I am thinking about buying a used car. One has low miles but has been in a fender bender (clean title), the other car has no accidents but much higher miles. Which one is better?
P.S. - The fender bender was not on the carfax report - does this matter?
JTS, you give so little info than any answer is a guess. In general a “fender bender” isn’t a big deal, but the paint (or repainting) of the affected area won’t hold up as well. In time you might be able to tell the area repainted from the factory original paint.
If the frame is not damaged, the car in the accident can be acceptable. It really depends on the extent of the damage. As for the mileage difference, it depends on the unstated mileage difference. Tell us the years, models, and mileage of the cars and we might have a better idea.
Both cars should have an inspection before purchase. A friends Saturn was sandwiched, The car looked in fine shape but was totaled due to frame damage.
The “fender bender” car is a 2007 mitsubishi eclipse with 42000 miles on it. It looks to me that the front quarter panel and fender has been replaced. The higher mileage car is also a 2007 mitsubish eclipse. It has 63000 miles on it and is about $1500 dollars more than the other car.
For a 2007 (which could be as old as August 2006), both cars are “low miles.” If the clean one (the one without the previous accident) checks out ok after a good inspection, for $1500 more it’s a no brainer.
I would not worry about the fender bender at all. Get them both check out and make an offer based on that. Todays paint will holdup as good or better than factory paint. Cars come from the factory/dealer repainted all the time. I used to work repairing them for a dealer.
Its just a myth that cars always have un-repairable frame damage and will never be right. I will say this again unibody cars/trucks are made to be repaired.
Drive both cars and see how they handle. If you can’t find a difference, then you might want to get the lower miles car checked to see if it it OK by a trusted mechanic that knows you want a prepurchase inspection. Expect to pay a couple hundred for the evaluation.
My 2000 Blazer was in a fender bender before I bought it in Feb 03. The dealership did the repair and showed me the paperwork. The bumper and left fender were replaced, no frame damage. Nine years later the paint is fading on the top of the door, but no other issues. I was lucky enough to see the paperwork before I bought it.