By: Gov Auctions | 27 April 2016

What Is Normal Wear and Tear and What Is Excessive Wear When Buying a Car?

If you are buying a used car, then you should be prepared for all its imperfections. The moment the vehicle is driven, it already goes through the wear-and-tear process. You can therefore imagine how much of this wear is happening when it has been used for, say, five years, which is usually the “acceptable” lifespan of a good vehicle.

Simply put, all used cars have wear and tear. As a buyer, however, you must know whether it is considered normal or excessive.

The wear and tear may be deemed “normal” if:

  • The scratches, dents, and other car imperfections appear superficial. This means that they are small, roughly around 2 inches maximum, and they are found in very limited spots only. Usually, you can find them on the side of the vehicle.
  • There are a few tears on the seats, especially if they are made from cloth, not leather.
  • Curb rash, or the markings that appear on the rims of the wheels due to driving on curbs normally on minimum speed, is present in one or two of the wheels.
  • There are no alterations done on the vehicle prior to the sale or auction.
  • There is no missing part of the vehicle.
  • The tire tread depth is no less than 1/8 inches. You can conduct a simple coin test to evaluate tread depth. Get a Lincoln, turn it upside down that the head is within the tread, and measure. If you can still see the head, then the tread is still fine. Otherwise, the wheels need some changing. Of course, do not forget to match the depth with the manufacturer’s recommendation.

Meanwhile, excessive wear and tear may be called on:

  • Any modification or alteration performed on the vehicle, including repainting or changing of the engine.
  • There is curb rash present in all four wheels.
  • There are deep large scrapes, dents, and scratches in various parts of the vehicle, including areas where they are not supposed to be found or they are hard to reach.
  • The car has been poorly maintained or repaired.
  • There are missing components of the car or they may have been replaced by items that are not within the criteria of the manufacturer.
  • Some parts of the vehicle are already badly damaged they look as if they are separating from the vehicle. These include grilles, bumpers, lights, or hood.

Why Does This Matter?

Coming across a vehicle with excessive wear and tear doesn’t have to mean that you can no longer buy it. As long as it’s not salvage or lemon, and it’s still in good running condition, it still remains a serious consideration.

However, vehicles with this kind of wear or tear give you a good leverage when it comes to pricing. You can negotiate or bid for a much lower price since you have to spend for repairs yourself. Depending on the overall quality of the vehicle, among others, you might also have to pay a higher insurance premium than those who own the same model with excellent exterior and interior condition.