How to spot accident damage.
Car damage reports can only disclose information that has been recorded.
Accidents and accident damage settled between drivers (without insurance company knowledge) are not recorded in an online report.
CarVeto history checks provide background information that is recorded on the MIAFTR Insurance Write-Off database. But, we cannot provide details of accident damage settled without insurance company knowledge.
Although a vehicle has passed our car accident report it may have endured minor or medium accident damage.
Vehicle panels repainted or replaced
Highlighting accident damage repair
Inspect nuts and bolts that attach panels to the main shell of the vehicle. Looking under the bonnet you will see arms that attach the bonnet to the rest of the vehicle:
- Is paint missing from the edges of the nuts or bolts?
Missing paint may indicate that a panel has been removed from the vehicle resprayed or replaced.
- Check the bonnet, front wings, doors, boot and rear panels
Most motorists would not buy a vehicle with replaced panels such as a bonnet and front wings. Remember, a car accident check from CarVeto can only report data that is recorded.
Open each door and look at the outer seam on the inside of the door checking for inconsistencies between one door and another. Are the doors the same finish on the inside edge? If there are differences the vehicle could have endured a new door skin.
Such damage may indicate accident repair or indicate further damage to the vehicle.
Wheel arch measurement
Fingers are ideal for measuring the space between the back of the tyres and the wheel arch. How many fingers can fit between the back of the tyre and the wheel arch?
Expect the same finger measurement on each wheel. If there are inconsistencies the vehicle may be out of alignment as result of a front or rear end accident and poor repair.
Imagine you were running a marble along the seam of adjoining panels i.e. bonnet to the wing. Would the marble disappear due to the space being wider at one end and thinner at the other?
Differences in adjoining panel space may indicate the panel has been removed and replaced due to poor accident damage repair.
Sand texture to panels or windows
Gently rub the palm of your hand across windows and body panels to feel for a sand or gravel type texture. Rough textures upon the outside of a vehicle may indicate resprayed panels where paint has over sprayed and blown against other parts of the vehicle.
Glance the sides of the vehicle (in direct sunlight if possible) to see if panel colours are a perfect match.
Metallic colours and especially silver can be challenging for a cosmetic body shop to match exactly. Off colour panels may be an indication of damage repair.
Rubber seal overspray
Examine the black rubbers that seal the doors and boot shut. Rubbers can be found attached to the body of the vehicle upon opening the doors.
Look for paint over sprayed on the black rubbers for indication of cosmetic repair.
Standing in front of the vehicle, compare the front headlamps and see if one is obviously newer than the other.
Whilst a faulty headlamp can be replaced it may also indicate front end side damage that has been repaired.
Visual inspections are crucial when buying a used car. Ensure you run your own checks before you buy and do not rely soley on our car accident report. Take your time to ensure you make a wise investment.
Read part II of our car buyers guide – buying a used car from a dealers
The team, CarVeto