The January, 2023 edition of Consumer’s Reports has an article on watching out for abused used cars.
We thought this information would be helpful to our clients so I’m reviewing the basis of it here.
Four types of damage that often doesn’t get reported on the Title of through a vehicle history report are highlighted.
Flooded cars; Crashed cars; Fire-damaged cars; and Stolen cars.
Flooded cars typically result from natural disasters such as hurricanes. Look for evidence of water
damage and trapped water including a mildew-like smell, rusted screws, evidence of a water line or
fasteners that look newer than the rest of the car.
Crashed cars could have poor repairs and the impact could have affected the car’s structural integrity.
Look at the body panels to see if the color or texture is different anywhere. Faulty electronical switches,
like a window, can be a sign of an impact that wasn’t properly repaired.
Fire-damaged cars can cause damage to a vehicle’s structural, mechanical, and electrical parts. Look for
hood or body panels that are different in color, new paint in the engine compartment or mismatched
interior parts. Inspect the glass for cracks and weather stripping for melting.
Stolen cars need to be investigated so that you have some idea of how long it was stolen and what was
done with it. If vandalized or driven to extremes, there could be suspension, structural, mechanical of
electrical damage. As with other damage, look for mis-matched components and signs of repair
and watch for driving wobbles on a test drive.
Whether you know the used vehicle has had a problematic past or not, the best advice is to have a
mechanic give the vehicle an inspection before your buy it.