Can a dealership just paint over major rust damage?

On Behalf of | Aug 16, 2021 | Auto Dealer Fraud

Winter weather, road salt and age can all contribute to the amount of rust that develops on a vehicle. Rust is unattractive, but it is far from just a cosmetic issue. Substantial amounts of rust on a vehicle can impact its structural integrity in the event of a crash. Rust will also diminish the resale value of the vehicle.

Given that you will worry more about glaring and dangerous defects, you probably don’t spend much time looking for rust on a vehicle at a dealership. When buying a used car, your main concerns will probably be issues like mileage, collision history and known defects reported by the dealership.

You probably expect to be able to spot rust right away when looking at a vehicle. What if it turns out that the dealership just painted over substantial rust on the vehicle?

You can sometimes spot the signs of rust repair

One of the biggest warning signs that a dealership has engaged in spot painting of a vehicle is a small but notable difference in the color of paint from area to area on the vehicle. Places with different textures or where the paint seems to be thicker or thinner than on other surfaces of the vehicle could also be warning signs of an attempt to paint over rust.

The problem with just covering up vehicle rust is that it can continue to spread and damage the vehicle. If there is enough of it before the dealership painted over it, your vehicle may not have the longevity and resale value you expected when making the purchase.

What can you do about a mediocre cover-up attempt?

The first time you try to wash your vehicle or take it to your own mechanic for some work, you may learn about the rust issues. Having your mechanic record the damage or taking photographs or video with your phone to show your unexpected discovery will serve as documentation of the undisclosed issue with your vehicle and the questionable attempt to cover it.

Auto dealers in Connecticut have an obligation to disclose known defects in vehicles. Attempting to paint over and hide a serious issue with a vehicle could constitute dealership fraud. Understanding the rules about dealership fraud can help you hold an unethical business responsible for its attempt to trick you.