Vehicle History Tips

He who ignores history is doomed to rebuild its engine.

Eli Blueby Eli Blue

Vehicle history reports like Carfax, Autocheck, and CarProof (Canada) provide an in-depth, inside look into the history of any car. A running record of insurance claims, accidents, and parts trouble are identified in a report and allow consumers to make an educated calculation of a car's true worth. Not a bad deal when close to 8% of all cars are involved in an accident.

Here are some items not to overlook on reading that vehicle history report to get the most value out of your next car purchase or sale.

Knock out misrepresentation – Many car buyers are quick to overlook basic make and model information to go straight to accident history. Don't! Make and model information is often misrepresented. Claiming a V6 engine when it is a four cylinder or an engine unavailable with an existing model is not uncommon. Safety options and standard features may be inaccurate by car owners quick to copy and paste information from an outdated website to list their cars.

Ownership history – Knowing the number of previous owners is nice. However, you will want to pay more attention to record of states owned in. Cars moving from state to state in short periods of time are highly indicative of salvage title changes.  An added tip: watch for cars with previous ownersbip in very cold or hot climates. This may be indicative of damage not reported.

History impact calculator – Don’t neglect Carfax’s history impact calculator to determine a good buying or selling price for your car. Plenty of cars in the same make, model, and year in better condition are being sold for far less.

No substitute for an inspection – Carfax and Autocheck may show clean histories. However, not all problems are reported by the DMV, insurance companies, service facilities, and the many other data sources available. Checkups usually rage from $100 to $150.

By watching for these often overlooked items, you are on the way to securing the best deal.