Can you find out if a car has been in an accident?

The accident history section of the CARFAX report provides a summary of any reported incident or damage to a car. This can include damage caused by collisions or extreme weather conditions, that is, anything that could affect the integrity and safety of the vehicle. Knowing the history of a used car is easy (and free). Several services offer an easy way to check if a car has been stolen, has been damaged by fire or flood, or has even had an accident.

In general, you'll need to have the vehicle identification number. But if you do, save yourself the hassle of buying a damaged car by doing a little simple research. Two of the best-known companies that offer vehicle history reports are AutoCheck and Carfax. Go to their website, type in the VIN of the car you want to get a history of the vehicle for, and the search will return the number of records found.

At that time, you have the option to purchase a single report for the vehicle or you can purchase unlimited reports for 30 days. The easiest way to tell if a used car has had an accident is to look for signs of repair. Even if the repair was successful, there are often tests, such as misaligned body panels. Look at the seams of the car where the bonnet attaches to the fenders and grille, where the trunk lid meets the rear corners, where the doors align.

Basically, walk around the car and follow the joints between each panel, looking for places where the space is clearly irregular or where a piece of sheet metal is not flush with adjacent pieces. These are signs that a panel is damaged, it is very difficult to repair or replace a car body part and make it look completely original. Even if the damage was relatively minor, such as a scratch or dent on a door, removing that panel breaks the factory sealant that protects against corrosion. As a consumer, by using the VIN, you can check if the car was stolen, crashed, if any flood damage was reported, if a rescue certificate was issued, and if there were any recalls of the vehicle.

Enter that number on the main page of the site and, in seconds, you'll get a very nice historical report that will tell you if there are any records of accidents, garbage, rescue and other insurance records on the car you want to buy. However, as with VinCheck, if you want to get a history report for a specific car, you'll still need the VIN number. This is where you can get a car dealer to provide you with a CarFax report for free, at least if you're seriously thinking about buying a car. Any of these signs are pretty much a clear indication that a used car has been damaged at some point in its useful life, and if you mention them to the seller, you might get a more honest answer.

That's a revealing statement that comes from a car dealer who, after all, is dedicated to selling cars. In case you're tempted to roll the dice and rely on the seller's words to learn the history of the car, keep in mind that you might have some headaches. The report also lists the number of recalls associated with all cars of that make, model and year, as well as where they are manufactured and even their body style. If you know the make, model and year, you will undoubtedly get a good general report on the vehicle, with information on fuel consumption, comfort, engine size and features, as well as a useful review that explains the advantages and disadvantages of the car.

In addition, CarFax can tell you if the car is a total loss (if the insurance company states that the car is a total loss), if the vehicle has been rebuilt, if it has suffered flood damage, and even if the airbag has ever been deployed. .

Joy Villenas
Joy Villenas

Total internet evangelist. Evil travel maven. Lifelong coffee specialist. General food guru. Unapologetic internet expert.