You have your heart set on a used car. It looks like it’s in great shape. You decide to check its vehicle history report and discover it’s actually a dud.
Even great looking cars can be hiding less-than-ideal pasts. Luckily, you found out beforehand.
Moral of the story: Don’t buy based only on what you think you see. Check the vehicle history report so you can make a truly informed buying decision.
Benefits of a Vehicle History Report
A vehicle history report provides information about a used car pegged to its unique vehicle identification number (VIN). If you’re buying from a dealership, you can probably be less concerned about the vehicle’s history. But if you’re making a deal with a private individual, get the report first.
Reading the Report
The report will include the following:
- Owners and how they used the car (for example, if it was a taxi or business vehicle)
- Accident reports
- Title information and liens
- Service history
- Odometer readings
Red Flags on a Vehicle History Report
- Numerous owners. If the car has had multiple owners over a short period, it may have problems that can’t be easily fixed.
- Accidents that deployed airbags or caused structural damage. Small bang-ups won’t hurt a car beyond repair. However, more serious accidents can permanently damage a vehicle.
- Salvage title. If a used car has a salvage title, an insurance company has said it shouldn’t be driven anymore. Still, someone tried to repair the car so it could drive again — even though it shouldn’t.
- Liens. What if the current owner still owes money on the car? The sale of the car will have to happen in a specific way.
Do you have other questions about your vehicle? Reach out anytime.