If you plan to buy a car at a used car lot, a car auction, or through an individual, it is unlikely that you will get completely honest answers to all your questions. So, what can you do? Well, certainly, don't despair!! Let me give you several weapons that you can use against the automobile industry.
Get A Paint Meter
With one of these paint meters, you can detect paintwork or factory original tape. It will also show bondo-body puddy or replaced metal. And very few car salesmen will even know what you have!! At the very least, the salesman's eyes will bug out when you ask him why the car you are interested in was painted. Was it because of an accident or just repainted to make it look good.
Remember that 99% of all salesmen do not know what goes on behind closed doors - otherwise known as the business end of the auto business. They are there simply to sell a car for every penny that they can squeeze out of the public buyer.
Why do I suggest that you get a paint meter? Because repainting a car is a very prolific practice in the auto business. I can not prove it, but if I had to make a guess how many cars sold to the open market via dealership have paint work done to them, I would guess at LEAST 40%. Every week, I personally see thousands of cars lined up at the "paint shop" to be repainted. This "paint shop" is located on the auction grounds and is otherwise known as the recon-facility.
Not every car is being fully repainted. Most are having their bumpers repainted. It makes sense to have the bumpers repainted because, though the rest of the car is flawless, the bumpers are often scratched up pretty badly. Next time you visit a dealership, notice how many of the bumpers are flawless - not a scratch on them even though the car is three years old.
The problem comes in with the dealers. Many retail dealers have the audacity to lie and claim that their cars are original. And people believe them because the work is just too nice to have been repainted. Do you know what the average price is to have these bumpers repainted? A mere $200. Perceived value by the public and exploited by the retail dealers? Thousands of dollars.
Well, if you have a paint meter, then you will know the truth. So, what is my policy on repainted vehicles? If the car was properly repainted and done so professionally - a factory repainted process - then I have no problems buying the car. A professional paint job would make the car look the way it did the day it rolled off the assembly line.
The point of the paint meters is to give you more inside information than what Carfax discloses. Just because it does not show up on Carfax does not mean that the car is free of any negative history.