About one in six used cars has been involved in an accident. If you do not want to purchase a car that has been in an accident, you will have many options to choose from. However, the best-priced cars often will have been in accidents. This doesn't mean you shouldn't consider the car, but you should consider the type of accident the car was involved in.
Have You Looked at the VIN History Report?
To determine whether you should consider the car, you should get a free VIN history report (from a company such as Instavin). You will not only learn about past accidents the car was involved in, but you will also learn about any maintenance problems the car might have.
Was the Car Totaled?
If a car has been almost totaled, it may have been reconstructed to the point where it can be driven. However, even the best mechanics will not necessarily be able to completely fix the car without some defects. This may cost you a significant sum of money in repairs down the road.
Was the Car Totaled or Did it Suffer Major Damage?
When looking at a history report, look for words such as "major damage" or that the car was towed away from the site. Both of these can indicate significant damage and even if you are saving a lot of money with the car, you will be spending a lot to have it regularly serviced.
Was it a Fender Bender?
On the other hand, the damage from the accident might be something as minor as a dent or some broken lights. If you have the vehicle history report and you discover this, you may be able to save some money while driving a car that is essentially as good as an accident-free car.
Did You Have it Inspected?
Regardless, you should have the car thoroughly inspected for any damage or other potential maintenance problems so that you can make an informed decision when purchasing the car. The mechanic may also give you an opinion on whether you should purchase the car.
Have You Seen the Repair Records?
You should ask for repair records. Otherwise, there is a risk that the car has not been serviced well enough. On the other hand, if the repair records are very detailed, this not only shows that the dealer took maintenance seriously, but also that the dealer is not trying to hide anything.
Find out who fixed the car after the accident. Was it a highly reputable company that fully restored the car to close to its original state or was the car given a quick fix so that it could be sold to a car lot. Even if the car had minor damage, if it wasn't properly repaired, you will definitely want to pass on it.