Why You Should Always Get A Full History Report Before Buying A Used Car

Why You Should Always Get A Full History Report Before Buying A Used Car

The average age of a car on the road in the United States is 11.5 years. Although owning a vehicle can take up a decent chunk of your income, there are many ways to save and find a great quality vehicle. Modern vehicles are built to last, so there is little to no risk in buying a used car and being able to rely on it long-term. Newer models may be flashy, but that doesn’t mean they are necessarily better.

Most used car dealerships will give you an accurate history of the car you are interested in; however, everyone should know how to shop smart. Not all vehicle damage or faults are visible for you to notice while inspecting or even test driving the vehicle. From faulty parts to surviving a flood, it’s important to be able to take a look at the car’s hidden history before committing to the purchase. Look for dealerships that provide a car history report, such as CarFax, as a part of their service. The reports are compiled from a variety of sources, such as insurance claims, police reports, and state inspection states. Here are five key questions a car history report can answer.

Was the Car Damaged by Flood or Fire? 

Wildfires, storms, extreme heat, and floods caused more than $300 billion in damagein 2017. Natural disasters might seem unlikely to some, but these events are expected for others. Both personal and commercial vehicles inevitably suffer some of the damage in a natural disaster, or smaller scale incidents such as a house fire that spreads. Either way, it’s important to know if a vehicle on a used car lot has been damaged by one of those events, and if that can lead to long-term problems.

In particular, many flood damaged vehicles reached the market late last year. The federal government, along with market experts, advised buyers to be more cautious while searching for used vehicles, after several hurricanes put damaged vehicles on the market. While you’re taking a first thorough look at the car, keep an eye out for signs of mold or mildew on the interiors, and corrosion near the fuse box and tail lights. (The corrosion will appear as a green or white powder). Since a flood damaged car is rotting from the inside out, it’s unlikely that the car’s condition will improve, even with regular maintenance. The Federal Trade commission has a full list of warning signsand where to report owners or dealers knowingly selling flood damaged vehicles

How Many Accidents Has the Car Been In?

Knowing the vehicle’s accident or collision history is an essential part of figuring out if this is the right car for you, and probably the most important part of the car history report. But does that mean you should immediately lose interest in any car that has been in an accident? Not necessarily.

In the history report, look for damage details, and whether the vehicle was towed or driven away from the scene. If it was towed, that means the car was more seriously damaged from the accident. If it was driven away, the vehicle likely received a few dents or scratches, but not serious damage that impacted the inner workings of the vehicle. However, keep in mind that reporting can sometimes be skewed by the other vehicles involved. For example, if a crash involved three cars and two sustained serious damage, the remaining car may also have been reported as being seriously damaged even if the driver could simply drive away from the scene.

When you take the vehicle to a mechanic, have them check for a paint work, ill-fitting panels, and other signs that the vehicle was potentially damaged and then poorly repaired. Accident history is extremely helpful, but an expert examination of the car will tell you more, and how to take care of the vehicle in the future.

How Many People Owned the Car Previously?

Ideally, a used vehicle should only have a handful of previous owners. People purchase and sell cars for various reasons, and a car in decent shape that’s been bought and sold a few times is normal. Look for whether the vehicle was previously owned by private owners, or if it was a commercial vehicle or part of a rental fleet. A history of private individual owners is more ideal. However, if the car is five years old and has had 10 owners already, that may be a sign that the car itself isn’t that great. But overall, a car’s mileage reflects more wear and tear than whether the vehicle has been bought and sold a few more times than you may anticipate.

What About Maintenance Records?

As much as you may like your mechanic, you don’t want to bring your recently purchased car to them several times in the first few months.

A car that has been well maintained for most of its life thus far is significantly more valuable than a vehicle with a spotty inspection and repair history. As the potential new owner, you want to avoid purchasing the vehicle and immediately having problems with it. You should also double check for safety recallsoutside of the history report.

If the Vehicle Has A Clean History Report, Can I Skip Taking It to The Mechanic?

Although it may be tempting to jump for joy if the vehicle has a clean history, you still need to get it inspected. Keep in mind that the history report is based on incidents being reported to insurance companies, law enforcement, or other agencies, so there is a record. If incidents like a theft or an accident aren’t reported, the vehicle is still at risk for not performing as expected, or even being defective enough to cause an accident.

If you’re shopping independently or a dealership doesn’t offer a car history report as a part of their services, you can pay a small fee to look it up yourself. You just need the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), which is usually located on the dashboard of the driver’s side. Overall, make sure you get a full history report before buying your next used car.

At Fairless Motors, every vehicle we sell not only comes with a free CarFax Report, but also has undergone a complete inspection and professional detailing. All our vehicles are serviced and test-driven to ensure our customers feel 100 percent confident in their new pre-owned vehicle. Check out our extensive inventoryof quality cars, trucks, SUV’s and Minivans.


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