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How to determine if a vehicle has been in an accident

Buying a second hand vehicle is an exciting process. Even though the vehicle isn’t brand new from the showroom floor, it is still new to you.

Beginning the search for a second hand vehicle typically starts by browsing online. 

A visit to a car dealer can help narrow down what make and model you like.

So many decisions to make.

What colour? What size engine? Manual or Auto, petrol or diesel?

And the most important detail, how much am I able to spend?

One of the most daunting things about buying second hand vehicles is that there is no trust in the market.

There is a stigma in the automotive industry of greasy car salesmen and the fear of buying a lemon.

How do you determine if it is a good buy?

vehicle Pre-Purchase Inspection is highly recommended, especially if you are not car savvy

You can ask a mechanically minded family member/friend to come with you on road tests.

The vehicle may have mechanical issues that you can negotiate the price down to compensate for their repairs.

Avoid pouring money into a vehicle you have just paid good money for.

If a vehicle has been in a serious accident, it may cause costly issues later on.

Here are some of the things that indicate that the vehicle has been in more than a fender bender.

Paint

  • The colour of the whole car has been changed. Check door jams and engine bays for colour variances. Most vehicles will have the engine bay painted at the time of reprint. Check underneath carriage for overspray.
  • Variances in the paint from panel to panel. It takes a professional to be able to colour match perfectly when respraying a panel that has been damaged or replaced. More often than not you will be able to tell if you are in the right light and angle to see the difference. Do not inspect a vehicle at night. Always find a time of day with the best possible lighting.
  • Look under the vehicle for evidence of overspray of undercoat. If there is spray under the vehicle of grey or black then you know that there have been paint repairs done to the vehicle.

Replaced parts

  • If a bonnet or boot has been replaced typically only the top will be colour matched  leaving the underneath black. The original boot or bonnet would have the same colour on both the top and underneath the boot or bonnet.
  • New suspension parts on  only one side at the front of the vehicle indicates a possible side impact

Other Indicators

  • When opening and closing the doors on the vehicle, take particular notice if the door doesn’t line up correctly with the frame when closing.

 

  • If there is any exposed wiring from under the dash or in the door trims ask questions immediately. Look for zip ties in the wiring, which is a sure indicator that something has been repaired and you need to check who has done the work.

PPSR/Car History Reports

 Car History Reports will note if an insurance/police reported accident. 

Accidents not recorded would be for example: the vehicle owner has an accident but never claims it through their insurance

That is why looking for these key indicators is how you are going to be able to protect yourself from buying the unknown.

Run these reports yourself.

There is an option on these reports to un-tick the insurance box so any insurance claims do not come up on the report.

It is known that car dealerships will leave this off the report if it is not in their favour.

Other sections of this report will assist you in your buying decision. Are there any financial encumbrances (Money Owing), Repairable write-off status and any Reported Stolen Status?

If in doubt, always engage a professional for a Pre-Purchase Inspection.

It is better to spend a couple of hundred dollars and be certain than take the risk that could cost you thousands.

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