Buying a secondhand car is a tricky proposition.It can be risky as you may not know its history.
Before you buy,check out the following list of warning signs to determine whether a car has already been in an accident or a rebuilt wreck.
1)Paint that chips off or doesn’t match indicates damage repair and poor blending.
2)Paint overspray on chrome,trim or rubber seals around body openings reveals that the adjacent panel was repaired.
3)Misaligned fenders suggest a poor repair job or use of nonoriginal equipment manufacturer (non-OEM)parts.
4)Uneven tread wear reveals wheel misalignment,possibly because of frame damage.
5)Mold or air freshener cover-up suggests water damage from a leak or flood.Silt in trunk may mean flood damage.
6)Fresh undercoating on wheel wells,chassis,or engine strongly suggests recent structural repairs covered up.
7)Door that doesn’t close correctly could point to a door-frame deformation and poor repair.
8)Bonnet or boot that doesn’t close squarely may indicate twisting from side impact.
9)Dashboard lights,power windows,and other electronics with intermittent problems could be a sign of flood damage.
10)Dashboard air-bag indicator that doesn’t light up could mean the air bag was replaced improperly or wasn’t replaced at all after an accident.
11)Big dents,crunched fuel lines and pipes underneath are the easiest problems to find because rebuilders assume you won’t be looking there.
12)Uneven surfaces on frame components could be filler,seam sealer or welding beads.
13)Damaged/gouged nuts and metal on top surface of strut tower(which connects the front wheels to the frame)in engine compartment may mean the frame was realigned.
14)New metal on only one part of the bonnet apron shows section repair rather than replacement of the entire apron piece.
15)Welding bead anywhere on heavy frame members underneath the engine suggests frame-rail sectioning or sloppy repair of a cutout made in the rail to perform repair work.
16)Inconsistent welds around bonnet apron,door,door frame,or boot exemplify a non-factory weld.
17)Frayed safety belts or belt fibers that have melted together because of friction indicate a previous frontal impact above 15 mph.
18)Missing car emblem or name on trunk may mean a non-OEM part was used.
When shopping for a used car,the best protection is to have an independent mechanic look over the vehicle before buying.A mechanic will have the experience and tools to best assess a car’s true condition. Typically,a mechanic will charge a modest fee for the service,but the protection is well worth the investment.
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