How to tell if a used car has been in an accident

When you’re buying a used car it’s important to know if the car has any previous damage. Several things can devalue a car. Important to note that if the car has damage now, you will take a hit for that when you trade this car in. Damage follows the car.

If you can buy the car for the right price then previous damage won’t sting as much.

Here is how to tell if a used car has been in an accident:

  • CARFAX History report or Auto Check history reports. These reports will identify damage repairs, hail damage, flood and other detrimental information. Always get one or both reports.
  • Visible hail dings on the roof, rear deck or hood. You may have to look at an angle, and if it’s raining or the car is wet you can’t see hail dents. Look in bright sunshine.
  • Noticeable differences in paint color from one body panel to another.
  • Paint is different color in door jams.
  • New radiator with new unpainted bolts on fender components under the hood.
  • Taking a finger down the sides of doors, hood, or rear deck lid. Feeling grit or sandpaper feel is the tell-tale sign of new paint. Factory paint will be totally smooth.
  • Uneven body panels. Where body panels come together and the gap is huge or small.
  • Visible overspray. Spots of paint on darker surfaces that you can see.

Keep in mind that just because a vehicle may have previous body damage or paint work that the car is no good. Minor damage if fixed properly is not that big a deal. A poor fix, where visible signs are there, you would really have to buy this car right. A poor repair will haunt you at resale time.

Tread carefully through these waters and make sure you have a trusted professional survey the cars damage before you buy. Account for depreciable loss when you trade in. Follow these simple rules and your shopping experience will be fine.

Check out our great dealers at Quality used cars, used trucks and SUV models are searchable now. Thanks for choosing!

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