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Buying a used car? Look out for damage

If you’re thinking of buying a used car, it’s important to know what you’re letting yourself in for. You need to do all the necessary checks on the car’s history, previous owners and whether it has ever been written off for any reason. But the thing people often overlook is paintwork scratches and bumper scuffs to car bodywork. There is an assumption that any scratches or dents will have been repaired by the garage, but that’s not always the case.

We recommend going around the vehicle and inspecting the bodywork to spot any damage yourself. If not, it could be weeks before you notice any scrapes to the paintwork, during which – especially at this time of year – water and gritting salt are making their way into the scuff potentially causing the metal to rust. Always take your time checking, we think the following five points are the best place to start;

  • Bumpers – This is the area where the ‘car park bumps’ will most likely be. Many people accidentally scrape other cars, bollards or posts when navigating a parking space and won’t even be aware they’ve done it.
  • Doors – Often carelessly scratched by bags and trolleys or dinged by neighbouring car doors. Most of this kind of damage will just be paint from other vehicles, but occasionally it will scratch or dent the paintwork. In our experience, the best way to see if there’s an ‘invisible’ ding on the door is to crouch by the bumper with your cheek parallel to the vehicle. This will show up any small dents easily.
  • Alloy wheels – They often take the brunt of our parking mishaps and parallel parking is the main culprit.
  • Around key hole and handle – Either caused by fumbling for the lock in the dark, or the previous owner opening the car door with their keys in their hand. We’d recommend feeling the area and if you can feel an indentation, it will need a full repair. If not, the paintwork may not be damaged and should polish out.
  • Wing mirrors – if the car has regularly been parked on busy streets, wing mirrors can be dinged quite regularly.

If you do find any damage to paintwork, ask questions about it and don’t be afraid to use any scratches as a bargaining tool for getting money off the vehicle.

If you’ve already purchased a vehicle and have only just noticed some scratches, or have simply spotted some dents on a car you’ve had for a while, it’s not the end of the world – we can give you a free no obligation quote for the repairs. Go to our Contact page to find out how to get in touch.

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