How To Check A Used Car For Rust Damage And Repainting – Our Guide!

Car Maintenance, Tips, Used Cars

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car rust damage

Rust. Unfortunately, it’s a fact of life for many people shopping for a used vehicle in Winnipeg. Canada is famous for the length and intensity of its winters. Given the amount of road salt and moisture in the winter months, it may be no surprise that Canadian cars tend to rust more quickly than their southern brethren.

This can be a real issue when shopping for a used car. How can you be sure that the vehicle you’re interested in is in great shape, and is not rusty – and hasn’t been repainted to hide rust damage? In this guide, we’ll show you how to check for both rust damage and repainting. Let’s begin.

Get That Car On A Lift – Or Slide Underneath With A Flashlight

Ideally, you should be able to examine a vehicle on a lift. But this isn’t always possible when shopping at a dealer, or buying from a private seller – so you’d better be comfortable sliding underneath the car’s undercarriage.

Using a high-powered LED flashlight, start checking every piece of metal that you can. It’s not uncommon for some components like the muffler and exhaust system to be rusty – and that’s not necessarily a reason not to buy the car.

You’re really looking for rust damage to the chassis of the vehicle itself, as well as the body panels and components which may be invisible from the exterior. Note any rusty spots or patches – and if there are any areas that are totally “rusted through,” you probably shouldn’t buy the car.

Check The Joints, Doors, And Other Areas

Rust is quite common on areas of the car that have hinges, or otherwise join two different areas of the vehicle. You’re going to want to check for rust on:

  • The trunk
  • The hood of the vehicle and engine enclosure
  • Doors and around windows
  • Molding
  • Lower body panels
  • Underneath the trunk carpet

If these areas are clear of rust, chances are that the rest of the car is also rust-free. You should still perform a comprehensive inspection, though.

Check The Door And Rocker Panels

Door panels and rocker panels (the panel that runs underneath and along the front and back doors of your car) are often affected by rust. This may happen if the drain holes in the panel are blocked, and corrosive water builds up inside them – especially if the rust-proofing treatment has been worn away. Check the bottom of door panels and rocker panels to identify potentially troublesome areas.

Look For Signs Of Repainting And Repair

If a car has been repainted and repaired from rust, this isn’t always a bad thing. However, in some cases, the seller may have simply done a shoddy job to try to hide rust damage and get a better price for the vehicle.

If you think that a car has been repainted due to rust, make sure you take a look at it in the sunlight for the best possible view. Look for “bubbling” in the paint. This is a common issue when a car has been repainted, but the underlying rust has not been removed.

Look alongside the natural trim of the car. Do you see any variation in paint thickness, or dull or more opaque sections? These could be a sign of repainting after rust damage, or other types of car damage.

Need A Used Car Checked For Rust Damage? Come To Ride Time!

At Ride Time, we sell high-quality used vehicles that are free of damage from rust. We also have an 8-bay service centre. If you are buying a car from a private seller, or from another dealer and want it inspected for rust, we can help.

Our team will take a deep look at the vehicle. We’ll let you know if we find rust – and if we think that the rust can be repaired, as well as whether or not it’s dangerous for the structural integrity of the vehicle.

So whether you’re interested in buying a used car, or having an inspection performed, contact us today!

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