Vehicle History Report
If you are in the market for a used car, you must get a Vehicle History Report AND have the car inspected by a certified mechanic on a lift. Do not buy a used car without these two very important pieces of information. Making an educated decision on a used car purchase can save you thousands of dollars. Don’t make a huge mistake. You have been warned!
In This Chapter:
- Why You Need a Vehicle History Report
- What is In a Vehicle History Report
- Beware of “Free” Vehicle History Reports
- Why You Need to Purchase Your Own Report
- Potential Dealer Scam Uncovered
- What Are Your Options?
- Do a VIN Search Before You Buy, Any Car is a Potential Lemon
- Some Accidents Don’t Show Up in a Report
- Airbag Fraud Alert
- You Need More Than a Record Check and Record Summary!
1. Why You Need a Vehicle History Report
- It gives you a window into the car’s past.
- According to the US Government roughly a half million cars are sold with fraudulent odometer readings annually, costing used car buyers over a billion dollars. Our research indicates many more go unreported!
- The Office of Odometer Fraud Investigations has reported a sharp increase in odometer fraud. Elevated used car prices coupled with a tight supply of low-mileage used cars, has made odometer fraud more profitable than ever.
- Natural disasters such as Super Storm Sandy damaged over a quarter million cars! Many of these cars get cleaned up, rebuilt and put back on the market.
2. What is In a Vehicle History Report
A used car history report contains vehicle records including data from state DMV’s, auto auctions, manufacturers, car dealers, police reported accidents and repair shops. A history report may reveal more about that used car than the seller is willing to tell you.
An AutoCheck Report can reveal:
- Number of previous owners, when it was sold & what states it was sold in.
- Total loss, flooded, rebuilt wreck & salvage titles
- Accident data including airbag deployment
- Potential odometer rollback fraud
- Year, make, model, engine, location of manufacture and installed equipment
- Check if the car has been turned in under the “Lemon Law”
- Exclusive valuable auto auction data
- Indication if vehicle has been certified used, leased, rental, fleet or government vehicle
To get a better feel for what is contained in a report, click here to view a sample report. You’ll be able to go through all of the sections and see how all of the valuable information is presented.
3. Beware of “Free” Vehicle History Reports
Don’t be fooled by empty reports that just give you generic data on a VIN. Some sites out there ask you a bunch of questions to make it seem like they need information to give you a complete report. Don’t be tricked by this tactic! A real history report doesn’t need to know what state you are in.
Some sites out there will really try to make you think they are gathering information by having spinning wheels and status bars waste a bunch of time. These displays are just an illusion. Any legitimate report will be pulled in seconds from information in a database.
No free report will give you the information that you really need. They might give you a lot of information in a slick format but it is not the important information you require before buying a used car. You can get the information contained in one of these “free” reports by yourself without much difficulty.
Don’t get a free vehicle history report and buy a car because the history was “clean” and then send us email in a few weeks when you discover that it was in a wreck that you didn’t know about.
4. Why You Need to Purchase Your Own Report
We have received several emails from ShopUsedCars.org visitors where the seller provided a vehicle history report, only to later find out the car had been in an accident! How can this happen? The report could be out-dated, altered or fake. Why would you trust the seller to show you an accurate report? Spend the money and run your own current report. You’re about to spend thousands on a car, why take the risk for less than $50 bucks. Not so long ago an unscrupulous dealer got arrested just around the corner from my house for creating fake reports and giving them to their customers – unsuspecting car shoppers like you.
5. Potential Dealer Scam Uncovered
It takes some time for data to get into a vehicle history report. Accident data is especially tricky because of all the paperwork involved. A shady dealer can pull off a simple trick.
The dealer can buy a car at auction or take in a trade that they know has been in a recent accident. Now, if they run the report quickly, the accident data hasn’t been added yet. All they need to do is hit print and slap that “clean” report on the window. If the damage hasn’t been repaired, they have the body shop fix it up.
Having your own, most current, report can prevent this scam from being pulled on you. Your report will be newer and much more likely to have the data you need.
6. What Are Your Options?
Your options for a report provider will fall into two categories. 1) Companies that buy as much data as possible about a vehicle and give you a lot of information that you can use to evaluate the car that you may be considering. 2) The very low cost reports that have data from very limited sources supplied by the Federal Government’s National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS). When you use an NMVTIS provider you only get very basic information. ShopUsedCars.org reminds you that you get what you pay for? That is especially true when you are talking about this topic. Even though we don’t really recommend it, for more information about NMVTIS and how to get a report from the Government database, click here to visit VehicleHistory.gov.