Automotive

Car accident minor vs major on carfax (impact on resale value)

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  • Aug 29th, 2021 4:35 pm
[OP]
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Oct 22, 2014
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Car accident minor vs major on carfax (impact on resale value)

On carfax / carproof anyone know what distinguishes between a minor accident and major accident for your car history?

How does minor vs major impact your car's resale value? What if you had fully repaired your car for the major accident - still loss in resale value?

For example I just got rear ended and police report estimate damage at just below $3000. I'm going (through my insurance) to replace the rear bumper (where the damage is). Once fully replaced why should this still cause my car to lose resale value?
17 replies
Deal Expert
Jan 15, 2006
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Richmond Hill
Any accident claim and the vehicle is stigmatized. Period.

Clean vehicle with zero claims will always be worth more.
[OP]
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Oct 22, 2014
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EP32k2 wrote: Any accident claim and the vehicle is stigmatized. Period.

Clean vehicle with zero claims will always be worth more.
Yes I agree. But my question is if my car already has a light history of minor and major accident, what's the incremental cost of the next minor or major accident being added to its history?
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May 31, 2008
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GTA area
Elfwood wrote: Yes I agree. But my question is if my car already has a light history of minor and major accident, what's the incremental cost of the next minor or major accident being added to its history?
What exactly is a light history of minor and major accidents? How much was the damage each time?
One claim of $3000 may effect it a little, but if you also have another one that is a different story.
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Nov 7, 2016
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If it has more then one, personally I'd avoid it. Makes it seem to me the owner doesn't take care of it/can't drive ;) If the seller/owner doesn't know what they are (which I consider too) I avoid it. Anything more then ~$2000 or so I avoid too as that's getting into more then a touched up plastic bumper etc.

Hard for a someone that's not a technical car person to know really, and some places will even go over board to cover up stuff for sale (like a Lincoln I bought years ago that OMVIC made the dealer buy back from me for undisclosed damages, CarProof was clean, Canadian CarFax showed it in the end, they did more to cover it up then fix it!)...

Up to the buyer, but yes most ppl are wary of claims, esp more then one...
Last edited by IcarusLSC on Aug 28th, 2021 7:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
·Ï¢årµ§·
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Oct 26, 2008
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IcarusLSC wrote: ..............
Up to the buyer, but yes most ppl are weary of claims, esp more then one...
Yes, most people are wary of accident history (I get weary of people misspelling wary).

But they need to exercise that caution in a realistic manner.

So many variables.

Quite possible that any accidents were the fault of another driver, so can't really deduce anything about how the person looks after their vehicle.

Another factor is how long ago the accident occurred and the quality of the repairs (whether OEM parts were used, etc.).

I would be wary of buying a vehicle that had just had its windshield replaced, as I don't want to be the one finding out it leaks, or has distorted glass, for example.
But if it was done a year or so back, on an older vehicle, and is oem glass or at least PGW and the trim looks clean and even, then maybe it can viewed as a positive.
You are benefitting from a windshield without any rock chips and many less flaws than a typical 10-year old windshield.

Similar considerations could apply to an older vehicle that has had front-end damage repaired with oem suspension components which might have been quite worn.
Or it has had new HID headlight assemblies. Again, not necessarily something with a negative connotation.

Can't say that there are the same possible benefits of side-impact repairs. Or even rear-enders.

So in short, certainly approach a used vehicle with the expectation that accident history has devalued it, but don't be short-sighted.
You could be passing up what is a smart buy in some cases, especially if it is one of the premium brands, or a hard-to-find model.
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macnut wrote: Yes, most people are wary of accident history (I get weary of people misspelling wary).
...
Quite possible that any accidents were the fault of another driver, so can't really deduce anything about how the person looks after their vehicle.

Another factor is how long ago the accident occurred and the quality of the repairs (whether OEM parts were used, etc.).

I would be wary of buying a vehicle that had just had its windshield replaced, as I don't want to be the one finding out it leaks, or has distorted glass, for example.
But if it was done a year or so back, on an older vehicle, and is oem glass or at least PGW and the trim looks clean and even, then maybe it can viewed as a positive.
You are benefitting from a windshield without any rock chips and many less flaws than a typical 10-year old windshield.

