Using VIN Number to Check Used Car History Record
By choosing a used car, you can save a lot of money, but you have to be careful to avoid getting a "lemon". Don't risk getting used cars with costly hidden problems. A large number of automobile accidents happen every day and many cars are restored and sold on the used car market.
Although the majority of cars are restored properly and may operate nearly as good as new, those fixed by fly-by-night repair shops can become a nightmare for the next owner. Typically, cars that had been repaired after an accident will probably develop rust, and even mechanical and electrical problems.
Another type of cars used car buyers should steer clear of are those that have been flooded. Flash floods have become a common occurrence and once in a while you might stumbled upon a vehicle that had been flooded in the past.
It may look flawless and drive fine, but if water has entered inside the car it is likely to develop expensive-to-repair electrical problems later on. Odometer fraud is another issue. Even though tampering with odometers is against the law, this practice is still going on.
Used car buyers should also be very careful when acquiring cars that have been previously used as a rental vehicle. Some of the ex-rental cars might be kept in good shape, while others may have been misused or poorly managed. For these reasons, used car buyers should consider checking used car history records before signing the contract. There are lots of companies that offer this sort of service. VinAudit is a startup offering a low-cost alternative to Carfax.
While this isn’t something you need to worry about when purchasing a new car, when purchasing a used car, experts say it’s wise to spend a few dollars to secure a vehicle history report. Most dealers will do a vehicle history report on a used car for interested buyers.
To determine the history, you need the Vehicle Identification Number or VIN. It's a 17-character number with letters and numbers which you can see in the left front corner of the windshield or on the manufacturing label on the door jamb. First, you can check if there are any files available for the car you are interested in. It shows you how many records there are available for the VIN number you enter. If you would like see the records, you have to purchase the full report.
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The vehicle history report also shows how many former owners, some service records and states or provinces where the car used to be registered. The report also includes the vehicle warranty information. When you get the report, pay attention to the dates and the corresponding odometer records.
Needless to say, remember that if the history report doesn't show "bad" records, you'll still have to extensively examine the vehicle on your own and have it inspected by a mechanic. For the reason that not all accidents are reported and the mechanical condition of the car can only be confirmed by a complete mechanical inspection; things like engine or transmission condition are also significant, but they are not marked in the history report.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
James Blanchard writes for VinAudit.com which provides an inexpensive instant car history reports for second-hand cars in the United States. VinAudit is an authorized consumer access service provider for National Motor Vehicle Title Information System(NMVTIS).