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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey all,

I am wanting to purchase a salvage QX60 at auction and rebuild it, I am mechanically inclined and have no desire to incur a $500/month car payment.

Anyways, salvage auctions are always very sparse with info and details about the vehicle's packages and while many of these packages you can clearly see (Maple Accents, Headrest monitors, double sunroof, etc., etc.,) others you literally cannot see (Drivers Assistance or Tech package).

Every Infiniti vin decoder I've found online lists all QX60s as "Base" irrespective if they are actually base or not and list nothing concerning packages.

Instavin gives you the option to print the Window Sticker for $10, but it cannot possibly be that there is no vin decoder online that can correctly decode these vins ... correct?

Thanks in advance!
 

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Haven't come across one but some things that might help you...

The "Base" designation is in contrast to the Hybrid model. That's all. Not an indication of packages. From my understanding, the tech package comes with 20 inch vs 18 in wheels and the panoramic sunroof. The driver assistance package will have the blind spot lights on the doors and the DCA stuff on the steering wheel. One of them adds the monitoring equipment behind rear mirror for the forward collision intervention system, etc. Most of the packages can actually be found out by visible changes to the car because Infiniti bundles various things into each package.

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the info.

The VIN decoders I've seen have both Hybrids and non-hybrids listed as "Base".

There is a vin decoder at, for example, the Q45 forums is a great example of this.

The only reliable way I've found of doing this is paying the $10 or so for the window sticker. Its not the end of the world, but rather annoying.
 

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Thanks for the info.

The VIN decoders I've seen have both Hybrids and non-hybrids listed as "Base".

There is a vin decoder at, for example, the Q45 forums is a great example of this.

The only reliable way I've found of doing this is paying the $10 or so for the window sticker. Its not the end of the world, but rather annoying.
This is what I did and am very happy for it. It shows me every available option that was added to the vehicles package. Worth it for $10.00 but I don't think I could ever bring myself to buy a salvaged vehicle, especially around my area where there are alot of hurricane water damaged vehicles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
This is what I did and am very happy for it. It shows me every available option that was added to the vehicles package. Worth it for $10.00 but I don't think I could ever bring myself to buy a salvaged vehicle, especially around my area where there are alot of hurricane water damaged vehicles.
Yeah, not all salvage vehicles are the same -- just like any used car. Some really should be turned into scrap, while others could easily be put back on the road safely.

Its important to remember that "salvage vehicle" is a financial term, and not necessarily a reference to the vehicle's safety. Simply put -- a salvage vehicle is one that has been involved in some time of insurable event, and the costs to bring the vehicle back to a condition it was in before the insurable incident exceed 60% of the vehicles value.

I see salvage vehicles at auction constantly that are there for cosmetic damage only -- mid-size luxury sedans are extremely susceptible to this due to their extreme depreciation and cost of replacement parts at new prices and coupled with labor costs associated with working on these cars. Want a 12-2014 Audi A6 Premium Prestige -- they go at auction with cosmetic damage only (meaning no frame or uni-body damage, no airbag deployment and no mechanical issues) for $5k fairly constantly. If you take the car to the Audi dealer and say "fix it" you'll get a quote that is ridiculous and that quote is likely why they totaled the vehicle. Go to Car-Part.com--Used Auto Parts Market and search for used parts, watch a couple YouTube videos and do the work yourself and you can accomplish the same thing for a couple thousand bucks.

Flood cars fall into the same category. Harvey was an extreme example -- but take Houston-area Infiniti dealers, I'll use Clear Lake Infiniti as an example, as I did pretty extensive research on their salvage new car lot. In Infiniti's dealer franchise agreements, certain types of damage to new cars results in various results. Pull a new car off the truck and a tree falls on it? Depending on the severity of the damage it either goes to salvage auction, or it gets repaired and is used as a loaner vehicle until its eventually sold as "used" and not "CPO". Hail at the lot? They have a policy and procedure for that. Car accident at the lot between two dealer-own vehicles? They have policy and procedure for that.

Know Infiniti corporate's policy on a flood vehicle on the dealer lot? Automatically goes to salvage auction. They take as much as they can from the insurance company and then write off the rest, if they don't have some kind of gap insurance mandated in their floorplanner agreement. So, back to Clear Lake Infiniti -- the dealer WAS underwater. How much water at its peak in the deepest part? 18" or so. This means every vehicle that was there that wasn't on a lift and in the air was considered salvage and salvaged by the dealer.

Some sexy Q60 Red Coupé? It had water up to the shifter, and absent a massive undertaking, the car is basically only good for parts. Why? That 18" of water gets further up in the car because it sits lower to the ground. What about the QX series of vehicles? Well, the lowest to the ground -- the QX60 these vehicles got about 4" of water in them. Still a flood car? Check. Still written off? Yeup. But there is a *MASSIVE* difference between the Q60 coupé example at the QX60 example.

The QX60 could have the interior gutted, carpet replaced -- re-assemble and reregister. If you look at the salvage auctions around that time (when I started really watching salvage QX60s) you'd have brand new 2018 QX60s with premium tech and touring with 12 miles on them going at salvage auction for $18k or so. A little bit of internet research and a couple phone calls and you can assume what is necessary to bring the vehicle back to "as it was" condition -- and in order to bridge that ca. $35k gap -- you'd have to be some kind of very unique brain surgeon or pro-athlete for it to NOT be worth your time.

All this to say -- as asset price inflation continues to outstrip wage-inflation the cost of living is going to keep increasing -- salvage vehicles are a great way to get yourself out of the "car/lease payments forever" loop if you are even somewhat mechanically inclined.
 
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