I was recently at a dealer having my Honda Civic Hybrid evaluated for trade-in. They claimed I have frame damage. I have had rear end soft collisions that were repaired. The bumper is new but the car drives fine. How do I know if the care actually has frame damage or if the dealer is lying to reduce the trade in value?
Have it checked at a body shop. Frankly I would just consider it a bargaining trick. If you are wise you won’t worry about anything other than the total cost to you after all else is considered and make sure you get that number from at least two different dealers. Make them compete with each other.
Modern cars don’t have a frame, they are all uni-body construction.
Your car may well have frame or structural damage. The auto auctions that dealers sell at consider any re-welding of structural components to be frame damage. You can look at the invoices from the body work you had done to see what was replaced. The trunk and the rear bumper are the only rear components that can be replaced without welding. This does play a significant role in the value of the vehicle to a dealer, especially on newer cars. Many auctions now report frame damaged cars to Carfax and Autocheck, which makes it very hard to resell the car.
Spaceframe damage is checked to see if the vehicle was in a collision. The car may be fixed but the evidence will always be there and will affect the value. Body shops may not always correct all damage, especially if it is hidden. I have encountered this.
Seems quite reasonable to me since by your own admission it has been in more than one collision, soft or not. They can see evidence of damage, repaired or not, and that dimishes the value of the car. Put yourself in the position of a buyer considering two identical cars. One is your old car, the other is the same make/model/year/mileage and condition but has never been involved in any type of accident. They are priced identically. Which one would you buy? That is why they are offering less money due to the damage evidence. Of course, you can always go down the road a bit and shop your trade-in to another dealer if you think the offer is unfair.