The one thing, I think about when searching for a new car is if the car has been involved in a major accident or collision. Many people are making a business selling crashed cars. There are many private dealers that are now passing a damaged cars as accident-free so they do not have to discount the price.
Individuals looking for cars must be shrewd. Here are a few tips to find out if your car’s been in an incident.
- Bodywork ripples: The most obvious and easiest check to make when looking at any car is to look at the bodywork from the front and the rear of the vehicle on both sides. Do the body panels look straight? Are there any ripples in the metal work? If you can see either of these there’s a good chance that the vehicle has been in some sort of collision.
- Panel Gaps: A telling sign that a car has had some body work repairs is by looking at the spaces between panels (the panel gap). Having a consistent panel gap is key, if the gap is visibly wider or narrower at one point it could be an indication that there has been some repair work from a collision. Therefore, compare one side of the car to the other and make sure the panel gaps are identical.
- Uneven paint and Lines: Having checked the bodywork doesn’t have any rippling it is important to have a closer look at the actual paintwork. Are there any points where the paintwork has a slightly different tone, colour or texture? If so this could be a sign that a panel has been re-sprayed. This doesn’t mean that the vehicle has been in a collision, for example, be the previous owner trying to repair a deep scratch, which can be caused by numerous objects, bad driving/parking and careless people.
If you don’t see any clear indicators that the vehicle has been repainted it is advisable to check around the inside of the bonnet, door frames and boot. If a car has been re-painted on the cheap there is a good possibility that they only painted the exterior and might not have been thorough enough to spray the inside of the body-work as well.
- Clamps and Filler spots: Irregular and uneven bumps on the panel and bumper is an indication that a Filler has been used to cover up a damaged area. You can check this with a small magnet, though it will only work on metal body panels. It is also worth running your hand around the inside of the wheel arches to check any clamp marks. If you feel any clamp marks this is almost a guarantee the car has been in a major accident and repaired using a jig.
- Check the boot: Once you’ve had a good look around the outside of the vehicle it is a good idea to check the areas which are less accessible. The first thing I advise doing is looking in the boot underneath the carpet. You will usually find the spare wheel there, but the metal work underneath the boot carpet can tell its own story, so don’t be afraid to lift it all up. If a car has previously been rear ended the metalwork in the boot will have tell-tale ripples, even if the exterior has been repaired properly.
Another good place to check is underneath the rubber seals around the doors as these can also reveal previous repairs which a seller might want to keep hidden.
Come back to the Euro Car Parts blog next week for more motoring news, consumer advice, opinions and details on the best car parts for your make and model. Visit us in any of our branches for advice or to see the product range with your own eyes