Used Cars

Understanding the Different Types of Mechanical Damage and How to Identify Them

By Daisy Emah-Emah Posted: 11/24/2021

Getting involved in an accident is often a traumatizing experience for anyone… especially one that involves fatal injuries to the vehicle occupants. 


Considering the fact that the vehicle’s exterior is the first line of defense/protection from harm, there is usually some form of minor to heavy damages when these auto accidents happen. 


The extent of damage, speed, and or impact of the collision will often lead to some cosmetic damage and in worse cases, mechanical damage that could affect mechanical parts including suspension, engine, and even transmission.   


Damages that are visible are easier to fix and get insurance cover for. Hidden damages on the other hand may be missed completely leading to continuous problems for the user… or in the case of wholesale auto auctions, where such vehicles may be listed for sale by insurance companies, added issues for potential buyers…  


Mechanical damage in an accident can either directly cause or aggravate damage to your car’s mechanical parts including tires, brakes, or even the engine. 



Buying vehicles with mechanical damage at the auction is a decision that needs to be taken carefully unless you are buying to scrap or dismantle. 


It can simply be a reason to sell the vehicle on paper or be indicative of serious or heavy damages. Considering the fact that most wholesale auctions won’t necessarily give you the full details, we put together a list of the most common types of mechanical damage possible and what to expect.  


1. Engine

It is common knowledge not to drive your vehicle with engine damage – you just shouldn’t! 


Driving your vehicle with engine damage can lead to further damage of your vehicle and cause another accident – leading to bodily harm, loss of property and life. 


To check your vehicle for engine damage – the most basic is to check the “engine check” light on your dashboard. Also, if your engine makes suspicious noises, produces smoke, you notice leakages, your vehicle consumes more fuel, or loss of engine power. 


Once you notice any of these signs, request for a professional mechanic and have it fixed immediately before driving your vehicle. 


2. Suspension

When you are involved in an accident, there is a very high possibility that your front or rear-end suspension has been damaged. Your vehicle’s suspension system is made up of wheels, shock absorbers, and springs. It is responsible for the comfort you feel while driving – it smoothes out bumps and provides traction by keeping your wheels to the ground. 


If you purchase a vehicle with suspension damage you may experience a bumpy or rough ride,. Other signs of damaged suspension, the vehicle sits low in one corner, it is difficult to steer or

shock absorbers are oily or greasy


You shouldn’t drive with a damaged suspension system, once a purchase is made, you need to have your vehicle taken to the mechanic for repairs.   


3. Brake line

The brake lines are one of the most essential parts of your vehicle when it has to do with safety. A brake line damage during an accident is very critical because it affects the driver’s ability to quickly stop your vehicle before hitting an object or person.  


Brake line damage may leak fluids that help in lubricating the brake pads and other components of the braking system. If fluids do not get to the different components of the braking system it the brakes may stick or give out. You can identify brake line damage if you notice the brake light on the dash or leakages. 


4. Wheels and Tires

Wheel and tire damage can be seen in most cases but in other cases, it is difficult to tell. This hidden damage could cause a blowout while driving leading to another accident. It is not rocket science to avoid driving a vehicle with damaged wheels and tires. 


After an accident,  ask the mechanic to inspect the wheels and tires for damages and have them fixed. 


Further Reading

  1. 5 Things to do to Restore Your Flooded Vehicle
  2. What You Need to Know About Hail Damaged Cars for Sale
  3. Used Car Auctions: 10 Major Damage codes You May Find in Car Listings
  4. 5 Major Physical Damages to Look out for Before Buying a Used Car from Online Auction


When next you come across a vehicle with mechanical damage, it may have one of the above-listed damages. It is recommended to have your used car checked for damages before driving.


In case damages are not listed on the site, request for the vehicle history report of the vehicle. This will cost you a small fee and contains everything about the vehicle you want to purchase including damage history. To know the current state of the vehicle, request for a physical inspection. This is more expensive than a vehicle report but is more detailed. You will also know the true state of the vehicle you want to purchase.


To get started on your purchase, sign up for free with us. You can have access to our inventory of over 150k used vehicles- no license required! Our auction specialists are always available to assist you with your entire purchase. Get started today…


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