Want a better price on a used vehicle? Buy one with repaired minor damage

Consumers shopping for a used vehicle can probably save a little money buying a vehicle with previously repaired minor damage, compared to the same vehicle without any past damage.

A vehicle history report will show any and all recorded collisions and repairs. Most buyers check vehicle history reports before buying. Dealers know you know, and they price those vehicles accordingly.

“Amongst car shoppers, damage to the vehicle is, right after price, their No. 1 concern. So they know it is a concern for buyers, so they are willing to discount by a certain amount because they know shoppers will cast a skeptical eye on it,” said Patrick Olsen, editor-in-chief at Carfax.

Carfax history reports are free and available instantly online.

It is key to note these are vehicles with minor damage that has been properly and professionally repaired. And the savings is not all that much.

“It is typically for minor damage in the hundreds of dollars. But I will say in a market where used vehicle prices are very high, any savings a shopper can find are real ones,” Olsen said.

Used vehicle prices have been fluctuating wildly over the past two years, and it is hard for potential buyers to know what the fair market value of a vehicle they are looking at should be. To aid buyers, Carfax has created a new Used Car Index, which tracks monthly average asking prices for vehicles listed on Carfax.com in popular categories, as well as the 12-month price trends for those vehicles.

It also details the drop in value for vehicles with minor or major damage versus those that don’t have any damage. Consumers can also find out the fair market value of their current vehicle for free, using just ZIP Code, VIN and license plate number.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up