How to tell if a cars been painted
When buying a used car something you will really want to look for is bad paint repairs. Having a car painted is fine, but if it’s been painted well it should show no signs of a repair. You will find often people go with cheap repair work to move a car and turn a profit, make sure if the car your looking to buy has been painted, its been painted properly.
Dirt in the paint is the biggest giveaway. Although the factory does produce dirt and it does get in the paint, I wouldn’t expect to find any more then 2 specs per panel at the very most for your typical factory paint job. If you see more dirt, which appears as minor bumps only in the clear that panel has likely been painted before.
Sinking and rings. They will appear as scratches caused from paint curing and look just like circle outlines stamped in the clear. The scratches will appear in on direction of swirls created from sanders. Although this is generally a smaller problem it does indicate the shop doesn’t have a perfect system in place.
Chipping and Peeling paint are both signs of poor adhesion. If any panel is showing this kind of damage the odds are the entire panel will continue to do this over the course of your panels life. It can lead to rusting if left too long. If you see a panel that is chipping and showing black under the chip it indicates the shop failed to prime a replacement part, you are seeing the e-coat. The part would require stripping and repainting. Peeling paint is the same thing, it requires a full strip of the effected areas.
Clearcoat blends are an unrecommended procedure that are very common on used car lots especially. They are very economical repairs. Typically if the clear has been blended you will see the clear taper off and look very bumpy. You should move your head from side to side and look down the panel to observe this kind of condition, it can help you spot out other problems too.
Seam Sealer is one of the easiest ways to spot out replacement parts. Look at the backs of the doors, quarted…etc and see if the seam sealer is symetrical with the other side. If it looks different on one part the odds are its been replaced or skinned. That doesn’t always indicate a problem but you may want to look further at these areas for rust problems, particularly at the seams/welds front and back.
Edges are one of the easier give-a-ways. Open the doors, trunk, hood and look at the transition from outside to inside. Most factory edges are a smooth transition, repaints tend to leave a line of dry edge when refinished.
These are a few paint problems that you may want to look for to help you weigh out the cost of fixing it vs the value of the car, I hope this helps!
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