How To Check A Used Car For The Signs Of Accident

By CarsFellow 6 Min Read

Are you willing to buy a used car? It is an affordable and wise decision only if you choose the right vehicle. Buying a second-hand car will not only save you a lot of money, but you can also get a car with more features in a reasonable amount.

But you need to check the car thoroughly before buying it, to determine the actual value of the vehicle. Scrutinizing the car for the signs of previous accidents will help you make a decision.

If the car had a significant accident before then, it could be risky buying it. As the vehicles that have been completely damaged before can not ensure the safety of a vehicle if not repaired poorly. And that type of vehicle can be an enormous problem for you on the road.

You can check a car for a previous accident by noticing the following things:

Check for Dodgy Paint Jobs

Check if the car is repainted somewhere. And the reflection of the paint will help you know that. Walk around the car to check if the color of all the panels matches or not, if it doesn’t, then you see some patchwork has been done.

Bumpers, door jams, or trunk, are the common areas where mismatched paint may appear if a car was involved in minor accidents.

Check for Panel Gaps

The panel gaps will determine whether the panels are original or they were replaced. See how the body panels fit together. The doors, trunk and the bonnet should be flush with other panels. If the panels are misaligned, it shows that the parts were replaced. And the car was involved in an accident.

Check for Crabbing

A person often sees frame damage for the signs of an accident. Crabbing could also determine if the car has been in any serious accident or not. Check for the signs of crabbing. Ask the seller to drive the car away from you and then towards you.

And get low on the ground and look at the alignment of tiers when moving. If the wheels do not line up 100 percent with each other and the car doesn’t drive straight, it shows the car has suffered from severe damage before.

Look for Welding Marks

There are cars in which most parts are welded together. So, look for the cutaway pieces that have been stitched together.

Mostly, such cars are eschewed as there is no absolute way to know if it was repaired by the best or not. Making it very hard to understand how effective it would hold if it encounters another accident.

Compare both Headlights

See if both headlights and taillights are similar to each other. If one headlight looks new and the other one looks old, that means a new headlight was installed lately. Is that a sign of an accident?

Check if there’s any moisture inside the headlight or taillight. It happens if there’s a crack through which water can penetrate it. Has that corner been hit?

Check the Bolts that Hold the Hood

Open the hood at the back of the car, and check for the bolt that holds it. If the bolts are rusty and have been tampered. It means that the hood was replaced or moved from its original position due to some accident.

Look for Peeling-off Paint or Rust Damage

Peeling-off color is another indication of the poor paint job. And it could be a trouble for you later on. And if the car has any rust damage, it can be a problem as there’s no permanent solution for it. As, once the rusting starts, it can only be stopped temporarily.

Look for any Cracks in the Windshield

A break in a windshield is another sign of an accident. Even if there is a tiny crack in it, immediately ask the seller to replace the windshield as it will only increase sooner or later. Don’t use it as a bargaining tool and ask to get it repaired on the seller’s expense.

Check for Strange Sounds

If the vehicle produces any kind of unusual sounds when driven, it might be an indication of disruption in the engine or car.

Check if the brakes are okay or not. Try to hear any knocking, tapping, or metal to metal slap from the engine. It might indicate the damaged piston.

Avoid Formerly Flooded Cars

A history report will reveal any previous flood damage. And the flood also leaves level marks of dirty water at some places. Look for it and avoid buying such cars for your good.


As it is said that ‘prevention is better than cure,’ all the necessary research is mandatory before buying a used car. Only buy it if you’re delighted with the condition of the vehicle.

It is not recommended to buy an accident car. Because for an average buyer, it’s difficult to tell if the vehicle was repaired to its best condition or was just patched up for a quick sale.  So choose the car wisely.

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