When buying a used car it’s important that you look out for any signs that the car has been in an accident in the past. Assessing accident damage will help you determine the real value of the car as well as help you detect any future problems that may affect the vehicle.
When you’re looking at a potential purchase, what should you be looking out for to detect any potential accident damage?
1. Obtain a Vehicle History Report
A car’s full history is available if you contact a vehicle history research company. The file will contain a comprehensive list of past owners as well as insurance information and any accident reports or claims filed involving the vehicle. This will give you a good idea of what type of damage to look out for when you inspect the car yourself.
2. Fender or Bumper Cracks
Check both ends of the vehicle for cracks or patched areas. Fenders and bumpers break easily in crashes because they are made of lightweight or plastic composite materials. If you notice that repairs have been done, this can be a good indicator of further damage.
Check all windows as well as front and back windshields to check for any noticeable damage; this could be a chip, scratch, crack or webbing. Any of these could indicate that the car was involved in a collision.
4. Body Lines
When you see people crouching down to inspect a car, they know what they’re doing. By being eye level with the body of the car and looking along the main line down the side of the car’s body you can see if the car’s paint reflects normally. An uneven line or distorted reflection indicates that body panels of the car have been replaced or hammered out due to body damage.
5. Panels and Door Gaps
Check the gaps between doors and adjoining body panels; the gaps should be straight and of an even width from top to bottom. If the car has been involved in an accident, then it may have uneven gaps due to misalignment or replaced panels or doors.
6. Feel The Body For Filler Spots
Accidental damage can leave a car with bumps and uneven spots when filler is used to repair damaged areas. These spots can be easily felt by running the palm of your hand down the body panels and around the corners of fenders and bumpers.
7. Clamp Marks
If there are noticeable clamp marks around the frame of the used car, then that is a clear indication that the car has been on a frame for major repairs to be undertaken.