Buying a used vehicle is a significant investment that requires the purchaser to do their due diligence. This helps to ensure that you understand the history of the vehicle you’re considering.
You can ask the seller questions about the vehicle, but you may find they’re vague or don’t have the information. Reviewing a vehicle history report is often the best way to find out about the vehicle. As you’re reviewing the report, check these six points.
The prior usage can tell you if the vehicle has been used commercially, such as if it was a taxicab. There’s a chance that a vehicle used as a taxi or a police car may have more issues than one that wasn’t. It will also tell you if the vehicle is a former rental.
Number of owners
Vehicles with multiple previous owners aren’t worth as much as one-owner vehicles. One thing to look for when you’re reviewing this is whether it appears the title was washed or not. A washed title means that it was sold many times in a short span, often in multiple states, to remove negative points from the title.
Service history usually only contains major service appointments, and there’s a chance that not all services will show up. If you find a vehicle with a good service record, it’s more valuable than one without a service history.
Accidents lower the value of the vehicle because there’s a chance of safety or mechanical issues with the vehicle. It’s best to have vehicles with accidents or damage on the report thoroughly inspected by a qualified mechanic, so you know what you’re getting into.
Rolling back the odometer is a criminal offense that can scam buyers. Check the odometer on the vehicle against the mileage reports on the vehicle history. If the odometer is lower, it signals an issue with the vehicle.
Title brands include a host of factors, including prior usage. They also indicate if the vehicle was salvaged, totaled, or damaged due to hail, fire or flood. Typically, avoiding a branded title is a good idea because these vehicles may require much more work and repair than ones that aren’t branded. There’s also a chance that you won’t be able to finance a vehicle with a title brand. Insurance may also be challenging.
Consumers have the right to accurate information about the vehicle they’re considering. If you find that the information you were provided is altered, you may have a legal claim. Discuss the matter with someone familiar with these circumstances.