Checking for Car Body Repairs on a Used Car

Check for Paint Repairs

If you are considering buying a used car it is important to know the history. Basic checks can be made with a cheap HPI check through the AA or other organisations. The problem with this is that those reports cannot tell you if the vehicle has been damaged if the damage is unrecorded. This is not necessarily an issue if the repairs are carried out professionally but here are some tips to allow you to check for yourself the results of any shoddy car paint repairs

Chipped or Peeling Paint are easy giveaways. They are indications of poor adhesion and a strong signal that the whole panel has been repaired badly and you run the risk of the damaged area worsening and widening. This type of damage is usually due to either primer not being applied, or being applied incorrectly, or the lack of use of an adhesion promoter when it was necessary. Whatever the reason it is a sign of poor repair work and you would have to wonder what else has been hidden. The only way to repair this is to completely strip and repaint the affected area.

Specks in the paint are another clear sign that the area has been repainted. Either in the paintwork itself or in the lacquer, the specks will feel slightly bumpy under your fingers and is a very good indication that the painting has not been carried out under factory conditions. While not a major problem on its own, assuming there are only a few mostly unnoticeable specks, it will allow you to ask the owner about the undisclosed repaint.

Appearances of rings in the bodywork are a sign of the use of a rotary sander under the painted area. The rings may appear as circular scratches going in the same direction and can appear as a sunken area in the lacquered finish. No factory finish would ever have marks like this and can confirm the existence of previous repair work.

The edges of a panel have a very different appearance after they have been repainted. Whilst a factory finished panel will have a smooth, rounded feel and look, a repainted edge often looks and feels sharper and dryer. It is very difficult to replicate the factory finish on an edge so this sign is not necessarily the sign of a poor repair, simply the sign that a repair has been carried out.  

And finally…

A special blend product used on the lacquered repair area is very often used to localise a repair as much as possible. The blend is usually applied along a soft edge on the bodywork like a ridge in the middle of a door or else the blend is used on the least visible area of a repair, like by the number plate on a bumper.. The use of blend allows a repair to be carried out very economically, avoiding a complete respray of the affected part. It is possible to see the blend area by looking at the body work in lit conditions and moving your head from side to side to observe the reflection. You will be able to see the lacquer taper off and look slightly bumpy.

The above signs that a car has had car body repairs carried out are not exclusive but are certainly a good place to start looking.