Warning Signs that a Used Car is a Rebuilt Wreck

May 9, 2012

By Darrin Clouse:

Buying a used car has always been a risky business. Today more than ever, consumers can’t afford to take a chance on buying a lemon, and it may turn out that the used car you are looking at is more used than you might think.

A vehicle that appears to be in good shape, might be hiding a history of damages, and if you know where to look you can spot the telltale signs before getting swindled.

Here’s a list of the top 10 things to look for, according to a story on ConsumerReports.org:

1. Paint that chips off or doesn’t match indicates damage repair and poor blending.

2. Paint over-spray on chrome, trim, or rubber seals around body openings reveals that the adjacent panel was repaired.

3. Misaligned fenders suggest a poor repair job or use of non original equipment manufacturer (non-OEM) parts.

4. CAPA (Certified Automotive Parts Association) sticker on any part may indicate collision repair.

5. Uneven tread wear reveals wheel misalignment, possibly because of frame damage.

6. Mold or air freshener cover-up suggests water damage from a leak or flood.

7. Silt in trunk may mean flood damage.

8. Fresh undercoating on wheel wells, chassis, or engine strongly suggests recent structural repairs covered up.

9. Door that doesn’t close correctly could point to a door-frame deformation and poor repair.

10. Hood or trunk that doesn’t close squarely may indicate twisting from side impact.

An inspection by a certified, trustworthy mechanic is always the best defense , but you can save yourself the trouble if you are well -informed and privy to the warning signs of a rebuilt wreck.