How To Find Out If A Used Car Has Had Major Body Work


If you are in the market for a used car, you will want to be sure that you find one that hasn't been in a major collision. Sellers are required to disclose past collision repairs. However, not all sellers are aware and sadly, not all are honest. Cars that have had significant damages may be unsafe, and hard or impossible to insure.

Auto body and repair shops do fantastic jobs at repairing vehicles. It's not always possible to see past damages unless you are a trained mechanic. Luckily there are some steps you can, and should take before buying a used vehicle.

Visual Inspection

When you find a vehicle you are interested in, you can do a visual inspection to see if anything looks suspicious.

  • Check all the doors to see if they line up correctly when closed. There shouldn't be any gaps, and the door should be in alignment with the body of the vehicle. Gaps or misalignment may indicate that the door has been repaired or replaced.
  • Stand at the rear of the car and crouch down looking up the side of the vehicle. The vehicle should line-up without bowing out or denting in. The frame of the vehicle should be straight. Check both sides, the front, and rear for any signs of misalignment.
  • Look closely at the vehicle's paint job. If there has been an accident, chances are one section of the car was painted, and you may see a slight variation in the color.
  • Check the front and rear windshields. See if they show any unusual signs that may indicate past repairs.

Have the Car Inspected by a Professional

It is common practice for a potential buyer to bring a mechanic with them, or take the car they are interested in to be inspected. If you or the mechanic suspect that the vehicle may have been involved in an accident, have an auto body shop inspect it too.

Obtain Reports

There are companies that provide vehicle history reports either for free or a small fee. It is a good idea to order a history report or have the seller provide you with one. You will need the vehicle's VIN in order to obtain these reports. The VIN can be found engraved on a metal plate on the dashboard, driver's side.

Vehicle history reports for cars in Canada can be obtained from:

  • CarProof a company based in Ontario, Canada.
  • CarFax based in the United States.
  • In British Columbia, the IBC can provide vehicle history.

Making sure you are purchasing a used car that is safe, insurable, and reliable is going to save you time and trouble. Again, be sure to solicit the advice of professionals like Freeway Auto Body Ltd before you buy.


15 May 2015

what you need to know about tinting car windows

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