How to Tell When Your Used Car Has Been in an Accident

Posted on: March 15th, 2016 by Accurate Auto Body Denver No Comments

buy a used car

Buying a used car can be a mixed bag. While one seller might be offering a great deal on their used but maintained vehicle, another might be trying to pass off a dud to make some quick cash. So how can you tell if the vehicle you are looking at is up to snuff and isn’t on sale after a recent accident? Our Denver car repair professionals are here to tell you how to tell if a used car has been in an accident.

Used Automobile Records

Luckily, enough people have had this problem that a database has been made which keeps track of accidents. If the vehicle was involved in a serious accident, chances are that it was reported and a claim was made, which means that it ended up in the database. If the “clean” vehicle you are looking at shows up with a previous accident on its record, the seller is clearly not to be trusted and you should move on, no matter how good the deal appears to be.

Physically Inspect the Car

Don’t hop on a good deal before doing a thorough visual inspection of the vehicle. If you see a dent or a paint scratch or a part that looks askew, ask the owner what happened. Sometimes signs of a previous accident can be hard to spot, but a great indicator is difference in paint color. If a body part has been replaced, it’s likely that the new part will have fresher and more vibrant paint than the rest of the vehicle. At the very least, if you do end up buying a used car, any visual body damage can be used as a bargaining chip to lower the price.

Take the Vehicle to a Shop

 If you are suspicious that the vehicle has been in an accident, the surest way to get confirmation is to bring the car in to a mechanic who can inspect it and give you a full report. A good mechanic can also help you understand the implications of the effect the accident had on the vehicle and what repairs you could be looking at in the future.

Bottom Line: Should You Buy It?

In general, buying a used car that has been in a serious accident (fender benders aside), one should use some additional caution and do a little more fact finding. Vehicles can of course be repaired to look like new, but it is often impossible for the consumer to tell whether the repairs were done with the highest standards or just a quick patch job to sell the vehicle off. If you learn from the seller that the vehicle has been in an accident and repaired, ask to see the paperwork and the name of the auto body shop that did the repairs. Then, check with that shop and research their reputation to ensure that you are comfortable with the repairs they may have made on the car.

How to use this information

At Accurate Auto Body, we are experts at determining whether a vehicle has been in an accident. If you are in need of an inspection before buying a used car, give Auto Body a call at 303-344-2122 or contact us for more information and we will be happy help!

What has been your experience with buying vehicles that were previously damaged in an accident?

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