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How to Check a Car for Damages After an Accident

If you want to buy a car but you know that it has been involved in an accident, then you'll know how important it is to give the whole thing a good check-over. By doing this you can find out if there is any hidden damage and you can also find out if there is anything you can do to get the price lowered as well. If you have been in an accident with your own car then this guide is also a great way for you to find out how much damage has been done.

Get a Vehicle History Report 

If you are buying a car then it is so important that you are able to obtain a vehicle history report. You need to make sure that you get a full report wherever possible as this will give you the chance to try and find out who is listed as being on the car, what types of claims have been made and even how they affected the vehicle in general. The best thing about a car vehicle report is that it tells you where to look on the car as well, so that you can always know where the damages are even if they are not listed as being in the description.

Bumper Cracks 

If you are unable to get an accident report for whatever reason then one thing that you can do is examine the top and bottom end of the vehicle. You need to look out for any cracks or any areas that have been patched over. Fenders and bumpers are very fragile and when a car is involved in a collision this is often the first thing to show damage. This is because they are made out of plastic or lightweight material, so if you know that the fender or the bumper has some damage then you may want to try and look at the other areas of the car as well, just to make sure that nothing is being covered up. If the seller is transparent with any minor damages, you might be able to figure out the cost of repainting a car. Bob Robinson has a short guide on BestOfMachinery for this. 

Check the Windshield  

It’s also important that you look at all of the windows. This includes the ones that are at the back as well, as this can let you know if the car has been in an accident in the past. It’s important that you look out for any chips, cracks or even webbing as well. If you do see signs of damage here then this is a huge indicator that more serious damage is present because it does take quite a large impact in order to cause damage to the windshield.

Car Body Lines 

Crouch down at one end of the car and make it so you are eye-level with the car body. You then need to look along the main line of the car body. You have to make sure that this is straight and that the car paint reflects normally. If you notice that this is not the case then it may be that the car has been repainted or that the sides of the car have been hammered out. In some instances it may even be that the sides have been replaced and if this is the case then this is usually due to a side-on collision. If the damage has been dealt with already then you may have nothing to worry about, but it is worth enquiring to find out if there is anything else you should know.  

Examine the Door Panels and Gaps 

It’s important that you look between all of the gaps between the doors and that you also look at the door panels that are adjoining as well. The gaps that are present should be straight and they should also be an even width apart from each other as well. When you look at this, make sure that you look at it from top to bottom and that you also take into account the spacing. A car that has been in an accident in the past will probably be misaligned here because the panels may have to be replaced. This doesn’t indicate that there has been some really serious damage, but it is a sign that the car has been in an accident in the past, so this should be taken into account. If you have been in an accident in the past or if you have been injured in a road accident then it’s important that you chat with a lawyer to see if they can help you out.


Filler Spots 

You need to run your palm down the side of the body panels. When you do this, you can then run your hand around the corners of the fender and even the bumper as well. When you do this you will be able to feel for any filler spots. This is a great way for you to find out if the car that you are looking at has been in an accident before and it is also a great way for you to get a better idea of the car you are buying. 

Check for Clamp Marks  

Another thing that you should do is check for clamp marks. This indicates that at some point or another, the car has been on a frame machine so it will have sustained some amount of damage. You should also check along the side of the car for any other marks as well as this will really help you out in the future. After all, you don’t want to be spending too much on a car that has been in an accident as it may not be worth that much.


There are so many things that you can do to try and get a better idea of the car that you are looking at and you’d be surprised at how much the above tips can help you if you are buying your very first car as well. These tips are also a fantastic way for you to find out if the car you are looking at is actually worth the money.


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