So he called in TrueFrame. The Birmingham, Ala., company sent specially trained service technicians to inspect the vehicle for both cosmetic and structural damage.
The inspectors "couldn't find any damage on the vehicle. They suspected that the rear bumper was painted," Martin said. "So they gave it a 99 out of 100 rating. I got pretty much for it what I would have got for it if it was a clean Carfax."
Martin said TrueFrame reports give consumers peace of mind that they are buying structurally sound vehicles and allow him to sell those vehicles without having to discount them deeply.
He said: "It's all about disclosure."
TrueFrame will inspect any vehicle, at a dealership's request, that has an accident on its history report. TrueFrame issues its own report if the vehicle passes its cosmetic and structural standards, said President Ben Puckett.
The TrueFrame report is sent to the dealership that requested it and to vehicle history reporting companies such as Carfax Inc., which has agreed to link TrueFrame reports to its vehicle history reports.
"Consumers see accident, and they assume the worst," Puckett said. "If you don't provide context to that, then the consumers kind of let their imaginations run wild."
A Carfax spokesman said the partnership with TrueFrame is another step in Carfax's efforts to inform its customers about accidents and prior damage to vehicles by helping them determine whether a vehicle was repaired properly.
TrueFrame is owned by Auction Insurance Agency, also of Birmingham. Auction Insurance insures auctions from losses such as bad checks, failure to collect from buyers and sales of stolen vehicles.
TrueFrame's two-part inspections generally take 30 to 45 minutes.
The cosmetic inspection focuses on paint work and external damage. If body panels have been replaced, they are identified whenever possible as being either original-equipment or aftermarket parts.
The structural inspection includes a visual examination and a precise measuring of structural components. The visual inspection includes the underside of the hood and trunk lid, the pillars and doors. The vehicle is put on a lift to examine its underside and measure its frame.
Automakers release detailed measurements for every vehicle. TrueFrame technicians compare their multiple measurements to the factory's, to see whether a vehicle's structural components are within the acceptable range of measurement guidelines.