A vehicle history report is your key to knowing as much as you can about a vehicle. As important as they are to making an informed decision on buying a car, not all dealerships provide free access to some sort of history report. Regardless, you should always get one if you’re serious about buying a vehicle. You need to know exactly what you’re paying for when it comes to such a big investment. Here are the top 5 reasons why vehicle history reports are essential.
- 1. Vehicle Damage — If an insurance claim was filed for an accident, the report will tell you. Most reports also make a special distinction if the accident caused actual structural damage to the body of the car, which is cause to be wary. Repairs and maintenance procedures performed in a shop should also show up, telling you how well the vehicle has been taken care of.
- 2. Ownership History — The report will tell you exactly how many drivers are on record, their period of ownership, and in what area the vehicle was most likely driven. The report typically also contains odometer readings when the vehicle exchanged hands. By comparing the mileage with the length of each driver’s ownership, you can see how hard a vehicle has been driven. Use this to estimate the life expectancy of the vehicle.
- 3. Flood Damage — You may not be living in an area that’s known for flooding, so this might be the last thing you’d think of when looking at used cars. Sellers will sometimes move used vehicles with a history of flood damage across the country to an unsuspecting location in an effort to quickly unload them. If any flood damage has occurred, the history report should list it. This is a big red flag for buyers and an indicator of a very short life expectancy.
- 4. See if the salesman is being straight with you — Familiarizing yourself with a vehicle’s history report can give you an incredible amount of leverage against a dealership. This isn’t to say that you should be trying to take advantage of them even if the report is clean, but you should have the comfort of knowing that they’re not trying to cover anything important up.
- Getting a report is inexpensive — With the wealth of useful information available on vehicle history reports, there’s really no reason not to. The last thing you want to do is make a several thousand dollar, or a tens of thousand dollar investment, only to realize that you’ve got a lemon on your hands. The cost benefit of buying a report and preventing something like this from happening is huge.
January 1, 2013 by Jamie Rettig