• How to Check the Vehicle History before You Buy

    Perhaps the most important thing you can do before buying a used car is to check the vehicle history. It’s simple and it gets you all sorts of information about the car you are considering buying. Moreover, the information you obtain can help prevent you from buying a car that could be a money pit and cause all sorts of headaches.

    The essential information for doing such a vehicle history report is the vehicle identification number (VIN) of the car you intend to purchase. The number appears in the left corner of the dashboard under the windshield. Copy that number down on a piece of paper and then seek out a computer with Internet access.

    First, you can check to see if there are liens on the vehicle by visiting your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles website. Find the page that initiates the search for such information. The page will include a field in which you can enter the VIN. The report generated from this search will tell you when the title was issued and provide the number of liens there are on the vehicle. Print the report out for your own records.

    Next, you can discover if the car has been identified as a lemon. Log on to the website Is-it-a-lemon.com and click on free VIN check. Insert the VIN into the proper field and click. Be sure to print out the report.

    You can also visit Carfax.com. Enter the VIN in the proper field and click. Carfax claims that it has vehicle history reports on all 1981 and later used cars and light trucks. The report you will get from Carfax include:

    • Title Information
    • Flood Damage, Total Loss Accident and Lemon History
    • Odometer Readings
    • Number of Owners
    • Accident Indicators
    • State Emission Inspection Results
    • Service Records
    • How the Vehicle Was Used

    Again, print out the report.

    Finally, visit Experian’s AutoCheck website for a vehicle credit score. The credit score allows you to compare vehicles of similar age and class by comparing their scores. Again, print out the information generated from this search. Now you have several vehicle history reports to compare to see how worthy the car you have targeted is. Moreover, you can use the reports to possibly get a deduction in the cost of the vehicle depending on what the reports say. Or the reports will indicate that you should pass on the car that you had originally identified and seek out another.

    Many of these sites will offer a basic
    free car history report, but more detailed reports may require a fee.