Similar considerations could apply to an older vehicle that has had front-end damage repaired with oem suspension components which might have been quite worn.
Or it has had new HID headlight assemblies. Again, not necessarily something with a negative connotation.

Can't say that there are the same possible benefits of side-impact repairs. Or even rear-enders.

So in short, certainly approach a used vehicle with the expectation that accident history has devalued it, but don't be short-sighted.
You could be passing up what is a smart buy in some cases, especially if it is one of the premium brands, or a hard-to-find model.
Good points, esp about other drivers. There are so many variables. I've seen the work shops typically do though all over Ontario at least, and would still be wary of many claims... ;)
Last edited by IcarusLSC on Aug 28th, 2021 7:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
·Ï¢årµ§·
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Nov 12, 2004
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I looked at about 200 Carfax's when I was shopping for a USED car last summer and fall. With Market Pricing by dealers even multiple accidents did seem to hurt asking price that much compared to vehicles with no accidents. Also since all the dealers I contacted advertising Ed Bolian specials, for top dollar, that I was willing to try to shrewdly negotiate a reasonable price for. Always stated the APP they were using to set their MARKET FIXING selling point was infallible and the price was the price. It would be most entertaining to see a lot of those vehicles at lower tier dealers for the same money or maybe a few hundred less 3 to 6 months later... But the price was the price except at the wholesale auction...

Another good one was for a car that had been there for 6 months they would announce a price reduction!!!! Which was actually a 500.00 increase over what they had been asking, before they pulled the old ad for a week.

While in normal times any collision report should lower the value of the car. Right now though we are about 2yrs from normal times in the used car market. If the vehicle is more than 6 yrs old I doubt a bumper repair will matter enough for the trouble it would take to hide it.

Also, if you want to trade in a vehicle at a dealer that is good enough that they would keep on their lot, you will likely be asked to attest in writing that it was never in an accident to the best of your knowledge. Not to mention who do expect to pay to you top dollar privately, without asking you the same thing?
Penalty Box
Jun 26, 2009
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Canuck2fan wrote: I looked at about 200 Carfax's when I was shopping for a USED car last summer and fall. With Market Pricing by dealers even multiple accidents did seem to hurt asking price that much compared to vehicles with no accidents. Also since all the dealers I contacted advertising Ed Bolian specials, for top dollar, that I was willing to try to shrewdly negotiate a reasonable price for. Always stated the APP they were using to set their MARKET FIXING selling point was infallible and the price was the price. It would be most entertaining to see a lot of those vehicles at lower tier dealers for the same money or maybe a few hundred less 3 to 6 months later... But the price was the price except at the wholesale auction...

Another good one was for a car that had been there for 6 months they would announce a price reduction!!!! Which was actually a 500.00 increase over what they had been asking, before they pulled the old ad for a week.

While in normal times any collision report should lower the value of the car. Right now though we are about 2yrs from normal times in the used car market. If the vehicle is more than 6 yrs old I doubt a bumper repair will matter enough for the trouble it would take to hide it.

Also, if you want to trade in a vehicle at a dealer that is good enough that they would keep on their lot, you will likely be asked to attest in writing that it was never in an accident to the best of your knowledge. Not to mention who do expect to pay to you top dollar privately, without asking you the same thing?
Really? 200 reports shopping for 1 (one) car? Just tell me it was something really expensive and really rare, so your actions will be justified Grinning Face With Smiling Eyes.
[OP]
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Oct 22, 2014
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devilsadvocate wrote: What exactly is a light history of minor and major accidents? How much was the damage each time?
One claim of $3000 may effect it a little, but if you also have another one that is a different story.
Ok I just checked my carfax report. I have 2 minor accidents and all cases my car was rear ended (when it was stopped). I filed a 3rd report today for another rear ended (I was also at full stop at traffic light) and this time damage is about the same as before. Today's police assessment of damage at close to $3000 due to make being Audi and their parts have a premium.

3 rear ended over 7 years. Everytime it's the back bumper center damage. One time I requested replacement of the back bumper - that cost was around $3000.
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3 accidents over 7 years will definitely make it very difficult to sell IMO, and I would expect to be lowballed if trying to use it as a trade-in at a dealer once they find out. Exactly how much will be the incremental cost of this last accident is really difficult to say because all accidents will be considered as a whole, and not just a reduction for each accident.

