Used Cars With a Damage History: What to Do?

Most used car buyers start the shopping process fairly certain on their budget, and many have a good idea of the type of vehicle they’re looking for. A lot of shoppers assume they want a vehicle that’s never been in an accident, and sometimes get scared off if they discover the vehicle does have damage history.

Checking for damage
What many don’t realize is that damage history doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker, and if framed properly, can actually be an opportunity. The first step to knowing how to leverage damage history is to identify and assess the damage itself. Get a CARPROOF Vehicle History Report to learn about what has happened in the vehicle’s past. The report will also tell you about registration history, unfixed safety recalls, lien status and more, making it a key part of the Canadian used car buying process.

Using damage as an opportunity
If you’re one of the many used car buyers with luxury-brand taste on an economy-brand budget, finding damage in a vehicle’s history could be the opportunity you’ve been looking for. Damage history impacts vehicle value, even if the repairs were done perfectly. Just like anything you’d buy—think refurbished phone or laptop—a model that’s been damaged and repaired has a different value than one in its original condition. But if the damage has been repaired properly by a reputable source, the vehicle can still be perfect for you—and its history can allow you to get into a more premium model than you could have afforded otherwise. Remember that damage history impacts value, and keep this in mind during price negotiations to ensure you get a safe car at the right price.

Pre-purchase inspection
The key concept here is “as long as the damage has been repaired properly.” Getting an accident history report and asking the seller for all the information available about the accident and repairs is a great head start to determine if the vehicle is safe. Take the vehicle, the history report, and any anecdotal information you receive from the seller, to a reputable, licensed mechanic for a pre-purchase inspection. This will help the mechanic focus on the areas that need it most. They will check out the whole vehicle, focusing on the areas that have been repaired, and let you know if it’s in good working order.

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