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How to talk about past accident damage to private buyer or dealer

Hi all,
I’m a newbie, so I beg for your kindness :slight_smile: This community seems to have a lot of great expertise.

I’m getting ready to sell my 2005 Toyota Matrix (XR AWD) as it no longer meets my needs. My problem is, I am not sure how I should frame the disclosure of body work that has been done on the car. The car was hit in a front-end (offset to the passenger side) deer collision less than a year ago. The insurance claim was about $3000, and there was no frame damage. This did not result in a salvage title and was fully repaired at a top body shop in the area (beautifully, I might add.) Of course I have the receipt showing everything that was replaced.

So when selling to a private party, or doing a trade-in, what is the best way to disclose this so I don’t scare people or screw myself in terms of price? I’m concerned about people just fleeing the scene (kind of like the deer) because it’s been tainted. But the repairs are beautiful. The car is in perfect mechanical condition thanks to my wonderful mechanic. I’m worried about getting dinged for damage that no longer exists. Should the car lose value because of an accident like this?

More detail on the damage: hood was crunched, bumper was cracked, front grill was cracked. Radiator was fine, but they replaced it anyway to be safe so it appears on the receipt. Side panels were NOT damaged. Neither were the front headlights. The collision occurred at about 35-40mph.

Disclose to private buyer, treat them like you want to be treated.

No need to disclose to dealer, but they will figure it out themselves. Have the receipts. Also pics before the repair should be helpful for either situation.

I’m not trying to not disclose the damage or rip anyone off. I am genuinely asking whether this kind of damage - non-frame damage - impacts the value, and whether a buyer or dealer would be correct in telling me it’s not worth much because of it - despite the fact that it’s in fantastic shape.

A private buyer may try to reduce the price, but I don’t think you should do it solely for that reason alone. Without frame damage, there is no lasting impact o the car’s driveability. You might also ask your insurer about it.

Thanks for your responses. I appreciate it.

If you are asking if the value of your car is reduced because it has been in an accident, the answer is yes. The next question is by how much. That will depend on what the market is like for similar cars in your area. Some buyers won’t consider a car that has been in an accident. Many buyers aren’t so fussy but will be comparing your car to similar cars that haven’t been in an accident. The fact that your car is in otherwise”fantastic” shape works in your favor. Some buyers may overlook the accident if they can have the condition of the car confirmed by an independent mechanic. I would recommend setting the price as though the car hadn’t been in an accident and be prepared to take less. How much less will depend on how long you are willing to wait for the right buyer. You can also take your car to a Toyota dealer and ask for an appraisal.

Actually, any dealer can give you an appraisal. We sold a van to CarMax after getting a good appraisal. There aren’t any CarMax stores in MN, but you may have a similar, high volume place that deals in used cars. Ask your friends and neighbors if they ever had an appraisal of their cars and where they went. Note that this is an outright sale, and not a trade-in.

Susan…a little inside info. Brand new vehicles at dealerships and enroute to dealerships are sometimes damaged and repaired without any disclosure. I guarantee that they are not being discounted because of body damage. If the frame was damaged then the vehicle would be returned to the manufacturer. One would hope anyway. I would diclose the damage to a private buyer but I would let a dealer find out on his own like galant stated previously.

The only real issue here is safety. The car was sold new as meeting a level of safety. If anything happened to compromise that level of safety, and it is not disclosed, then there could be some liability. If your mechanic believes that none of the safety features of the car have been compromised, then you are OK. From your description, I think you are OK.

One thing to check is the seat belts where they are anchored to the floor. The seatbelts have some shock absorbtion stitched into them. If the stitching is pulled out, a flag will appear. No flag, you are probably OK.

Run a carfax on the car yourself…See if the accident shows up on their database. If not…

If someone asks you directly if the car has been in an accident, you could mention the encounter with the deer, say you had to have a new bumper and grill but no air-bags or anything like that…“It happened at low speed, the deer wasn’t that big…” Fade to black…

Wow, lots of good info. The seat belts are fine - in fact when the accident happened, I didn’t even feel a shock or a jolt. It was very surreal.

I like the idea of getting it appraised at a dealer (or maybe a couple - lots of them are buying used cars around here right now).

If asked, be honest.
If not asked, and it was properly repaired, you are under no legal or moral obligation to disclose anything whatsoever.