Are you getting behind the wheel of an unfamiliar car for the first time? Before driving off, it might be wise to inspect the vehicle first for signs of an accident. Why? Well, your personal safety should always be of the utmost importance and driving a previously-damaged vehicle could jeopardize it. As they say, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Here are 7 signs a car has been in an accident before.
1. Visible Damages
Walk around the car a couple of times and inspect it for any major dings or scratches. Damages such as these are a clear indication that a car has been in an accident before.
Although these damages can be easily repaired, they should leave an obvious mark on the vehicle. If in doubt, it’s always best to clarify with the owner or have a look at the vehicle’s history report.
2. Different Paint Colour
To identify this, you might want to expose the car to natural sunlight. Once done, you should be able to spot any colour inconsistencies on the car body.
If a vehicle has an inconsistent coat of paint, it might have been repaired and repainted after an accident. Alternatively, car parts like the door or bumper could also have been replaced and repainted to match the rest of the car body.
3. Mismatched Parts
Spare car parts are costly and can be difficult to replace after an accident, especially for older vehicles. If a replacement part can’t be found, third-party components might be used as a temporary fix to the problem. If you find a part on a car that doesn’t match the rest of the body (headlights, bumpers, airbag cover, etc.), you might want to question this irregularity before getting behind the wheel.
4. Panel Gaps
As mentioned earlier, third-party parts might be used to fix a damaged car for cheap. This might result in panel gaps on the body, which can make it difficult for you to close a car’s door, boot, or hood.
In addition, car panels won’t be easily aligned back after an accident. Panels should have minimal gaps between them and should be aligned to make the car as streamlined and aerodynamic as possible. For those unaware, this helps with fuel consumption.
5. Excessive Welding
In the event of an accident, especially a major one, you have the choice to scrap or repair your car. Should you choose to repair it, the simplest way to do so is to remove the damaged part and weld a new piece back on.
Similarly, should you see excessive welding marks on a car, it probably means it has been in an accident before. Remember to question it or just avoid the car all together.
The latter is usually recommended, since you won’t know how good a job the welding was. In addition, you won’t know how well the repaired car will stand up to a subsequent accident, should you have one.
6. The Car Doesn’t Drive Straight
This is probably one of the most dangerous signs of a car that has been in an accident before. The worst part is, you won’t realise this problem until you’re on the road. Therefore, it’s crucial that you always insist on a test drive first.
This problem is usually due to a massive accident that damaged the chassis. A realignment of the chassis should have been done, but shoddy workmanship is always possible.
7. Uneven Tyre Wear
Of course, this could be due to a simple puncture on one of the tyres. However, a bent chassis (like from the previous point) can place uneven pressure on the tyres, resulting in a certain side wearing out quicker than the other.
Another problem that causes uneven tyre wear is a botched suspension job, coming from a modification or a repair. Tyres are a big part of the car, so you should pay close attention to the issues related to it.
Apart from you examining the car yourself, it’s highly recommended to have the car evaluated by a professional. Options you have include reputable workshops or vehicle inspection centres like STA, JIC or VICOM.
Instead of buying a used car with all the risks that come with it, why not rent a car instead? With over 30 years of experience, ETHOZ is one of the most established car rental companies in Singapore. With a wide range of vehicles readily available, you’ll be able to find a car to suit every budget and need. To ensure the safety of all their customers, every rental vehicle must pass a strict and thorough quality check, which is conducted by experienced mechanics in their own workshop facility.
This article was written by Motorist.sg.
Founded in 2015, Motorist.sg is an AutoConcierge platform that assists drivers with vehicle transactions. Our services include car valuation, selling of cars, COE renewal and car scrapping. Since our inception, we have successfully assisted over 7,000 drivers in Singapore and have transacted over $100 million worth of vehicles. Download the Motorist App today to enjoy our comprehensive suite of free motoring tools.