Should You Buy a Used Car That’s Been in an Accident?

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If you’ve been in an accident, you know the importance of immediate collision repair to preserve the integrity of the vehicle. But what about other people? Can you be assured that they have been taking good care of their car before they sell it to you? If you’re in the market for a used car, you may wonder if it’s wise to purchase a vehicle that’s been in an accident.

You may be familiar with services like CARFAX that provide reports on any used vehicle, such as past damage from an accident. There are a few factors that will determine if you should buy a car with past damage.

Severity of the Accident

Sometimes the CARFAX report will go into detail about the type and severity of the damage, such as “minor damage; vehicle was able to be driven away from the scene.” This could have involved just a small dent or some scratches. But if the report mentions major damage or that the car had to be towed away, this is more cause for concern.

However, take everything with a grain of salt. These reports aren’t always accurate or as detailed as we would like. This is why it’s important to have your mechanic check out any used car you’re considering, as a professional inspection is much more accurate in diagnosing past damage.

In choosing a mechanic for the inspection, it’s best if you take it to someone you trust, not someone the seller recommends. Your mechanic will be able to quickly identify a car that has had to undergo paintwork, as they can look underneath to reveal evidence of a past accident. But don’t panic if your mechanic says the car’s been in an accident before. After all, tens of thousands of cars are in accidents every year, and it doesn’t necessarily mean the results impair the vehicle – especially if the vehicle was repaired by a licensed and skilled professional.

Person Who Fixed It

Another factor that comes into play is who performed the auto body repair and the quality of that repair. It could have been a factory body shop associated with the automaker, or it could’ve been the lowest bidder who rushed through the job. Signs of shoddy workmanship include paint colors that don’t match or panels that don’t fit properly. More issues could be lurking underneath, which would take a qualified mechanic to check and diagnose.

That’s why it’s so important to choose an ASE certified mechanic, which is what we are here at Hance’s Uptown Collision Center. ASE stands for the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. We use a seven-step collision repair process that ensures quick yet thorough service through all stages, from damage assessment and body repair to paint refinishing and reassembly. With a process like this, your used car will maintain its integrity even after an accident.

Title Status

Determine the title status. In some states, a salvage title is issued to vehicles where the repair cost exceeded the present value. Or, a rebuilt title could be issued when the vehicle has been inspected by the state to meet stringent safety criteria.

Either way, a branded title stays with the car forever. You can’t alter a rebuilt title, which means the next buyer will find out about the accident.

Resale Value

If you decide to buy the car even after knowing it was in a major accident, if you ever go to sell it down the line, the next buyer will be able to find out the same thing. You may be paying less up front for the used vehicle now, but it may affect your resale value later on, making it harder to sell. Think about the resale value before you purchase a used car that’s been in a major accident.

There’s lots to think about before buying a used car, but just make sure you do your homework to avoid surprises later.

Contact Hance’s Uptown Collision Center

Hance’s Uptown Collision Center offers collision repair and inspections, so if you have a car in mind to purchase, bring it to us first for a look-see. We can tell you if it’s been in an accident previously, as well as the extent of the damage. Just contact us in Dallas or Plano to make an appointment.



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