Is your used car painted

How to tell if car has been painted? Here are 2 easy ways to tell.

Knowing if the car you are buying is painted or not is the most important aspect in terms of cost. If you know exactly which part of the car is painted and why, would save you lots of money by negotiating a better price. I wanted to share 2 ways with you all so you can check and see which part of the car is painted. And once you know that car has lots of paint then it’s better to get a more professional and through inspection before you buy the car. I will tell you 2 ways which I use to check and see if the car is painted and then we can determine what may have caused the paint job regardless of what the seller might say, its good to find out the truth.

First way is the free and easy and you can use this method to check if the car might have been painted and whether you need to take it for a full inspection or not.

The Finger Test Method

You can run your finger along the split of body parts (panel edges) and run it up or down to get a feel of the paint. Normally original paint will be smooth to the touch when running your fingers up or down the panel crease. But if you feel that your finger is running over some bumps or ripples or unsmooth edges, then you need to look closer and see if the roughness is due to chipped paint? If you do not see any chipped paint but you still feel the ripples or bumps, then that would mean that car panel had some paint work.

The reason because is that the factory car paint is done with industrial size high quality equipment and they ensure a smooth finish. But regular workshops don’t use the same method, they use hand held sprayers and once they paint that panel, they just move on to the next panel. What happens here is the wet paint sprayed does not dry right away and it’s still wet. Within 15 to 20 min of drying time, the paint will run down around the edges of the panel which in turn dries and leaves the unsmooth finish. Here is where you can tell if the car panel as described above was painted or not. If you run your finger in the crease of the edges and feel ripples or bumps, then that panel you are checking has been painted. If you are feeling few panels painted, then it’s better to spend few hundred dirhams and get the car fully inspected to make sure it was not a total wracked car that was rebuilt.

Second way is to use a device called paint meter.

Car Paint Meter Test

This device is like a doctor’s stethoscope for used car buyers and dealers. With this device we can determine how many panels were painted and the depth of that paint job. By knowing the depth of the paint job, we can then determine the type of impact that lead to car requiring a paint job. This device has a reading panel which displaying numbers in millimeters. The higher the gauge reading the higher the paint job in terms of application. For example, if the car had a major accident which required the damaged panel to be un-dented and painted would happen in the following way. The garage will remove the damaged panel, then hammer out the discrepancies to almost a smooth finish but hammer is not a perfect way to do it which always requires some putting filling. Then the second step would be to fill in the left over bumps with a putty (white substance to fill in uneven surface or bumps) and then that panel would be required to be buffed out to make it smooth inline with the rest of the panel.

Once that is done, you would have a panel that is smooth but not painted. The garage then would paint that panel to finish the job. Now this device can detect that putty filling done under paint and above the sheet metal of the panel. This device would be placed on top of the panel and it would send out an electromagnetic pulse which would bounce back after hitting the sheet metal of the car back to that point of the device as shown in the picture. The reading would display a number in millimeters. This would tell us how much distance is between the device point and the car sheet metal, where we can now determine how much putty was put on the car. Higher the reading the higher the cause of damage. And knowing this goes a long way regarding negotiating a price and knowing if the used car you are buying was painted or not.

For more detailed methods, you can find lots of videos on youtube, but one of my favorite is the following:

Hope this would help you guys in avoiding cars that are being sold to you as NO PAINT.

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