I have well over 20 years of experience purchasing cars and trucks at wholesale auctions all over the Southwest. These auctions are fast moving and the auctioneers are trained, well trained, to maximize the amount the wholesale buyers pay and keep the buyer’s attention off obvious and not so obvious imperfections. They additionally have the vehicle in and out of the sale lane in less than 20 seconds.
My desire in the following blogs is to teach you how to look at your next used car or truck like a wholesale buyer.
Blog number one: Looking for non-factory paint and previous damage.
I want to share six fool proof points you can apply to determine if the used car you are looking at has been repainted or in an accident?
1. Has it been in an accident or repainted? In this day and age, most buyers depend exclusively on CarFax or AutoCheck to determine if a vehicle has been in an accident. As the old saying goes, if I had a buck for every vehicle I saw that had signs of being in an accident with no CarFax or AutoCheck disclosure, I’d be a rich man. In my ever so humble opinion, Carfax and AutoCheck act as car purchasing placebos lulling people into uniformed decisions. So, rule number one: Use Carfax and AutoCheck only during the initial stage to see if an accident has been reported. If you still like the vehicle, use a negative report to lower the price during negations.
2. Once you find your car, run your fingers along the edge of the hood by the windshield. If you feel a rough edge the hoods been repainted. This may require practice. Normally, it is very obvious.
3. Open the hood and the driver’s door and look for original factory stickers. Under the hood, you want to see if the engine sticker (amongst other stickers) is on the hood. When looking inside the door, make sure the VIN sticker (amongst others) is either in place on the door or door jam. If any of these items are missing, it’s a good indication of an accident.
4. Open the gas door and look for signs of over spray. Rarely in a body shop is the paint overspray in this area removed.
5. Feel the edge of the trunk by the rear windshield and check for a rough edge. Body shops rarely smooth the edges off as the eye does not pick up on this and they don’t want to take of the hood or trunk to smooth it out because insurance companies will not reimburse this additional work.
6. Run your fingers on the roof of the vehicle where the roof trim is. A rough edge indicates paint work.
I just shared a few of the many practices used when buying cars at the fast-moving auction. Apply these practices along with other techniques to make sure you know what you’re buying and that you’re buying at the right value if it does show signs of an accident.