What you should know about structural integrity
Before you buy any vehicle, it is always wise to have an expert check it out. The engine isn't the only item to consider before purchasing a used car. The condition of the frame and body are just as important because proper frame and body repairs can often cost more than the vehicle is worth and improper repairs could be structurally unsafe. That's why it's important to find out if repairs were made and if they were made correctly.
Ask about the vehicle's accident history.
- Has the vehicle ever been in an accident?
- If so, what was the damage and who fixed it?
- Is the auto body shop that repaired the vehicle registered with the Bureau of Automotive Repair or collision repair industry associations?
Has the vehicle's certificate of title (pink slip) been labeled "salvage"?
"Salvage" means an expert has determined the cost to properly repair the vehicle is more than its value. This usually happens after the vehicle has been in a serious accident.
- Is the advertised price of the car less than other cars of the same type and year? Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Be a smart consumer.
Before you take the car to an auto body expert, examine the vehicle's "fit and finish." Here are some items you can check:
Is there paint over spray or primer in the doorjambs, trunk, or engine
These are signs that the vehicle has had body repair.
- Do the doors shut properly?
Do the keys open all the door and trunk locks?
If not, the doors and trunk lid may have come from different vehicles.
Check with a qualified auto body expert.
Not all salvage vehicles are bad -- properly repaired salvaged vehicles can be a safe and sound investment. As a consumer, you need to know what you're paying for. By using these tips to help you select your vehicle, you can makean informed choice and put yourself in the driver's seat.
By taking the car to a qualified auto body expert before you decide to buy,you may be saving yourself a lot of trouble and money down the road.
Below are symbols to look for when choosing a professional auto body shop.
For referrals, call the
California Auto body Association