Each year, 40 million used cars change hands in the United States.
When buyers are looking for a used car, the vehicle’s body is just as important as how it runs. The quality of your auto body is one of the major things potential buyers look at, but it can be difficult to assess it yourself.
We are here to help. Read on to learn what you need to look for when checking whether you have a quality auto body.
Straight out of the factory, every car should be uniform in color.
If any panels have ever been repaired, then there’s a good chance this is no longer the case. Even if the painters had the original paint codes, replicating the exact appearance is very difficult. It takes a lot of fine tuning to perfectly match the required tint.
Looking at the panels from a distance or at different angles can reveal subtle differences. Using a car wrap instead of repainting can guarantee a uniform color. If you have mismatched panels, talk to a car wrap installer about your options.
As cars age, it isn’t uncommon for the door hinges to start to wear out. Over time, this can cause the door to hang lower. This issue is most common on the driver’s door.
There are a few signs that this is happening.
Check where your doors hang when they are closed. If they’re not aligned with each other, then one of them has dropped. Small drops will cause rubbing sounds when the doors are opened or closed.
Feel how smoothly the door closes. If the locking mechanism no longer lines up with the striker on the door frame, it will be difficult to shut and open.
Panel Fit and Smoothness
A quality auto body will have body panels that fit together. Every panel should be flush with those next to it.
It’s easiest to compare this to the opposite side of the vehicle to see if they match. Any panels that are not flush suggest poor repair work or shoddy parts.
Even if the panels all line up, there may be problems with them. Check the way light is reflected by the panels. The only thing that should impact the reflections is the curve of the panel.
If you can see any unevenness in the reflections, then the body has probably received some collision repair.
Checking a Quality Auto Body
When it comes to assessing your auto body, a closer inspection is always worth it. Just because it looks good at first glance doesn’t mean that it perfect.
Slight variations in panel color and smoothness can stand out in the right conditions and can hit your resale value. After a close inspection, if your car is free of all of these issues, then you have a quality auto body.
If you’re in need of some car repairs, check out our guide to finding a reputable auto body repair shop. Not all repair shops are the same, so choosing the right one will help you avoid any of the issues we have discussed.