Are you considering getting a used car? Not so fast! While purchasing used cars is a great effort at living a more sustainable lifestyle, there are some things you need to do first before sealing the deal. One of those things is ensuring that you know every single thing about your soon-to-be vehicle, including its history.
Believe it or not, there’s a record out there of everything that has happened to everyone’s vehicle. You might think your car’s history isn’t important, but it’s the complete opposite. As the new owner of a new car, you need to know every life event that the car has been through, may it be major or minor.
What Is a Vehicle History Report?
As its name implies, a Vehicle History Report or Vehicle History Check is when an approved National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) Data Provider inspects and reviews a car’s historical information, which is made possible thanks to a VIN check.
Why Get Your Car’s History Checked?
It’s incredibly important to check a vehicle’s history, especially if you plan on trading or selling it. After all, you don’t want to run into any surprises that could affect your car’s value and reduce its worth significantly. On the other hand, if you’re the one purchasing a used car, you should definitely ask the previous owner to provide a VHR for you to review.
That being said, here is a list of all the information you’ll receive if you get your car’s history checked. It’s a comprehensive list, and it’s easy to see why it’s so important.
Believe it or not, but a Vehicle History Report is able to determine whether your car has undergone damage from other sources, such as floods, hail, fire, or others. To be specific, car damage caused by flood and fire are what you should watch out for because these two factors usually have a vehicle’s trade-in value. This is because they usually result in problems related to a person’s safety, like electrical issues, for example.
Depending on how a vehicle has been used throughout its lifetime, there are different “brands” you can apply to its title. For instance, if your car’s history revealed that it was once totaled in an accident, then your car would have a salvage title. In other words, an insurance company took a look at your vehicle and declared that it’s a total loss, and later on, your car was rebuilt and reused once again.
As for accident histories, this information is gathered by motor vehicle departments, law enforcement agencies, repair shops, and insurance companies. Given that there are various parties that collect your car’s accident data, it’s no wonder that this information would also appear on its VHR.
That being said, the information revealed can vary. Sometimes it can be very general and vague, with the description merely saying that some kind of collision has occurred in that particular vehicle’s lifetime. There’s also a chance that the information will be more detailed, with the text relaying every bit of damage sustained by the car, where it’s located, etc.
While it’s true that not every mechanic takes note of your car’s routine maintenance, but there’s a lot of mechanics who do, which is why vehicles usually have a record of when and where service was provided to them. This is great for potential buyers because it gives them an idea as to whether the car they want to purchase has been faithfully maintained. Plus, this information can potentially increase your car’s trade-in value, which means you can sell it for a higher price.
If you’ve been driving for quite a while now, then you’re most likely aware that a vehicle’s mileage (otherwise known as an odometer reading), is tracked and documented during different periods of time. For instance, mileage is usually recorded when there’s a state inspection, service appointment, state registration, or whenever a vehicle is being handed over to a different owner.
Naturally, it would be very strange if the current mileage on the vehicle doesn’t match the mileage listed in the VHR. You need to be wary of a tactic known as “rolling back,” which is illegal because this is a tactic commonly used by scammers who want to reduce the mileage of a vehicle to give it a higher sale price.
Sales and Ownership History
As you might have guessed, the sales and ownership information provided by the VHR shows the very first time a specific car was bought after its manufacture date. From there, it also shows every single transaction that comes after, such as data on where that car was bought or sold.
Unsurprisingly, cars that have only had one owner so far in their lifetime usually have a much higher sales price and trade-in value compared to those used cars that have been through a lot of owners.
Repairs and Recall Notices
Recalled vehicles are actually more common than you may think. There are various reasons why a car would be recalled by its manufacturers, such as performance or safety issues that could seriously affect owners or drivers. With a VHR, you’ll be able to check whether the used car you want to get was involved in any recall notices. If that’s the case, you’ll also see whether repairs were required to remedy the issue or if it wasn’t anything too serious.
If you want to know whether a used car was able to pass inspections and tests, then you should definitely request a VHR.
The fastest and most convenient way you can request a VHR is by using online services—there’s a variety of services available out there, you only have to do a little Google search. If you ever decide to request a VHR for your car, then you need to ready your VIN or Vehicle Identification Number, because this procedure will be rendered impossible without it.
Whether you’re the one selling or buying a used car, you must never skip the process of getting a VHR.