Is this damage a deal breaker?

My young, inexperienced eyes can’t tell if this is a fixable fender bender…or major damage with serious frame and driveability issues.

These are images of a 2011 Dodge Challenger SE l just found online, going for just under $18k, with 66k miles.

And here’s the carfax, funny how it doesn’t list the accident/damage on it…

If I have the dealership fix this damage, should l buy this car?

Looks easily fixed to me, but I’m just some guy on the web looking at a pic. And I’d be more worried about the damage you don’t see.

When buying a used car I recommend an inspection by a third party mechanic. The $100-$150 you’ll spend is a good investment.

Carfax is not a reliable indicator of whether a car has been damaged. All reporting is voluntary. You can drive your car into a tree, tow it home, spend a month fixing it in your driveway using junkyard parts, and Carfax will never know about it.

Hahaha wow, looks like l have a lot to learn about the car buying business. This is my first time trying to buy a car, so excuse me if l sound silly or anything.

So you mean l can just take it off the dealer’s lot and drive it to the nearest independent shop? I say nearest because this dealership is like 25 miles away from the mechanic l usually go to…

No, not stupid or silly.

Ask your regular mechanic if he does used car inspections. Tell the dealer you’re interested in the car, but would like to have your regular mechanic inspect it. Of course they will want you to leave your car there, or sign something. Most reputable dealers won’t have a problem with this. If they refuse to let you get the car inspected I’d wonder why.

Remember, a used Challenger isn’t like a used Camry or Taurus. These cars are driven fast and hard. No little old lady drives a Challenger.

That’s a very good point! Thank you for the tips! :smiley:

What asemaster said ++

Wait…the car’s wrecked somewhere? I cannot see any bent metal on my smartphone…

The big question is why would they list a car without fixing the damage? That would make me think that this vehicle has not been taken care of.

It’s impossible to tell anything about the car over the internet. But it’s a smart assumption that there’s more damage underneath the sheetmetal. I’ve seen too many “cosmetic” damage situations with crunched up substructures underneath.

I strongly recommend not buying any vehicle that you can’t personally test drive and have your local trusted shop go over thoroughly. Used cars being sold over the internet are a real crap shoot.

I don’t see any real damage. I see really poor alignment between body panels. This could be new panels hung off of bent components beneath, possibly indicating more serious damage than the seller is letting on.

It could also just be Chrysler’s quality fit and finish…

If it passes an inspection, offer $15,000 (which will be rejected) and wait. Put $3,000 in a savings account for the inevitable repairs to come. Do not go into debt to buy this car.


Every time a customer came in the shop, asking me to check out a minor fender bender, such as in the picture . . . it was always a few thousand bucks in repairs needed

There was always unseen damage, if you looked close enough

Lowball the guy. If he won’t bite, walk away. There’s other cars out there

I can think of a number of reasons for avoiding this car.
Too much money for a 66k miles car with any damage at all even if minor.
The potential the hit was harder than it appears.
It’s likely a V-6 so they’re worth less on average.
The fact that the first oil and filter change was not done until 15k miles.
It’s got 5 years of use in the Rust Belt so the possibility of rust damage exists underneath.

Last but not least, I think with some footwork you can find a later model Challenger with far fewer miles for about the same amount of money as you would have in this one. A local dealer here recently sold a beautiful 2013 with 20k miles (white w/orange stripes) for 21k.

I’m a bit surprised that the dealer did not repair this body flaw before placing it for sale seeing as how it could be a point of contention on a potential sale. The body lines on the fender and hood would bug me.

" the first oil and filter change was not done until 15k miles"

My reading of the service records shows two oil changes done at 15k intervals, which makes for two red flags–in my book. Then, add in the body damage (with likely underlying chassis damage), and there are three red flags.

One red flag would be enough to make me run from a used car. This one has at least 3.
If this was some sort of rare vehicle, I could understand wanting to buy it, even with the red flags, but when you consider how many of these vehicles were made, they are hardly rare.

Used cars are like commuter buses.
If you miss out on one, another one will come along shortly.

Wifey got rearended, other insurance co called estimated $700 as an estimate for repairs. Took it to a repair shop that works with our ins CO, and does things right. $2800, as much more was not observable to the naked eye. Getting my deductable back now as other insurance was dragging their feet, and my ins co pursued it. Had to wait as other insurance company mailed the check to the wrong address, and could only get voice mail to check on status with no calls returned when trying to contact the other ins CO.

One thing that needs to be done is to try and control any Challenger lust (I lust for a Hellcat, but…)
and not jump on the first one you see.

The panel fit would bother me a bit as that could mean a slight buckling from a minor collision or just poor repairs after a major collision. Almost any kind of bodywork at all anymore can easily run 2 grand assuming there are no underlying issues. That would put the car at 20 grand.

There’s a 2013 white Challenger in my area for 20 grand. That’s 2 years newer and has half the miles for that amount of money. I’d keep looking and especially so because of that oil change information. The last thing you need on top of any hidden chassis damage is engine sludge and variable valve timing issues.

When I appraised it, I come up with dealer retail about $13k. This car is WAY overpriced, high miles, and damaged. Find something better, shouldn’t be hard.

I’d walk away from this one!

Barkydog Glad to hear your insurance Co. is handling things. Is the other insurance Co. Progressive? I had a bad experience with the thieving crooks in 2002. My insurance Co. (State Farm) ended up filing a complaint with the state insurance commissioner for flagrant violations of state laws and attempted fraud.

Use the Mechanics Files to find a mechanic near the car dealership.

Use or to research prices.

If you can’t pay off the car in 3 yrs it is too expensive!

Check the insurance costs. The rate for muscle cars is going to be higher than family sedans.