1. Determine what you want your next vehicle to be, then try to stay with that type.
2. How much money do you have to invest in your vehicle when completed? If you don't have a planned amount you can end up spending a lot more than what you every planned to spend on your next vehicle. Once you know the answer to the first two questions you are set to start looking.
There are a number a places to shop for cars that have been in an accident. Salvage car auctions are a good start, this is where I will buy most all repairable cars, there are a few times some one will run an add in your local shopper trader, but there is much more variety from auctions. I have a body shop and started out buying from auctions with great success. Check our web site www.salvageoffers.com we are a broker for a large corporation Copart and at any one given time there are about 75,000 vehicles to choose from. I would suggest that you watch the auctions that are near you so that when you purchase your vehicle you can pick it up your self, shipping can get very expensive and you soon have more into your vehicle than you planned. Another reason to watch the auction close at home is you can go and view the vehicle before bidding on it. I always tell my customers go and look at the vehicle or have some one do it for you that knows what to look for in a salvaged vehicle. Yes there are pictures, but pictures can not show every thing. I have found out when purchasing a wrecked vehicle that most of the time the engine is ok and the transmission is also ok, think about it, this vehicle is being sold because it was in an accident not because it had a mechanical problem. Yes you do have to be careful not to buy a vehicle that has been hit so hard that it broke motor mounts or transmission mounts, but that isn't too hard to see if you go look at the vehicle.
Let's look at some vehicles that anyone with some mechanical ability can repair.
This is a 2012 Chevrolet Impala LS odometer is showing 42,758 mi. (ACTUAL) Engine is a 3.6L V-6 with a buy it now for $5,100, I went to CarMax to compare and find the value of this car if it had not been in an accident and a salvage title, the average going price for this car is about $13,500 with the only damage being to the frount and if you look you can see damage in the driver door. (I know the other side of vehicle is great) The hood will be best replace, bumper cover can be repair easily, the head light may have a broken mounting bracket. This car is currently for sale as I write this article it will go on the auction block May 5 2015, if no one purchases before the auction my guess is it will sell for even less, but right now you have a better than a 60 percent discount. You can afford to have up to 50 percent spread and still be ok.
Now for the cost of repairing this vehicle. A after market hood is about $125 if you want a OEM it would be more, but I have found that after market hoods work great. You could go to a U-Pull-It yard where you could get an OEM hood for about $50 this can get the best because you can look for the same color and not have to paint. The bumper cover, take a hot air blower some times a hair dryer will work, heat up the spot you can see the dent in, after it is good and warm push on the back side and pop the dent back out. Now its not always that way, but with this bumper you shouldn't have a problem with doing that. The driver door, you can try a suction cup and pull or you may try PDR (Paintless Dent Repair) tools. I would place a PDR glue tab on and try pulling. We sell those tool also visit www.salvageoffers.com. It can be done very successfully.
You can now begin to see that buying a salvage vehicle may not be all that bad! For less than $5,500 you could be the owner of this vehicle driving down the highway.
It took me about 5 minutes of searching to find this vehicle and there are more with just the same potential. check our site out. www.salvageoffers.com
How about a hail vehicle? Drive it just like it is.
This is a 2007 Chevrolet Aveo/LS 89,000 actual miles and with a buy it now for $2,400 or wait until may 5, 2015 and try buying at auction. Once again I went to CarMax to see what these little cars were selling for on average and with this kind of mileage about $8,000. Which would you rather do save $5,600 or buy from the local car lot and have a nice shiny vehicle that is not one bit better mechanically? I choose the hail damage and the savings.