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How To Check if A Car Has Been Totaled Before

Buying a used car is like taking a calculated risk because while most of the times, your used car turns out to be a good bargain, there are equal chances of a landing with a car that is a total lemon. The recent spate of natural disasters in America has greatly increased the number of junked vehicles that are being put on the block today. While the law states that cars damaged and totaled by accidental collision, flood or fire damage should carry titles that state the same, a large number of unscrupulous businessmen are picking up cars from salvage yards, rebuilding them and then selling them off with new car titles. At other times, private owners whose cars have been greatly damaged but not junked are putting repaired cars on the lot without disclosing their true histories in order to get a price that is much more than the real value of their vehicle. As a used car buyer, it is extremely necessary for you to know how to check if a car has undergone large scale damage. Over here, we will tell you how to find out if a vehicle has been totaled in one of the three most common incidences that result in cars being declared a total loss by both owners and insurance companies.

Flood Damage: Major flooding in many parts of the country has made sure that a number of cars being sold off by auctions, dealers and private parties have undergone flood damage. One of the most conspicuous signs of flood damage in a car is new carpeting and upholstery. Beware the moment you see new carpeting or seats in a car that is less than five years old, because there is really no good reason for an owner to put in new soft furnishings in a not so old car. Signs of rust and molding on metal parts and machinery are other indicators of flood damage. Make sure that you remove the carpeting and check the car floor for mold and rusting. Rusty brakes are another thing to watch out for.

Fire Damage: Once again, the most prominent giveaway of a car being damaged by fire is new carpeting on the floor. This is because putting in new seats, seat covers and carpeting becomes a necessity after a car has been gutted. In almost all cases of fire damage, a vehicle will also need to be repainted, so if a three or four year old car does not carry its original factory paint, then you better start sniffing around. Signs of soot and unnatural coloring on parts under the bonnet or a newly painted engine are other giveaways.

Accidental Wreckage: If a car has been wrecked badly due to collision, then you can be sure that it has undergone body work before coming back into circulation. New paint and new parts are something that should always make you suspicious as a used car buyer. Signs of painting near window and door edges are a clear indication of repainting, but most sellers are clever enough to clean it up and you might require the use of a paint density checking device to find out if the paint coating is thicker than usual. Misaligned doors or windows and VIN numbers on different parts not matching are other things that should make you suspicious.

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