What To Do Before Buying A Used Sports Car That Was In A Fender Bender

Posted on: 24 July 2019

When shopping for a used sports car, most driving enthusiasts won't settle for any car that isn't in pristine condition. However, you can save a ton of money by buying a model that was in a minor accident and needed a bit of body work.

If you shop carefully, you can find a great deal and get your hands on an upscale model that fits your budget and drives just as good as any model with a flawless record. The trick is to make sure the damage was merely cosmetic.

After all, this sports car will be your baby for years to come, so you don't want to be stuck with a poor-handling lemon.

Preliminary Research

Start off by looking up the car's vehicle history report. That will tell you what kind of accident it was in and how much damage was reported to the insurance company. It will give you an idea of what to look closely at when examining the car in person.

Next, ask the current owner for all records and receipts concerning the accident. Research the collision repair shop where the car was fixed and ensure they are well-qualified. If the owner doesn't have repair receipts, or if the shop has a subpar reputation with previous customers, those are major red flags that should turn you off from buying the car.

In-Person Inspection

The next step is to check out the car for yourself. Closely inspect the entire area that was affected by the accident. Look for signs of shoddy repair work: off-color paint matching, uneven body panels, and extensive use of body filler are all red flags that the car wasn't repaired properly.

If the car appears to be in tip-top shape, take it for a long and thorough test drive. Make sure the handling hasn't been impacted by the accident. Listen for squeaks, rattles, and any other unusual noises originating from the area that was damaged. If the damage was repaired properly, the car should be as quiet as it was from the factory and all of the body panels should be solidly bolted into place as to not shake or rattle at highway speeds.

Get a Professional Opinion

If the car still checks out after your own inspection, take it to a professional collision repair shop before you sign on the dotted line. Hire them to do a full inspection -- the cost will be minimal compared to the knowledge and peace of mind you receive. Collision experts have seen every level of damage and repair so they'll be far more capable when it comes to determining how much damage was caused and the quality of the repair workmanship.

More importantly, they'll be able to dig beneath the surface of the body panels, both physically and with their expertise. That will allow them to determine if more extensive damage was caused, such as a bent frame or suspension components. That's the type of damage that can ruin the nimble handling characteristics of a sports car, so you want to avoid it at all costs.