VIN search: 7 Reasons Why It’s Important to Check The History of a Used Vehicle
Buying a used vehicle is not an easy task. From searching for the right car to making the final payment, there dozens of pitfalls that you can easily get trapped into if not careful. The best way to reduce the risks when buying a used vehicle is to conduct a VIN search.
VIN (Vehicle Identification number) is a 17 character code that is unique for each car and can be used to retrieve the entire history record on each car. This vehicle history report helps to remove the guesswork involved when determining if the used car has had any major repairs or has been involved in accidents that makes it less worthy of your investment. Some of the important information you can get through VIN search include:
1. Ownership history
It is best to buy a car with a low ownership history because it usually means that it has had better maintenance and is more likely to be in a better running condition. A high number of owners signals poor maintenance, mechanical issues and also lack of documentation. Some vehicle history reports may also show where the vehicle has been used which will in turn help you determine the condition of the vehicle.
2. Odometer rollback
This is a common practice with fraudulent dealers and sellers. Unfortunately, odometer rollback is quite difficult to detect because the readings are only requested during the registration of the title and other major events. This means that a shady seller can roll back the odometer and keep the miles low to attract buyers. Though odometer rollbacks are subtle enough not to be noticed, some instances can be detected through history checks thereby helping you not to fall in the trap.
3. Lien on the car
Most consumers take loans on vehicles, therefore, you should ensure that you check if the vehicle you intend to buy has lien on it. The VIN search also includes title check which tell you whether the car is safe to buy or not. Be sure to always request to see the vehicle’s log book before taking the plunge to confirm that it is indeed the log book of the car.
4. Accident history
Though accidents are inevitable, it is important to know whether the vehicle you want to buy has earlier been involved in an accident. It is also a great way to tell if the seller is lying to you. In case the seller denies that the car has ever been involved in an accident and report shows otherwise, it is best to look somewhere else. Also, if the car was recently involved in an accident and is now up for sale, you should walk away as the car is likely illegal to drive or un-repairable.
5. Emission failure
Most car buyers overlook this aspect yet it is very important. A vehicle history report will show if the vehicle failed the most recent emission test. However, it is still possible for a used car to pass the last emission test but still fail now due to damage between the last test and now. You should not take an emission failure lightly because it can cost you more than $2,000 to get the car to pass emissions.
6. Flood car
There are certain regions that are prone to flooding. More often than not, the cars that are damaged by flooding are taken far away from the flood region as the buyers in these regions are careful not to purchase flood damaged cars. Unsuspecting customers in other region are in for nasty surprise if they fail to request for vehicle history report before making a purchase.
7. Other damage
Besides odometer rollback, flood, accidents and other pitfalls, there is still a plethora of situations that may have happened to the car such as flood, insurance claim, stolen, hail, fire etc. It is prudent to know if any of these damages have happened to the car before taking the plunge.
How to get a VIN search
To perform a VIN verification , you will need the vehicle’s identification number. You have the following options:· Obtain a free vehicle history report through government run site· Purchase a VIN check through online companies. The government VIN check is not as detailed as online reports. It contains information of vehicle reported stolen but not recovered as well as salvaged vehicles reported by insurance companies. A more comprehensive VIN search check costs about $20-70 but contain multiple reports which is very helpful when buying a used vehicle.