How to Check Has a Used Car Been in an Accident

Buying a used car will probably save you some money, but if it has suffered severe damage in a crash, you have a true deal-breaker on your hands. But if you learn how to check has a used car been in an accident, your purchase will be much safer. 

The best way to check has a used car been in an accident is if you take the vehicle to a professional for a check-up. If you can not see any external damages or something that stands out, the best would be to hire a mechanic to do the check-up for you.

Crashed car with broken windows

Still, there are ways you can do the examination yourself if you know your way around the car. Here are some tips and tricks you can implement.

Tips When Buying Used Cars – What to Check First

When purchasing a pre-owned car, naturally, the first thing you will check is the exterior. If a car has been in a crash, one of the things that will stand out is inconsistent panels. If panels are not in a perfect alignment, it means that the car has been under repair that can never be done perfectly. And if panels were damaged, that means the crash was severe. Here are some things you must check when you decide to buy a pre-owned car.

What to checkWhy is it importantRed flags
Vehicle Identification NumberIt can tell you the car’s historyIf there is no VIN on the vehicle
MileageIt can tell you how worn off a car isAfter 100,000 miles car will start experiencing problems
Tire conditionNickel test is excellent to do when checking bad tiersIf there are no treads, tires are bad
LeaksThere shouldn’t be any leaksCar will need repair immediately

Look if Paint Matches

Another great way to see if there were some damages to the car is to check if the paint is the same everywhere. If there were some repairs on the exterior, most likely, the paint wouldn’t match. It can look like a different shade or an entirely different color. If the paint doesn’t match up, your dealer probably has done some sloppy job in repainting. Otherwise, you wouldn’t notice that. The only way you can not see if there was repainting is if the whole car has been painted from scratch. Still, repainting doesn’t necessarily mean the car has been in a crash. Maybe they were just trying to fix some scratches.

Car crashed by a fallen tree

Check if There Is Irregular Welding on Your car

Probably the best way to see if there were major repairs on a pre-owned car is if there are irregular weldings. Irregular welding means that the car was in a severe crash that destroyed the whole section, which then had to be replaced by a completely new part. Even if your dealer has been honest about the part replacement and the accidents, you should know that the car that withstood such damage may not be safe for driving and may not have enough structural integrity to withstand another crash. 

See if There Are Off-the-Market Parts 

Replacing original fabricated parts with some off-the-market parts also points towards damage. And yes, some parts in cars must be replaced naturally over time. But if this replacement was off the scheduled time, it was probably caused by the crash. Also, if your dealer has replaced the car parts with off-the-market ones, he was trying to save some money on repairs. Some common parts dealers usually replace after the crash are tail lights and headlights.

People checking car

Rusty Screws and Other Parts

As you may know, when assembling a car, makers use specialized tools when screwing that doesn’t damage the paint or the screws. So if you see rusty screws and bolts, it’s a sign someone has changed them in the past, which doesn’t necessarily mean the car was in the crash, but it’s something you can point out to your dealer.

Take Your Car to Service and See if There Is a Fresh Car’s Undercoat Cover Up

The undercoat is there to prevent engine and other car parts from being directly exposed to road debris and bad weather. The undercoat is supposed to be worn off. But if your undercoat is fresh and new, it may be an attempt to hide repair work that was done to the car. Also, contact your mechanics for a detailed check-up. Maybe there are some malfunctions even your dealer is not aware of. Another thing you can do (and it’s advisable) is take a car for a test drive. See and listen to how a car behaves under high speed and pressure. Here are other things your mechanic can check up:

  • Upholstery,
  • Interior electronics,
  • Frame issues,
  • Fastener,
  • Engine.
Alt-text: Happy couple hugging in front of a car

The Best Way to Check Has a Used Car Been in an Accident Is on Carfax 

Carfax is a platform where you can check the complete history of your vehicle. CARFAX Vehicle History Reports contain over 28 billion records from 20 EU countries, US and Canada. On Carfax, you can check the car’s history in a couple of steps. All you need to do is type in a Vehicle Identification Number, and you will get a complete report about the car’s whereabouts and, most certainly, accidents. And there is no dispute that buying a pre-owned vehicle is an excellent way to save some money. But if you have a detailed history of your vehicle, you will know what you are getting into and will be able to make informed decisions.