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The Guide to Understanding Car History Reports

Posted by henry lee - 24 September, 2013

Before you buy a used car, especially from a private seller, you should check the car's history report. There is a lot of useful and important information in a complete car history report, and you should make sure you can understand what it all history research

Getting a History Report

As long as you have one vital piece of information, getting a car's history report is rather simple. First, get the VIN (vehicle identification number) for the used car you are thinking of buying. While armed with the VIN number, access a website that retrieves and compiles car history reports and search for the car. Keep in mind that the history reports these online companies can provide are entirely dependent on the honesty and completeness of information given to different sources in the past.

Standard Information

The standard information in a vehicle history report serves to confirm its general identifying aspects. Immediately, you will be able to tell whether the VIN that was searched actually belongs to the car you might purchase. Look for the make, model, year and engine specifications on the history report and compare them to the vehicle. Within moments, any serious fraud will be clear.

Previous Owners

Some information on a used car's previous owners is also included in its history report. In some cases, the report will only include a closely estimated number of previous owners. However, if the car was once owned by a rental car company or as a company car, that will be noted within the history. Many car buyers would rather avoid purchasing a former rental or company car due to the number of drivers that had access to the vehicle over time. Other previous owner-related details you may find of interest are any repossessions or other legal seizures the car has undergone.

Accidents and Maintenance 

A car history report will let you know if the vehicle in question has been in accidents, had serious repair work or has failed to pass required emissions tests previously. A lot of accidents or evidence of vast repair work could indicate an ongoing maintenance issue. An engine might seem to run smoothly during a test drive, but accidents and lots of repairs could cause problems down the line. Also, failed emissions tests point to issues with the engine's exhaust system that may not have been properly fixed.

In addition to the opinion of a mechanic, the history report should be one of the factors you consider before buying a used car. Gather as much information as possible before you choose to buy any car.

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Topics: Car Purchase, Used Cars

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