Buying a used car can be a great way to save money, but doing your research first is essential. One thing you should always do is check the car’s history. This can be done easily by getting a vehicle history report (VHR). You can do this by using its Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and getting a VHR from authorized government agencies, such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), or your state’s department of motor vehicles.
These VHRs are acquired for a fee. However, car dealerships often provide this report for free. If they don’t, you can ask for one, and they should go through the information with you.
Here’s why it’s essential to get a VHR before buying a used car:
When you’re buying a car, it’s essential to know its history. This includes information such as how many owners the vehicle has had. The more owners it had, the more likely the car has been in an accident or had recurring problems. Suppose the car had more than two owners already. In that case, it’s a good indication that you should have a mechanic check it out before making your purchase, or you might consider choosing a different car. That way, you can ensure you’re getting a quality vehicle.
It’s also essential to know what kind of driving conditions the car was used in. If the vehicle was driven in harsh conditions, such as off-road or in bad weather, it’s more likely to have problems such as rust or engine damage.
Additionally, the car’s history will tell you if it’s been recalled, meaning that it had a serious safety issue that needed to be fixed and whether the issue was already resolved. Through the report, you can also find out if any insurance claims were made on the car, which would indicate any damage it sustained.
Avoid Buying a Lemon
No one wants to buy a lemon car and VHRs can help you identify them. These vehicles have been bought and sold multiple times because of severe, unfixable problems. It’s essential to know your car’s history before buying it so you don’t end up with a lemon. These vehicles went through numerous ownerships because the same issues keep surfacing, no matter how much money is poured into repairs. Hence, avoiding lemon cars is a must because you might spend more on repairs than you would’ve if you bought a different vehicle.
How it was Maintained
Knowing a used car’s maintenance history will tell you how often it’s been serviced and if it’s been appropriately maintained. One way to understand a car’s maintenance history is to check for service records. If the previous owner kept meticulous records, that’s a good sign that the vehicle was well-cared-for. You can also ask the seller if they have any prior maintenance records.
You might consider finding out where the car was previously maintained. You might consider bringing the car to the same mechanic since they’ll understand the car’s history well. For instance, if the previous owner brought their Subaru to a specialized auto shop, you might want to consider doing the same. A certified Subaru mechanic can better assess the car’s needs and potential problems, especially if they’ve serviced it before.
Another way to understand a car’s maintenance history is to look for signs of wear and tear. Look for things like fresh oil changes, new brakes, and new tires. Given this, you should also know how often to take the car’s make and model for maintenance. For example, Toyota cars are recommended to be taken for routine maintenance every 5,000 miles or every six months. If the vehicle has been well-maintained, it should look and feel in good condition.
Reveals Any Past Accidents or Damage
It’s essential to know the history of a second-hand car, including any past accidents or damage that the vehicle may have sustained. If the car has been in any accidents, you will want to know how serious they were and if the vehicle was repaired correctly. You will also want to know if the car has been in significant repairs, such as an engine overhaul or a new transmission. This information will help you make an informed decision about whether or not the car is a good purchase.
When buying a used car, it’s essential to have as much information about the vehicle as possible. You may be saving a lot by going for second-hand, but if you’re not careful, you could end up with a car that has a lot of hidden problems that might eventually become yours. Hence, going through a car’s history might be daunting, but it’s definitely worth it in the long run.