How to check a Used Car History

When considering purchasing a pre-owned vehicle. It is important to get as much information about a used car history as you possibly can. This will help you make an informed buying decision.

Contrary to what most people think is CARFAX™ is not the only car history reporting company in the marketplace. If you Google® used car history you will find other companies that supply reports. CARFAX™ is simply the most recognizable name. You do have choices if you prefer options.

The wonderful thing is most dealer web sites have a free report you can view while shopping online. You can also request this information at the dealership. Most if not all will give you a history report free of charge.

If you’re buying from a private party seller, you can simply Google® used car history reports and choose the provider you feel most comfortable with. Autocheck™ and CARFAX™ will be the two most reliable reports. It’s never a bad thing to get both, especially if you’re buying from a private seller or independent used car lot.

What information you want to pay particular attention to would be the following:

  • Salvage Title
  • Reconditioned Title
  • Odometer Issue or Rollback warning
  • Hail Damage
  • Flood Damage
  • Accident (minor or severe damage)

These warnings will be clearly visible on the report. Use caution if choosing a vehicle with these warning signs. Remember you may be saving a lot of money now, but at some point in time you have to trade or sell this vehicle. So the report will haunt you at trade-in time as well.

If the history report shows a “minor accident” keep in mind that could have been just that minor. Fender bender for example, maybe the car was backed into in a parking lot or similar occurrence. Just because a vehicle has been scratched or dented does not automatically make it a bad car. If the repairs are done right and properly you will be fine.

Having reliable information will help you make an informed decision about purchasing a used car. The information is easy to get with a VIN number from the car, that’s all you need.

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