If you’re in the market for a used car, you simply cannot be too careful these days. Used car salesmen have a sordid reputation for a reason you know? Being completely informed as to the history of a used car can mean the difference between getting a dependable car, and getting a lemon with a host of mechanical, electrical, and other problems.
In recent years an entire industry has been born to help people avoid being ripped off when purchasing a used vehicle. Besides your home, a vehicle may be the most expensive investment you make. There are a number of very important questions that should be going through your head before you sign the dotted line and here are just a few of them:
- Has the vehicle ever been recalled?
- Has it ever had a salvage title?
- Is the odometer reading accurate?
- Is there a lien on the vehicle?
- Has it ever been stolen?
- Was it used as a police vehicle?
The best way to get the answer to all of these questions and more is to get a vehicle history report, and to get that you need the vehicle identification number (VIN).
Get a VIN for Free
A free VIN check is much like a free game of golf, you hear about it, but you never really get one. While there are web sites out there that offer a “free” car history check, they often ask for a membership fee and/or personal information about you that they will in turn sell and soon you’ll see a flood of spam to your email. A few web sites that are not guilty of those two infractions, will give you only very basic information that is of little use to you.
Most Popular VIN Check Services
Best known to the public because of their television commercials with the “Car Fox” is CARFAX. With a valid VIN number, CARFAX can in just a matter of minutes send you a detailed report to either your mobile device or your laptop. They provide information that includes:
- Number of previous owners
- Service records
- What the asking price is compared to retail value
- Any accidents
- Reported miles
With this information in hand from an A+ Better Business Bureau firm, you can make a much more informed decision and perhaps gain some leverage in price negotiations.
Another of the most popular and well known VIN vehicle reporter services is Auto Check. They promise their customers basically the same information as CARFAX, but they also offer a Buyback Protection Plan, which will protect you if you have bought a used car based on their information, that turns out to be a lemon.
If you’re buying a used car without a car history report from one of these services; you are in effect rolling at the dice at a Las Vegas craps table. And you can only hope you get a 7 or 11. With a car history report in hand, the advantage shifts to you and your odds of success improve ten-fold.