How much can a mechanic tell?


So the wife and I are looking at buying a used Audi A4 Avant. Low miles, has the options we want and good price. Problem is that Carfax says that car was involved in a front end collision a few years back. Says that the air bag did not deploy but doesn’t show the severity of the damage. If we take it to a mechanic how much can they tell about the accident?

They should be able to see major problems, but other issues could be hard to find. Why bother? Something showing up on Carfax is an automatic ‘no-go’ to me. Find another one.

Our initial inclination was to pass on it. I just wish that more wagons were available in the US.

I agree with Texases. You’re smart to keep looking. Audi does not have a stellar reliability reputation anyway. Having been in an accident, all bets are off.

Walk away from this car. You don’t want it.

I, too, wish there were more wagons available, but that’s not enough to make me look at cars with known crash damage.

If the collision damage is in, or in front of the passenger cabin, I would pass on any used car.

I owned a car one that was in a front end collision - it became a money pit after the “professionals” fixed it thoroughly. The AC lines broke within 6 months, the head gasket went out barely 1 year later, and it just seemed as if the car wanted to give up and take a free ride to the crusher based on all the little issues that arose afterward.

I have one time purchased a car that was in a collision involving the rear quarterpanel, but this was many years after the collision, a very well done repair and paint job, and having a professional mechanic that I hired go over the car thoroughly. They found no other issues, but this accident did serve to help me wheedle $400 off of the purchase price.

More often than not, damage to the integrity of the frame or unit body will be evident to anyone familiar with automobile chassis. And the cost of repairing severe damage so totally as to be undetectable would cost more than the car would be worth. Severely damaged cars are usually cut up and parted out. A good body man should be able to lift a car and remove the wheel wells and bumper fascia and recognize any damage and repair work. It is often very obvious on the strut towers and control arm attaching points. A heavy layer of rubberized undercoating over uneven surfaces is telling, also.