What will a vehicle history report tell you? It details who owned the vehicle, if/when it was in any accidents, and tells the title status, mileage and more. Typically, people get the vehicle history report from Carfax.com, which is a major provider, though there are others like AutoCheck.com.
How to Obtain a Vehicle History Report
What do you need to know in order to find the vehicle history report? You’ll need to know the VIN number--VIN stands for vehicle identification number. To find the VIN number on a vehicle, stand on the driver’s side and look at the corner of the dashboard where it meets the windshield. If it’s not there, open the driver’s side door and look at the door post for the number.
Does a Dealership Provide One?
Many dealers will offer customers vehicle history reports as part of their sales process. Some offer the reports for free. If you ever have to pay for one, expect to pay between $25 and $40 or so. Should you want to obtain the report on your own, simply go online to a site like Carfax.com where you’ll enter the VIN number and then obtain the information you want.
The Benefits of Vehicle History Reports
Why do people like seeing a vehicle history report? It’s kind of like a vehicle’s “report card,” and will give potential buyers an idea of where the vehicle has been, how it has been treated, and whether or not they really want to buy it. For instance, the report might indicate the vehicle was in an accident and that could be a deal breaker. Or, if the “price is right,” some buyers might be willing to “take a chance” on that formerly damaged vehicle because they’re getting it for a “great deal.” It’s all about perspective, isn’t it?
Sources for Vehicle History Reports
A vehicle’s accident history is obtained from sources like state motor vehicle departments, insurance companies and collision repair shops. Things like airbag deployments or structural damage would be listed. Most reports will also share if the vehicle has received fire, flood or hail damage.
As for title history, if you see the word “salvage,” then you should understand an auto insurance company determined, at one time, the vehicle wasn’t economically viable to repair-- and declared a total loss! That said, someone ended up repairing the vehicle so that it was good enough to be back on the road. Most buyers avoid vehicles with salvage titles.
Masking of Damage
Finally, when looking at a vehicle history report, notice if it has been sold and resold many times, from state to state to state. If so, this could hint that there’s something wrong with the vehicle and people were/are trying to clear negative information from the vehicle’s title and/or masking damage.
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