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Discussion Starter #1
Been looking for a small car to drive to work 70 miles round trip. My truck is costing me too much in gas and the Vulcan gets her legs stretched alot. However, as the weather hasn't been too bad we still get those thunder boomers that creep up and that's when I need a gas miser. Anyways, I saw this cobalt on CL that has a rebuilt title.
http://buffalo.craigslist.org/cto/4481770250.html

After some research I realized this car was salvaged and repaired. Emailed the owner and this is what transpired.


ME
Hi, my name is Doug and am interested in the cobalt. If you could tell me why you’re selling and what damage to the car deemed a salvage/repaired title. Thanks

HIM
Hi Doug. My name is Steve. I purchased in November 2013 inspected then. Dealer indicated there was right front damage. Hood quarter panal and headlight were replaced no frame damage. Model is LS. Only reason I'm selling is I need I bigger car. At the time I bought it I had just turned in a lease on a rav4 and thought I could get by with a smaller car but now realize I miss the bigger car. I live in grand island. You can reach me on my cell at xxxxxxxxxx call or text if you prefer.

Is this something that I should take to my mechanic or avoid all together?
 

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Personally I have a hard time swallowing the idea of a cobalt (shudders). That being said, the value of these cars are so low that you can have a smaller accident and "total" the car. Another reason I would be skeptical of these cars is they do tend to have some transmission problems. My wife's grandmother has one and it is an 09 LS with 70K, has the ignition switch issues and had transmission issues. Personally I would be looking at the Nissan Sentra or Honda Civic and stick with a manual if you can. I have always had less trouble out of them than autos. But that is my opinion, and that is not much.
 

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Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with purchasing a "salvage" vehicle. I have done it. I purchased an 01 Nissan Sentra with 24K and was in a flood in 03 for $4600. After having to get the manual trans rebuilt at at 60K I drove for another 15K sold it to a family friend and they are still driving it. Not had any major repair work since the transmission and has over 200K. The rebuilt title don't bother me, I would check the drive gears good, listen for any odd whining sounds and vibrations. The fact that it is a Cobalt scares me.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I tend to agree. My first impression was a Cobalt...really...someone slap me! I'm a Ford man but this looked like something I could drive for a few years and toss. I think I will go take a peek and drive but the advice will be helpful.

Anyone else?
 

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Does rebuilt title mean the car was totaled at one time? I can't see the title change if only the fender was dented.
The terms "Salvage", "Rebuilt",... all can mean slightly different things in each respective state. It takes a little research to make sure you can actually one of these vehicles. The one I mentioned a few posts back, I purchased from KY (I live in VA). It took me almost 90 days to get all the paper work straight between the 2 states. The car had a "Salvage" title issued and I had to show documentation to stratify the state of VA that it has been "Rebuilt" and was safe to operate. Now that I know a little more about the process I could do it in less time now. But since the OP is buying one that is already been tagged and insured in the state he resides in, then there should not be any problems of that nature. Those terms are like the difference between "And", "or", or "And/Or" on legal documents.

Well if you think about it if you have a 07 Chevy Pick up with a lot of mile, and a 13 Chevy pickup that is identical, replace all the same parts you will get closer to the magic percentage of the value of the vehicle quicker on the 07 than the 13 even though they are almost identical trucks.
 

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My two cents, a Mitsubishi Lancer is one of best kept affordability and reliability secrets out there. Without the racing package they can be had cheap and they will keep going until you tell them to stop. Good luck.
 

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I owned a Cobalt for 4 years and put 47,000 miles on it. It was an '06 2-door LS 5-speed, totally base model. Here's what I observed:

GOOD
Excellent gas mileage, about 34-37 mpg
Responsive and reasonable power for a 4-cylinder. I actually think the 2.2L EcoTec is one of the best ideas GM ever had.
Decent handling (Wife and I would road trip to the mountains frequently, where I would get yelled at quite a lot...IRS would've made it better, tho).
Reasonably comfortable in the front seats.
Mine proved to be bullet-proof reliable. I will admit to having one issue: the clutch master cylinder popped out of the firewall after we'd had it a month. It was fixed hassle-free under warranty.

BAD
Numb steering (electric motor power steering)
Torque steer (if you care about such things...probably not)
Very spartan and inexpensive interior. Cars with factory power windows and cruise feel like the accessories are afterthoughts.
Air conditioning was not very powerful and seemed to strain the engine quite a bit (I'm also a Ford guy, and my wife's '08 Mariner will give you hypothermia)
Back seats are cramped, even on the sedans.
Lots of trunk space, very small trunk opening.

Then, of course, there is the ignition switch recall. Also, in 2008 a recall was issued on the power steering motors, but I don't know what model years it may have applied to.

Hindsight is 20/20, and if I'd known then what I know now I'd probably have gotten an '05-'07 Focus ZX5 with a 2.3L. After driving one that belonged to a friend I was reasonably impressed. And the storage space would've been nice too, especially after my old Blazer broke down (The Cobalt did us fine, but outside of that I've not had good luck with GMs).

$5900 seems a lot for a car that's been wrecked. If I was looking for a throwaway commuter, I'd get an '03-'05 EcoTec Cavalier/Sunfire (which are even cheaper, chintzier cars) because you could get would for a couple thousand bucks and drive the wheels off it.

I'd avoid Honda and Toyota for this purpose...they'll make you pay for that reputation of reliability.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks all! Great info Luciferiad. I read about the recall yesterday and will ask about it when I call the owner. The thing that popped out to me on this car is the mileage. Yes, the Focus or Fusion is what I looked at but they want 12 grand for a used (3 or 4 years) with the same mileage as this cobalt.

I knew, being a member here since 09, that posting this thread would be a good idea. Thanks again and I'll post back when and if I pull the trigger.
 

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The fact that the ad does not reveal up front that the car was salvaged indicates to me that nothing else the seller says can be relied upon. Forget it.
 

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Here's my thoughts on the title:
1.The car was left at a storage yard and the owner didn't pay the bill so the storage owner took the car for the payment.
2.The car was totaled by the insurance company. Then the car was repaired, retitled and is now being resold.
I could be wrong but all I know is "buyer beware".
 
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