Most auctions (and some stock dealers) have a grading system which uses numbers and letters to tell the buyer what condition the vehicle is in. Often on inspection sheets, this includes an overall, interior, and sometimes, exterior ratings. This system is a useful way to categorize in general the quality of the vehicle while quickly searching car listings.
In most cases, you will see either numbers or a letter or two:
- 6 or above - New and never been driven.
- 5 - Near new. Everything is in top condition.
- 4.5 - Excellent condition. May have some minor issues (small scratches/dents).
- 4 - Good condition. Normal wear and tear at max.
- 3.5 - Average condition. All areas are at an acceptable standard.
- 3 - Various scratches or dents. Some paint missing.
- 2 - In bad condition
- 1 - Very bad condition OR has been modified and in good condition.
- 0, A, A1-A5 - Involved in Accident. If there is a number, higher is worse.
- RA or R - Had accident and repaired.
- R1 - Repaired modified car. For example, adding after-market parts for performance or appeal.
- B or C - Had large accident and repaired.
- *** - Good for parts only.
Other Special Overall Grades:
- S - Perfectly new.
- T - Special Purpose vehicle.
Most auctions will also provide you will a grading of the interior's condition.
- A - Good condition
- B - Normal wear condition
- C - Needs cleaning/repair
- D - Needs much cleaning/repair
The Car Diagram:
All inspection sheets have a diagram of the car's body. There will be a lot of different marks inspectors will place over this diagram to describe what they see. The following is the most common marking scheme:
- A - Scratch mark
- A1 - About a thumb's width
- A2 - About a palm's width
- A3 - Larger than A2
- B - Section that needs repair work
- C - Corrosion exists
- M - Repaired mark
- W - Repaired wave. Very common to see 1-2 on older cars.
- R - Rust exists
- P - Repainting needed
- X - Body panel needs replacing
- XX or XXX - Panel is replaced
- - A line is generally to show where a scratch is.
- U - Dent
- U1 - Thumb's width
- U2 - Palm's width
- U3 - Larger than U2