We often hear from readers horrified to discover that their perfectly lovely used car was once another owner’s total loss. They only find out much later, once something goes horribly wrong due to the previous damage. But once the vehicle is all fixed up and shiny, how is the average car buyer to know the difference? It turns out that there are distinctive signs that a car was previously in a crash or flood. Some you might notice yourself, and others require a mechanic’s eye.