When you find a used car that’s the perfect type you’ve been looking for and is priced within your budget, you might say, “Sold! This car is perfect for me.” However, there are more things to look for in a pre-owned car than its model type, mileage, and price.
You want to ensure the car you’re looking at hasn’t been involved in a collision and sustained damage, because much of that damage is unseen. Friendship Paint & Body Shop can tell you if your car has been involved in a collision with the following seven tell-tale signs:
1. Uneven Paint Wear
A car’s paint will typically wear and fade when it’s exposed to intense sunlight over a period of time. Other adverse weather conditions may cause the paint to wear faster, but it will fade evenly overall. The first sign of an accident cover-up is if you notice a patch of new paint that is obviously newer than the rest.
Always look for parts of the car that are also painted a different color than the car’s body. Parts painted slightly different from the rest of the car can signify that the car has undergone a paint job in an attempt to cover up body damage. Often a new paint job on a particular panel indicates the panel was either repaired or replaced.
2. Misaligned Panels
Car panels are also engineered to fit perfectly with one another and are designed to follow predetermined slopes and shapes, giving the car body a distinctive look. Like puzzle pieces, when a panel is out of alignment and no longer fits perfectly, it is a tell-tale sign that a car has been in an accident.
Check the gaps between your car’s panels for other telling signs of damage or repair. The small gaps between panels should all be the same and consistent in size. If you find panel gaps that are a different size than the rest, this may indicate that bodywork repair has been done on the car.
3. New Airbag Panels
When buying a used car, always make it a point to check the airbag panels. Replaced airbag panels indicate that the car has experienced a significant and sudden impact for the original ones to go off.
When an airbag deploys, the plastic that contains them will break open, and a skilled mechanic or technician will need to specially install new airbags. If the airbag panels look newer than the rest of the car’s interior, this confirms that they have been replaced, and were most likely replaced because of an accident.
4. Auto Putty Usage
Auto putty on a car’s body is one of the most common auto collision signs indicating that the car has experienced some or extensive damage. Instead of replacing the entire panel, which can be expensive and time-consuming, people will use body filler, also known as auto putty, when repairing a car.
Auto putty is designed to cover up as much as possible, so it can be hard to spot a putty repair using the naked eye. One way of testing for auto putty usage is to run a magnet over the panels. If you find any areas where the magnet is not drawn towards it, then this means it is an area where auto putty has been used.
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5. Misplaced Welding
Another tell-tale sign that a car has been previously in a collision and had to be repaired is misplaced welding. Welding is used in repairing broken or misshaped metal, so if you see welding that looks out of place, this is a sign that the car has endured impactful force. Always look under a car’s hood for more places where some welding could look out of place.
6. Mismatched Parts
Always check the car for mismatched parts, as these are surefire signs that the car has been involved in an accident. One example is if you check that the manufacturer of the front and rear windshields are the same. If different manufacturers make the windshields, this indicates that they’ve been replaced, and the car has probably been involved in a collision.
7. Uneven Chassis
If a car is involved in sudden and severe force, the impact causes the car’s chassis, or the load-bearing part of the car’s frame, to become bent and uneven.
A car’s chassis, and the entirety of its frame, is completely level when it rolls off the factory floor. If you see an unlevel or uneven chassis, your pre-owned car was subject to heavy impact or involved in a collision.
Ask For Your Car’s History Report
If you want more in-depth detail of the car’s history, you can ask for a vehicle history report. A good pre-owned car should always have original parts. We also understand accidents happen if you were involved in an accident. If you notice mismatching exterior and interior car parts, it is a good idea to ask the car owner about the car’s history to ensure you are not buying a car with an accident history.
Take the used car you’re interested in to Friendship Paint & Body for these sneaky auto collision signs. Uneven paint wear, misaligned panels, extensive putty filler on the panels, misplaced welding, an uneven chassis, and mismatched parts are the tell-tale signs your pre-owned car has been involved in a collision.
If you need help looking for these pre-owned collision signs, give Friendship Paint & Body a call, and we’ll schedule an appointment to have one of our expert repairmen evaluate your vehicle at any of our convenient locations today. You will be more aware of the history and the condition of the pre-owned car you are considering purchasing.