The thrill of owning a car and visiting a used car lot to purchase one for yourself can be overwhelming. At that moment, it is understandable if you are not thinking about long-term life goals and how this purchase will affect them. However, there is one important factor that must not be ignored during a car’s purchase – the car’s history.
Why Do You Need the Car’s History?
You should determine the car history to make the right purchase. You do not want to purchase a stolen car or one with a title that has not been revoked. You will only find out about such information by getting a detailed car history.
Also, the kind and quality of insurance you can get on the car depends on how safe it is for use. Insurance companies will usually only provide coverage for vehicles that meet certain standards. While they may insure vehicles with past accident records, they are not likely to provide coverage for those that have not been cleared for road use.
How Can You Evaluate a Car’s History?
1. Free Check
The VINCheck website allows you to check a car’s history quickly and for free. The only requirement is the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) which can be found on the official documents or on the car’s windshield. The VIN system was introduced in 1954 and standardized in 1981 as a method for tracking vehicle history. You can use the VINCheck easily while you are in the car lot. However, it is not very thorough given that it is a free evaluation that does not provide information about accidents.
2. Paid Checks
You can do a more thorough background check using AutoCheck and Carfax, which require you to pay a fee. For example, the single report plan from AutoCheck comes for $24.99, and it is the cheapest. These reports provide extra information such as ownership and usage history, service history, questionable title brands (salvage, flood, fire, or hail). Though this is a more thorough report, it will not account for accidents that were not reported.
3. Independent Inspection
It is helpful to go along with a trusted mechanic on your purchase trip. If you do not have a personal mechanic, have your friends or colleagues refer you to one. The mechanic will perform a thorough inspection of the vehicle’s parts, identifying which parts have been replaced and whether it is a good buy. However, note that their verdict is not to be relied on solely as a go-ahead for the purchase.
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