Buying a used car makes total sense when you’re on a tighter budget, however, getting the right one could be a bit of a challenge. If you choose to go down the second-hand route then there are a number of things to look out for to help you spot whether the car you are considering buying has been in an accident.
It isn’t hard to make a car look good after an accident. But a quick cosmetic clean up is very different from a proper repair. There are a lot of things you should look for if you’re buying a used car and want to be sure that it hasn’t been in an accident. Luckily, buyers have more protective tools at their disposal than ever before, and it all starts with the internet.
Sketchy Paint Jobs
A cover-up paint job will always have some tell-tale signs that the car has been in an accident previously. First, look for paint that doesn’t quite match the sheen or texture found on the majority of the vehicle. The surface may look clear and smooth when viewed straight on, but sit by the side of the car and you may spot some unevenness. If you do spot it, there’s a good chance that the car had some repair done.
The car doors, boot and bonnet should always be perfectly flushed in with the other panels. Any misalignment tells that the car has been involved in a clash. Besides that, take note of the rear and front bumpers too. Similarly, if you notice any misalignment there too it most probably means it’s had a shunt.
Check The Tyres
Don’t be afraid to get a little down and dirty for this. Check out for the treads! If it is uneven, there’s a high chance it could be due to a misaligned wheel caused by damage to the chassis. While you’re at it, take a look at the underbody and wheel wells for any signs of structural repairs. How? A fresh application of a rubberised undercoat should indicate that.
Over time, headlights will turn hazy and have a yellowish tint. If one of the headlights is clearer than the other, clearly, it means that it was replaced. Enquire why was it replaced, because chances are, that part was most probably involved in an accident.
Now, this is pretty obvious but it is also the most important. Get behind the wheel and have a feel for yourself on how the car fairs. Listen out for weird sounds coming from the car itself. Do you hear any tapping or a metal to metal slap from the engine? That could be a damaged piston. Does the transmission shift smoothly? Does the steering make any funny noises at full lock? Do the brakes grind? If the car requires too much work, then it’s best you just walk away from it.