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7 Ways to Discover if A Used Vehicle Has Been Wrecked

Luke Wallace Feb. 22, 2020

Sometimes those great looking used cars on the dealers lot are previously wrecked vehicles.   Buying a previously wrecked vehicle can turn your world upside down.  

Often times, that beautiful, “well-kept” car you see on a car dealer's lot, is actually a “well-hidden”, previously wrecked, vehicle.

Too often, vehicles that have been seriously wrecked are “repaired” to make the car look good, but fail to repair parts and components that are hidden safety items.  

Buying a vehicle that has been wrecked can result in costly repairs or even worse, it could jeopardize your safety. The majority of time it is impossible to restore a wrecked vehicle back to its original factory condition.  Keep the following points in mind about the dangers of a previously wrecked vehicle.

  • A bad repair is difficult to detect, until it causes additional damage weeks, months or even years down the road.

  • Hidden rust can be spreading throughout the undercarriage of a vehicle, undetected.

  • If an airbag and the proper sensors are not carefully installed by a certified and highly-trained factory representative, the airbags may not deploy properly, or they may deploy at the wrong time causing injury.

  • Damage to the frame of a vehicle compromises the integrity of the vehicle, which means your not as safe in an accident

  • Ongoing maintenance issues are a real concern. They can cost thousands of dollars in repairs and required time off work. Not to mention the emotional distress from having an unreliable vehicle.

Buying a previously wrecked vehicle is not worth the risks. You have no idea what you're getting yourself into.  There are too many unknowns. 

One way to protect yourself is to know what to look for so you can avoid buying a previously wrecked vehicle. 

  • Look for variations in the paint. If one panel looks shinier than others, or if the paint looks like a slightly different color, that is a sign the vehicle has been wrecked and repainted.

  • Look for paint overspray on the seals around the windows, doors, trunk and hood.

  • Look for misaligned body parts in the doors, fenders, hood, and trunk.

  • If the bolts and nuts on the vehicle appear like they have had a wrench used on them--scraped or scuffed, this is an indication of repair work. 

  • Take the vehicle to a reputable body repair shop and pay for a thorough inspection of the frame and other components of the car to try and detect any previous repairs

  • Check to see if the tires are showing unusual wear, a sign of misalignment or frame issue caused by an accident

  • When you test drive the vehicle have someone drive behind you in a separate vehicle to watch whether the vehicle “walks sideways” or “dog tracks”.  

If you discover that a vehicle you purchased was previously wrecked contact the lawyers at Humphreys Wallace Humphreys P.C. for help.  The lawyers at Humphreys Wallace Humphreys have recovered millions of dollars for clients who were defrauded by car dealers.