Some basic tips on spotting signs that a car has been in an accident
Buying a reliable used car is probably the best way to invest in an automobile. Unlike a new car that depreciates in value the second you drive it off the lot, or a lease that you will have to eventually return to a dealership, a reliable used car is comparatively less expensive and won’t come with any additional costs except for regular maintenance. The key is finding a used car that is truly reliable. There are plenty of people looking to unload their old junker onto an unsuspecting buyer for a quick buck, and if you don’t do your research you could end up getting burned in the future. One detail that many used car sellers will conveniently omit in an effort to get the most money they can for a car is previous accidents and subsequent defects with the car. To make sure you aren’t stuck with a defective used car, be sure to take the following tips into account when researching your next used vehicle purchase.
Look for Aftermarket Paint
If the car you’re considering has ever been in an accident where significant body damage occurred, you will probably be able to tell based on whether or not aftermarket paint was applied following repairs. Aftermarket painting is different from factory painting in the way it is applied and the way it appears on the car. A body shop will often use the correct code to mix up the paint, but even this match will appear slightly different compared to the original factory colour. This can be easy to spot with relatively close scrutiny on things like doors, the hood or trunk, or other body panels around the car. Stand at an angle to the car and look at how the light reflects from the paint surface, if the reflection is even across the entire surface then likely no damage has occurred.One area that may not be easy to spot is the bumper. Because of the plastic surface of the bumper, even factory paint applied at different times can appear to be off, and may not always be a sign the car was in an accident.
Look for Bondo Filler
Bondo is a polyester resin that is used to fill in dents and scrapes on the body of a car. For the most part, bondo is meant as a quick and cheap solution when time and budgetary restraints prevent people from performing proper repairs. In other cases, bondo is used to mask major body issues on a car from an unsuspecting buyer. For the most part, auto body workers will sand the bondo to make it match the original body shape, and simply paint over the affected areas. Typically you will be able to notice signs of this sanding, meaning the car was definitely damaged at some point, and repaired using sub par materials.
Identify Replacement Parts
In some accident repairs, auto body professionals will have to remove components of the car such as the front fenders, and install replacement parts. If this is the case, it is usually easy to tell by taking a quick look under the hood. The bolts that hold the fender to the frame will have been painted at the factory. If they were ever removed, you will likely be able to see the paint has been chipped from these bolts. This is almost always a sign that parts have been replaced or at the very least removed to be repainted and refinished.