Buying Used Cars – Knowing About Vehicle History Reports

You are excited because you are about to buy your very first car. Thing is, you only have enough money to buy yourself a used car, a pre-owned car, if you will. Aside from the fact that you should only seek classifieds that are reputable sources of cheap used autos for sale in US, it is very important to keep in mind that you need to check the history of the vehicle as well.

Used car listings in US, however reputable they may be, they would still have some cars that are bad buys. To avoid this, you have to do a Vehicle History Reports Check using that car’s VIN or Vehicle Identification Number.

But how can you do this as a buyer? Do you hire a private investigator and track the owner and his car’s history. Nothing drastic like that is needed.

What you can do, after finding a potential car in a site that sell used car in United States, using the VIN of said car, check the history via Carfax or Experian’s Autocheck. You may have to shell out around $15 for Autocheck and $30 for Carfax just for a single check but you can actually avail of their “unlimited” service that you can avail for the period that you are checking out cars to buy. For that, you have to pay Carfax $40 while $25 for Autocheck.

What do these services do?

  • With the car’s VIN, this service can search the database of different DMV’s of the specific state your potential car has been owned in, manufacturers of that car and dealers that dealt with your car. This vehicle history service can even check police reports and repair shops details on what has happened to your car.
  • It can give you data on who the car’s previous owners, when the car was sold and how many times it passed around hands.
  • In terms of police reports, it can say if which parts were wrecked if the car has been in an accident. You can be more meticulous in these areas, especially the air bags as some repair shops skip this.
  • It can even tell you if the car used to be government owned.

This information will help you “haggle” with the seller in terms of the car’s price. Besides, the more you know about a car, the more you can decide if the car is worth your hard earned money. You would also know which parts you would have to inspect closely yourself (or which parts your mechanic will have to check closely).

Unfortunately though, if you are about to buy a car before 1981, then you may be out of luck because VIN’s only became mandatory after this year. Some cars may have VIN’s but you would have to be extremely lucky to have this. Also, some accidents may not be included in the car history report as some accidents that have damage below $1000 are no loner reported.

So even if you do a car history check, still make sure to have your mechanic check the car as the report is not that perfect. It is just a supplement that will help you check the car you are about to buy.