or a moving pile of parts that can be reused, a proper mechanic can usually look at a listing and weigh in whether or not it’s a good value or give an estimated quote of what it would take to actually perform the repair. Sure the parts could be cheap, but a buyer wouldn’t want to learn after buying that they have to shell out hundreds if not thousands to a mechanic for repair. The goal is to save money after all.


  • Don’t Forget the Shipping Costs!

Another often-overlooked aspect of buying a motorcycle at an online auction is the cost of shipping. Where is the bike coming from? Is the shipping method insured? Can the seller provide a proper tracking number? Will it arrive dismantled in a large package or delivered via freight? Ordering a vehicle online isn’t like buying a toaster off online. There are plenty of logistics that go with shipping something so large. A buyer should feel confident to ask all of these questions and more before even placing a bid. It also helps to verify their claimed prices through their chosen delivery service to make sure the seller isn’t price gouging in the shipping.


  • Prepare Yourself For Government Hoops

As with any vehicle, a motorcycle that has been stamped with a salvage title will need proper documentation, insurance etc. However, unlike a regular vehicle, salvage titled vehicles can require a lot more work before it can even hit the road. Of course laws and fees will vary from state to state but it’s good to know what you’re in for. For starters, a vehicle with a salvage title could require a specific kind of insurance – usually total coverage. If this still doesn’t seem like an urgent enough step, let’s put it this way: The DMV in California requires that bikes labeled as salvage vehicles go through a variety of inspections. Moreover, buyers are required to provide extensive documentation of repairs, ownership history, vehicle history, and of course proof of insurance. Check your local DMV for more information.


  • Be Prepared to Shop Around

Buying a motorcycle at an online vehicle auction can take some shopping around. It’s an extensive process for plenty of room for trial and error. But despite the frustrations, it’s definitely better to shop around and really get a feel for the market before plunking down hard earned money on what could be a lemon. It’s also better to shop around and determine whether or not the online auction route is right for you based on what you’re buying and what’s available.

Keep your head and do your homework. Have fun with it and good luck!

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