Magnets to check for body filler…good idea?

What if you scratch the finish of the car using your magnet?
If the magnet is to strong you will be mislead.
If the magnet is to weak you won’t be sure. 
What if the car has plastic panels now the magnet is a waste of time.

I would rather trust my eyes and my feel than a magnet.

Look beyond the paint, look to see if there are tiny scratches that the paint didn’t fill in, the scratches will be in the body filler most of the time. Now get down on your knee, get eye level to your car… look at the length of the car body from either end of the car, the fender, door, other fender should all be in a straight line with each other. Now while looking at the length of the car, also look at it from the top of the fender to the bottom of the car, the body line should flow and be even top to bottom all the way down the length of the car.

If the body lines are not even and flowing there is body filler in the body. If you see low spots then high spots or little ridges and bumps you have body filler. If you suspect there is a spot in the body that has filler in it one way you can test for it is by the feel of the body. Put your hand flat on the car body, close your eyes now slide your hand the length of the spot you think there is body filler…is the spot all even and smooth? Do you feel little high and low spots? Does the spot go from smooth to rough feeling then back to smooth? Now slide your hand up the body and then back down, is the surface even and smooth? If the area just doesn’t feel right, seems funny to you, trust your gut the car has body filler in it.

Look at the paint get close and look do you see tiny scratches in the color? Scratches show up more in body filler than on the steel body.

Wait!! What if the body panels are all plastic? What do you do now. Two things you need to look for on plastic paneled cars; 1. Look for spider webbing cracks in the paint. If the panel has been hit, at the point of impact, the paint will have a spider web looking pattern to the paint. Look on the doors, fenders, and bumpers for this spider web pattern that tells you the car has be bumped and the paint has been damaged. 2. Look under the car with plastic fenders, doors, rocker panels, and bumpers. You are looking for the steel that the plastic parts are hanging on to. Is the under side of the car all rusted out? Are some of the plastic panels loose or flopping around? If the steel that the plastic parts hang on are rusted out the car is not worth having, most of the older  minivans have this problem.

When looking for bodyfiller step back from the car look at the whole side of the car. The car should be even in shine and color, if there are differences in the finish, color and shine, the car has been worked on and 9 out of 10 times has bodyfiller in it.

Keep looking for your great used car…it’s out there.

The Auto Doctor
Ken Groves