Buying a used car is an investment, sometimes a rather large one, and you can save yourself a lot of potential headaches, costly repairs, and maintenance fees if you obtain a car’s history report prior to purchasing a vehicle. There is no easy way to tell if a car has been damaged in a way that will cause problems down the line. Often, even a mechanic might not catch a problem during a regular check up.
With such vehicles, a problem is rarely noticeable until a major failure occurs, which will usually require the owner to spend a hefty sum in order to get the car in working order again. Purchasing a car can be equated to purchasing a home and it is a very good idea to do a thorough check of the house’s history, repairs, and anything that might require fixing or repairing in the near future.
Likewise, a vehicle’s history report provides you with a similar type of information which allows you to make a more informed purchasing decision. Most reports usually provide the following information.
1. Past ownership
When purchasing a car, information such as the number of past owners and what the car was used for can provide an accurate portrayal of how a car was used on a daily basis. Perhaps the vehicle was leased or maybe it was even used as a taxi by a previous owner. These are factors that you might find important when making your decision.
2. Odometer check
Leased cars are something rolled back by their owners to meet the mileage specified in their contracts or, sometimes, shady used-car dealerships will roll back a car’s mileage to get more money out of a car.
3. Salvage title
A salvage title means that the car was deemed unworthy of repair by an insurance company and written off. A salvage title can be the result of an accident, fire, water, or some other drastic form of damage. Buying a salvaged car can be risky; you can run into costly repairs down the line and the car’s resale value will be drastically reduced. On the other hand, you might be able to purchase a salvaged vehicle for a price that is drastically lower than the vehicle’s value.
Any accident that was reported to the insurance agency will usually end up on a vehicle’s history report. However, minor accident that weren’t reported to the insurance company will rarely make it onto the report. An accident isn’t necessarily a reason to not purchase a vehicle but the damage should be checked out by a certified mechanic that will be able to tell you if it might cause issues down the line.
5. Maintenance records
If the car was serviced at a dealership, the vehicle’s history report will usually have that information listed. On the other hand, if a vehicle was serviced in private garages or by the owner themselves, you will have to ask the owner for maintenance records.
6. Types of Reports
There are two primary types of reports when it comes to a vehicle’s history information: private and public. Both types use the vin as a vehicle identifier and pull up the car’s records based on that number.
- Public – A car’s public vehicle history information is free as it is public record. There are several different databases that will compile a car’s history. In Canada, the Insurance Bureau of Canada is one of the companies that provides such a service. However, the information that is provided by these reports is rather limited. Usually, you will only be able to find out if the vehicle was deemed a total loss through a major catastrophe.
- Private – A private vehicle history report will have a significantly greater amount of information. The prices for private companies can vary widely and, as a result, it is best to pick the one that best thand of time (usually a month). This can be a great option for a person that is looking to buy matches your requirements and price range. Some companies offer unlimited reports for a certain period of time (usually a month). This can be a great option for a person that is looking to buy a car and wishes to check several vehicles within a short time span.
Different checks can provide different types of information so if there is something specific that you want to check, you should make sure that the service that you are planning on utilizing provides this information.