Posted on: 24 September 2015
Buying a used car from a dealer means all of the cards are on the table-you get to see who owned the vehicle last, what happened to it when it was owned by someone else, what has happened to it since it was traded into the dealership, and what you might want to fix or replace if you buy it. All of this information is on two documents-the dealership's checklist report stuck to the vehicle's window, and the free VIN history report. If you buy your car from a private dealer, you will not have access to that information, but you can still get a free VIN report. Here are three reasons why you absolutely should take advantage of a VIN report regardless of who you buy a vehicle from.
Waterlogged Engines and Damaged Upholstery
This type of problem happens much more often with a private seller than a dealership. Anyone who drove off a bridge or rescued a car from flood waters can resell a vehicle, but they have to get the vehicle into proper resale shape according to the laws of your state. Otherwise you could end up with a water-logged engine and/or moldy and mildewy upholstery. The VIN report will show that the car was a flood rescue or has "water damage," and then you can decide if you want to take the risk on such a vehicle. (If you buy such a vehicle from a dealership, chances are that the dealership replaced everything that was damaged and drained everything that was waterlogged.)
Probably one of the most important factors in understanding where your car came from is on the VIN report. Sometimes cars that are seized in drug raids or repossessed by federal marshals are sold through dealerships or auctions just as easily as your grandma's Cadillac. Cars that came over the borders from Mexico and Canada may also be sold legally in the U.S. if the previous owners have properly transferred the licensing and plates from the previous country to the U.S. In that case, this information should also be visible on the VIN report.
Finally, the biggest reason for requesting and receiving the VIN report on a vehicle you are interested in buying is the accident history. Because the vehicle was registered to other parties, digging this information up on your own would be incredibly difficult due to privacy laws. On a VIN report, however, all of the accidents that were reported to the police and insurance companies will be listed, and you can see all of the parts that were replaced and repaired. Hence, if anything happens to the vehicle's recently repaired or replaced components, you know who to talk to about warrantied service and replacement parts.Share