Are you looking to buy a previously owned car? Before you choose which car you want to buy, it helps to learn a thing or two about the car. Learning the history of a car can tell you a lot. The information you gather will not be only about the type of car. You can also learn a lot about the previous owners of the car.
Did you know you can find out about previous accidents of a car? There is a lot to the history of a car. The mileage put on the car prior to your purchase, thefts and previous accidents are all part of the history you should learn. Checking the history is very helpful so that you are sure what you are signing up for. If you are such a buyer and are not sure how to go about car history, today is your lucky day. Here are several tricks and tips that can help you know all about the history of the car you are interested in:
- Access an unlimited vehicle history report
Car dealers of a used vehicle have access the unlimited vehicle history reports. The reports contain exclusive information on as many cars as there are in the dealer lot. With such a report, you can comfortably choose the car of your liking based on individual scores.
The history report can be generated from the VIN. Luckily, there are sites online that can provide you this information for free. A great example is vincheck.info or VehicleHistory.com. Alternatively, you can ask the car dealers to provide you with the reports. If they do, be sure to confirm that it contains updated details on the history of the car before you settle on buying it.
- Master the VIN
Every car has a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) that is unique from all other vehicles. The number is sometimes called the body number of the vehicle. It is usually a 17 character long number as per the release of the manufacturer to the car lot. To learn more about a car, you can check out the VIN decoder to learn what every character of the VIN of a car means. By obtaining the VIN, there is a lot you can learn about the target car. Some areas of information include previous car problems, accidents, rollbacks and water damage, to mention a few. You can also get the details on the model year and its manufacturer.
The VIN can be found in different places on a car. Manufacturers attach it differently in various places to ensure you won’t miss it. Some areas to check for the VIN include, the dashboard close to the windshield, the engine block, the door frame of the driver (usually from the inner side), to mention a few. If you try so hard and still can’t find it, it is a sign that the history of the vehicle is not so appealing. The previous user removed it to cover up some of the information.
- Decode the VIN characters
The 17 digits of the VIN have a different set of information to share. Unless you can decode the numbers, there is not much to learn about a car’s history. Here is an analysis of how you can decode the VIN digits:
1st digit – the country of manufacture
2nd and 3rd digits – the brand of the car
4th to 8th digits – specifications of the car, including the engine type and the model
9th digit – authenticates whether the VIN comes from the manufacturer or is a fake
10th digit – the year of manufacture of the vehicle
11th digit – the country where the car was assembled
12th to 17th – the serial number of the car
If you do not know how to source out all this information from the digits, a VIN decoder can translate the information for you, as mentioned above.
Other factors to consider
Before you settle on the car you will purchase, there are some other factors you should consider.
- The authenticity of VIN – VIN cloning is common among used car dealers. If a vehicle has a terrible history, no one will want to buy it. Check out for any signs of tampering of the VIN.
- The price of the car – after identifying the model of the car, the price you get for it should matter. If you find that the price is significantly lower than you would expect of such a brand, then hesitate on the purchase. Besides, when there is a bad history behind a used car, you expect the prices to be lower than when the history is great.
- The pre-purchase inspection – the cosmetic and mechanical aspects of the car you buy matter a lot. This inspection will provide you full intel on whether the safety condition and potential future issues should be alarming,
There is no shame in buying a used vehicle. However, be very keen with the tiny details so you can be sure you are settling for the right deal.