Risks Associated With Buying Used Cars
Given that vehicles are normally bought and sold for thousands or tens of thousands of dollars, they are the perfect target for all kind of cheaters and obscure dealers who are interested in creating the false appearance that their vehicles have a higher value than in reality. As a result, the buyer suffers and has to bear the consequences (financial loss, compromised safety, compromised car performance, etc.).
Typical scenarios are when vehicles are really worn out and have a big mileage covered so that dealers alter odometer readings to create the illusion the car is in really good shape. Alternatively, the vehicle might have been involved in grave accidents that produced extensive damage and although it is functional, the safety could be compromised or the buyer would face multiple technical problems soon after purchase. One of the worst scenarios is probably when you buy a stolen vehicle unaware of the fact, in which case, you might lose property rights or even have problems with the law.Recommended Solutions
One thing that could spare you from many of these problems is using a VIN checker that can reveal data about the vehicle’s characteristics and its past. Technical characteristics could be useful in assessing the vehicle’s functionality/equipment/value or in assessing whether what is being sold to you matches the original description from the manufacturer (ensuring authenticity and preservation of the original state). On the other hand, history reports help you evaluate what the car suffered on its way from the plant to your dealer.
History reports allow to assess:
- the status of being stolen (or recovered);
- involvement in accidents and subsequent fate;
- repair services contracted and work performed;
- damage inflicted by fire, flood water, hail;
- participation in auctions;
- the correspondence between current mileage readings and last reported readings (from third parties like car services) to detect potential fraud.
How to Conveniently Get the Data
While it is normally possible to retrieve a detailed report at the local DMV office (USA) or local vehicle agency (Canada), there is the much more convenient solution in the form of specialized online platforms. The latter gather information from insurance companies, manufacturers, car services, state and federal authorities, and agencies, etc. and provide it to you in a detailed user-friendly report, highlighting the biggest concerns ranked by priority/severity.To obtain your own report, just locate your preferred platform, introduce the VIN code (17 characters if the vehicle is produced after 1981) and click to perform a check. The different platform might have various implementations and complementary tools that help you gather the data (for instance separate tools to learn about vehicle’s history, to interpret the VIN code, or to run a license plate search). Also, be aware that partial reports including basic data are usually free while detailed reports will likely require a small payment.