Buying a used car is often a gamble, especially when you’re buying from a dealer. You don’t know the history of a vehicle, how many owner’s it’s has or if it has ever been in an accident. The best way to answer those questions is with a VIN report and many dealerships will produce one for you for free. But what type of information is included on a free VIN check?
Vehicle Accident History
While there is other information on a vehicle identification number report, most buyers are primarily interested in the car’s accident history. Every accident that was reported to an insurance company or recorded in a police record will be shown on the report. This goes for small dings as well as accidents that may have resulted in totaling the vehicle. Sometimes, after a car or truck has been totaled, people with automotive green thumbs will rescue the vehicle, rebuild the broken parts and resell the finished project. Although this isn’t necessarily a reason to reject the vehicle for purchase, it is always good to know whether or not the vehicle has been involved in an accident.
Natural Disaster Damage
It may be good to know if your prospective purchase has had any damage other than resulting from any accidents. This will include flood or fire damage as well as storm damage such from hail or tree limbs. If the incidents have been reported to an insurance company, this damage will be included on a free VIN check.
Especially when buying an older vehicle, you will definitely want to know the actual odometer reading. While most odometers only go up to 100,000 miles, the one on the vehicle you are considering buying could have “tripped” or rolled over more than once. This can help you estimate how much life is left in the vehicle, especially if there have been parts replaced. You’ll be able to see how many miles are on the new transmission, radiator, etc.
A free VIN check will also let you know how many people have previously owned the vehicle, including dealerships. If the vehicle has had multiple owners, then it may bear investigating to see why. A vehicle changing hands frequently could be an indication that the car may be a lemon and might not be a wise investment.
Remember that not all vehicles, especially if they are older, may not have the proper VIN numbers to produce a report. Also, unless the information about accidents or other damage has been reported to an insurance agency or police department, it will likely not show up on a free VIN check.