Should I buy an awesome car with accident history?
March 15, 2012 8:05 PM Subscribe
This car is totally pimped out, has really low mileage, and a really low sticker price. It's also been in a severe accident. Should I buy it?
posted by Jade_bug to Travel & Transportation (36 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
So, the car is a 2007 Honda Fit Sport Hatchack, automatic, with a vtech engine. It has 62,800 km on it. It's a private sale off Kijiji, and they're asking for $8,100.
The car is full of cool gadgets - the sellers clearly put some love into their car. It comes with a mounted GPS/CD/DVD player screen. Plus they've mounted a larger mirror on top of the original rear view mirror, added lights to the license plate and to the radio antenna and added decorative frames to the license plates. Plus it has tinted windows, power locks, power windows, keyless entry.
I don't know much about cars, but the test drive went well. It gets up to speed quickly, stops on a dime, the inside looked clean and well-cared for. There were some minor paint chips, plus the classic key-scratch all around the car, but other than that things looked good.
This car is the second owner, they've had it for about 8 months. When I asked if it had been in any accidents, they said they hadn't had problems, but they didn't know about the previous owner. They gave me the VIN and I looked up the Carfax. According to the Carfax, it had been in a "severe accident involved left front impact", but the airbags did not deploy and there was no structural damage reported.
After test driving the car, I went and bought the Carproof. The "damage claim" was $11,593.00, and the "estimate" was $13,588.00, for 02/04/2010. The car is registered as normal in Ontario, and I didn't see any other issues in either report.
According to the owners, they need to sell the car ASAP because they're been a family emergency back home, and they need the money, and that's why they've listed it for so cheap. They said they bought it for $11,000, which is consistent with Kelley Blue Book data. Plus their dad (the owner) doesn't drive much and the son just bought a car so they don't really need it. They've had it listed on Kijiji for maybe a week, and they said that I'm the first one to test drive it.
They seem like decent guys. They told me about all the cool gadgets but they weren't pushy or slimy or smooth, just kind of quiet. So part of me thinks that if they were more confident in sales they'd ask for more.
So, if I'm not totally nuts to take a car with that much previous damage, the plan is to take it to a mechanic for a pre-purchase inspection, ask his opinion, and if that checks out, I'll buy the car. But I wanted the opinion of the hive mind before I spend $100 on an inspection.
What does that amount of damage mean?
Oh, and I forgot to mention - I really want this car!
I also want something safe and reliable. Thoughts?