If you're looking at a rough figure, in case you are trying to recoup the loss from the person responsible, there is a calculator on this page. Not sure how accurate it is but it's better than nothing:
https://www.finder.com/ca/how-to-calcul ... f-your-car
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Tommy74 wrote: Really? 200 reports shopping for 1 (one) car? Just tell me it was something really expensive and really rare, so your actions will be justified Grinning Face With Smiling Eyes.
Nope not rare and not expensive. I just wanted THE car I was going to buy to be a CAR that mildly interested me when I found it. I was not sure what that would be exactly but I knew since I had rented about 8 different vehicles and was NOT happy with any of them after a couple of days. I did want to settle for just any ole car, just to get something quickly.

While it sounds like a lot of work/time I set up auto searches on four different used car platforms for the 4 types sedans I was interested in. I would get home from work (working half days, so no 2k a month government cheese for me thanks Covid) to find a max of 15 to 20 emails a day. I could run through them in less than 10 minutes most days. If the ad was from a private seller and had ONE spelling mistake or grammar error I passed on it right away. For dealers if it did not have an immediately viewable Carfax same thing. Anything with New Breaks was a total deal breaker.

Some people spent their off hours during the lockdown watching Netflix I wasted mine trying to find a car that did not exist. As I would up just buying the same Make Model and year of the car I was replacing. The most hated sedan of all time a 2009 Cobalt. Maybe I will have better luck in 2 to 3 years when the used car market hopefully regains some sanity.
[OP]
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Oct 22, 2014
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devilsadvocate wrote: 3 accidents over 7 years will definitely make it very difficult to sell IMO, and I would expect to be lowballed if trying to use it as a trade-in at a dealer once they find out. Exactly how much will be the incremental cost of this last accident is really difficult to say because all accidents will be considered as a whole, and not just a reduction for each accident.

If you're looking at a rough figure, in case you are trying to recoup the loss from the person responsible, there is a calculator on this page. Not sure how accurate it is but it's better than nothing:
https://www.finder.com/ca/how-to-calcul ... f-your-car


Thanks for the info. That's unfortunate that I'm losing value on my car despite not being at fault for each accident, and insurance will not pay for diminished value loss. This system seems a bit broken as this has caused people around here to prefer settling privately instead of reporting the accident to police - to avoid diminished value.
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Oct 26, 2008
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Canuck2fan wrote: ........ ONE spelling mistake or grammar error I passed on it right away.

........ Anything with New Breaks was a total deal breaker.
Just out of interest, why are new brakes a deal-breaker for you?

I can see why brand new tires could be - precludes any chance of seeing that worn suspension and steering components could cause uneven tread wear.

But if brakes have just been done, and done properly with oem parts or equivalent, can't see any problem with that.
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macnut wrote: Just out of interest, why are new brakes a deal-breaker for you?

I can see why brand new tires could be - precludes any chance of seeing that worn suspension and steering components could cause uneven tread wear.

But if brakes have just been done, and done properly with oem parts or equivalent, can't see any problem with that.
Using the word BREAKS for BRAKES in an ad to attract a buyer was the deal breaker.... I knew I would just not be able to pretend to be "polite/fair" with someone who did not know the difference. So I skipped over those ads.

In the end I did find a car with all new front rotors, pads, new rear shoes, wheel cylinders and turned rear drums (which 1 yr later are still well within spec) which turned out to be a deal maker.
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Nov 7, 2016
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Lots of times people put the absolute cheapest brakes on cars to sell them, more so dealers.
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Elfwood wrote: Yes I agree. But my question is if my car already has a light history of minor and major accident, what's the incremental cost of the next minor or major accident being added to its history?
Most accidents less than $3k on your average midsize is considered small. Anything more impacts resale value. Obviously the more severe the accident the more the impact. I had a Honda Pilot with an accident of about 10K. The resale value after 4 yrs was reduced by about $2500. Use that as a reference
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IcarusLSC wrote: Lots of times people put the absolute cheapest brakes on cars to sell them, more so dealers.
True but then again lots of people lie about whether their vehicle was ever in an accident. Others claim they had religiously done oil changes on time along with all other scheduled maintenance... Then there are the folks who say that something major was replaced last year when it was 3 yrs ago.

It is all part of risk reward when used car shopping as you try to find the best of someone's reject for the least money. LOL

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