Buying Used? Get A Vehicle History Report!

Purchasing a new car can be risky business.  There are several things you should do in order to ensure you are making a good investment in your used car purchase, such as: taking the vehicle for a test drive, getting a certified mechanic to perform a pre-purchase inspection, and obtaining a vehicle history report.

What is a Vehicle History Report?

A vehicle history report is sometimes referred to as a used car report or a VIN check.  It is used to protect car buyers from purchasing vehicles that have been deemed unsafe, stolen, or unreliable.  It also helps prevent title fraud.  This report is able to give detailed information on the vehicle by using the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) assigned to the particular vehicle. The information found on this report is specific to the actual car, not just generic information about the make, model and year. 

A lot of useful information is obtained with this report.  A potential buyer can see all the past owners of the vehicle, documented maintenance history, title history, flood and accident history, any liens held on the vehicle, and whether or not the car has been deemed a car with excessive mechanical issues.  The buyer can examine the report and determine whether or not to continue with the purchase.

Obtaining a Vehicle History Report

If you are buying a used car from a dealership, the dealer will likely provide you with the vehicle history report.  If you are buying from a private seller, they may or may not offer to provide a report to you.  In that case, before proceeding with the purchase, ask for the VIN number and get the report yourself.  Getting a full report from a reputable source is inexpensive, and will likely cost less than going out to lunch.  There are reports you can receive that do not cost anything, but they will not give you as much detailed, specific information.  The National Motor Vehicle Title Information System is put in place to assist consumers who wish to obtain vehicle history reports. 

Purchasing from Private Sellers

Be extra cautious when purchasing from a private seller.  Most of these purchases are considered "as is," and will not have any type of warranty on the vehicle.  In addition to obtaining a free vehicle history report, be sure to get a pre-purchase inspection in order to ensure that you are making a wise purchase.  It is better to be safe than sorry when making an investment in a vehicle.