Car Hacks / Lifestyle

Signs A Second-Hand Car Has Been In An Accident

One of the biggest questions you may have is whether a car has been in an accident, when considering purchasing a second-hand car. Sometimes, owners may fix up the car extremely well such that the signs of accidents may not be obvious if we are unsure of what to look for.

Here are a few tell-tale signs that you should be wary of to discern if a car has been in an accident before.

Paint Inconsistencies

Source: justocker

When cars get into accidents, the most obvious sign of damage would be scratched paints and dents. Car owners would choose to get a paint job done to cover up the blemishes, but it is often not easy to find a matching paint colour and thus, there would be inconsistencies in the paint. Furthermore, a fresh coat of paint would cause the surface to be uneven, even if it is by a tiny amount. Hence, it is important to check if there are any uneven glimmers or surfaces in the paint.

Replaced Lights

Usually, headlights will turn hazy and get a yellowish tint over time. However, if you notice that one looks clear and pristine while the other does not, it could be a sign that the lights have been recently replaced due to it being smashed from an accident. You should also check for misaligned lights as a possible sign of replacement done from accident damage.

Misaligned Panels

Source: Performance Drive

Cars that have been in accidents would need to be fixed up by retrofitting new parts onto the car. The doors, boot, and bonnet should be perfectly flushed and consistent on both sides of the car. Feel the spaces between these gaps to check for unevenness and inconsistencies on either side. Additionally, the front and rear bumper should be straight – if you notice that it is at a slight angle, you should raise concerns about whether the car has been in an accident before.


(Related Story: The Ultimate Guide To Parallel Importers In Singapore)


Under The Surface Works

Sometimes accident works are past the top surfaces and require you to go down under to inspect. These include the underside of the bonnet, the rear of the car, as well as the boot. Here are some things you should take note of while looking for signs of irregularities:

  • Mismatched bolts
  • Re-drilled holes
  • Damaged radiator supports
  • Different coloured hinges
  • Patches of car body filler under the paint or on the inside panels


When cars get into accidents, it could sustain frame damage that, at first glance, is unnoticeable. However, frame damage greatly affects the comfort of your ride, and may cause persisting problems to arise in the future. Therefore, it is important to look for signs of “crabbing”, where the front and back wheels do not line up perfectly with one another. This is more obvious when the car is in motion and viewed from the front or rear. Ask the seller to reverse and drive back towards you while you get low and check for misalignments.

Abnormal Sounds

Source: Freepik

Sometimes, your sight and touch may not be discerning enough, and that is when you can use your other senses such as hearing. Listen for squealing of the wheels, or tapping and knocking metal in the engine. These may be signs of damage in the wheel or axle bearing, and a damaged piston. Odd noises when steering at full lock are also signs that a car may have gotten into an accident before.

It can be a hassle to manually inspect every second-hand car that you are interested in buying – so let us do the work for you! UCARS provides quality cars from the most well-established car dealers in Singapore that have been thoroughly checked for quality so that you can be assured when making your purchase with us.

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