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Vehicle Condition Guide: Scale A+ to E

A+ = NEW: vehicle is Mint condition, less than 18 months old and under 5000 miles with factory warranty

A = MINT: vehicle is like new or showroom new, the best condition a preowned vehicle can be. Upholstery, Metal, Paint, Glass and Tires are in superior quality. No mechanical problem, has all of its original body parts and has no collision damage. No dents, door dings or scratches. needs no reconditioning

B = EXCELLENT: vehicle looks great, is in excellent mechanical condition. The engine compartment is clean with no fluid leaks. The paint is glossy and the body and interior are free of any wear or visible defects. There is no rust evident, No dents, door dings or scratches. The tires are the proper size and match and are new or nearly new. A clean title history. This is an exceptional vehicle.

C = GOOD: vehicle should be free of any major defects. The paint, body and interior has only minor blemishes (if any), no major mechanical problems evident. A "good" vehicle may need some reconditioning. however major reconditioning should be deducted from the value

D = FAIR: vehicle probably has some mechanical or cosmetic defects, but is still in safe running condition. The paint, body and/or interior may need work. The tires may need to be replaced. There may be some repairable rust damage. The value of cars in this category may vary widely. A clean title history may or not be assumed.

E = POOR: vehicle has severe mechanical and/or cosmetic defects and may be in questionable running condition. The vehicle may have problems that cannot be readily fixed such as a damaged frame or a rusted-through body. unsubstantiated mileage should be considered "poor" because of potential problems. A clean title history may or not be assumed.

Collector Car Vehicle Condition Guide:
Scale A+ to F

A+= NEW: vehicle is Mint and Museum condition, one of a kind

A = EXCELLENT: Restored to current maximum professional standards of quality in every area, or perfect original with components operating and appearing as new. a 95-plus point show car that is not driven.

B = FINE: Well-restored or a combination of superior restoration and excellent original, an extremely well-maintained original showing very minimal wear.

C = VERY GOOD: Completely operable original or "older very good restoration" showing wear. all presentable and serviceable inside and out. Plus, combinations of well-done restoration and good operable components or a partially restored car with all parts necessary to complete.

D = GOOD: A drivable vehicle needing no or only minor work to be functional. Also, a deteriorated restoration or a very poor amateur restoration. All components may need restoration to be "excellent," but the car is mostly useable "as is."

E = RESTORABLE: Needs complete restoration of body, chassis and interior. May or may not be running, wrecked or stripped

F = PARTS CAR: useful only for parts.

Headliner, The lining above your head on the underside of the roof. Headliners are usually not a problem. However, sometimes they are faded or have stains or tears and sags. They can be replaced, but this requires some time and expense.

Upholstery Should be clean and not faded or ripped. Leather is a special case. It usually has some added value if it is in good shape. However, if it needs repair or replacing it is much more expensive than cloth or vinyl to do so.

Carpets, Older cars usually have some carpet wear. If so, it must be replaced for the vehicle to be worth top dollar. Any stains and rips will reduce the value.

Dashboard is usually not a problem. However, sometimes they have been dented or scratched. More often they could have sun damage in the form of fading or cracking leather or vinyl trim.

Metal and paint are very subjective items. You must keep in mind that while some minor dents and scratches maybe normal wear & tear as the car gets older, the new buyer expects it to be perfect. When you drive the same car for several years, these imperfections sometimes start to go unnoticed. Door chips and sand damage are sometimes subtle and should be looked at carefully, front of the vehicle normally has the most defects due to road and driving condition, even so no vehicle such have been repainted or have paint work to hold a good value. check on all trim, moldings around glass.

Glass, The side windows are usually not a problem as long as they operate properly. You should pay special attention to the windshield and rear window. The rear window sometimes gets sun damage in the form of checking, cracking or discoloration. The windshield is the most important glass, as it is the most expensive and is most subject to damage. Besides the obvious cracking, checking and discoloration, sand damage is the most commonly overlooked problem by the layman. Sand damage can range from slight to the point where it impairs vision. In either case, the windshield will usually need to be replaced.

Rust, Check around the window moldings, wheel wells, under the doors, door hinge area and taillight moldings. Look in the trunk area under the mat. Look for rust on the hubcaps or on the bumper. Look underneath the vehicle. Is there rust on the underbody? Look under the hood. Is the engine compartment pitted or corroded?

Mechanical, The exact nature of a mechanical problem is difficult for a layman to diagnose. Even the experts can't always be sure of the nature or the magnitude of the problem without at least partially disabling the part. If you are in doubt, have a reputable repair shop give you an opinion of the problem and an estimated cost of repair.

Tires must be the proper size and match for the vehicle. All tires the same make.  They should be near new to avoid a deduction when the car is appraised. The depth of the new tire tread for the average passenger car is about 3/8" (this can go to nearly 1/2"). All-terrain & off-road tires found on trucks and sport utility vehicles should have at least 1/4" of tread. Any less than 1/4" will likely result in a deduction as the dealer will probably want to replace the tires before offering the vehicle for resale.


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