One of the most crucial steps that you can take before purchasing any used car is to conduct a free VIN lookup at VinPit to review the vehicle’s history report, which essentially acts as a window into the vehicle’s past.
This in turn can provide you with a wealth of material that will allow you to make an informed decision on whether or not you should buy the car and also how much you should pay for it.
After all, these reports will usually dive in-depth into comprehensive details about any vehicle’s accident history, past ownership, mileage, title status, and more.
And the best part is that all you need to know is the vehicle’s license plate to get started. But before you try to find the vehicle owner by license plate or make a final purchasing decision, there are a few important factors to take into consideration when reviewing a vehicle’s history report.
#1. Has It Been Involved In Any Accidents?
One of the most important things to consider is whether the car has been in any previous incidents or collisions that may have potentially caused severe structural damage. In such cases, the accident information will typically specify which parts of the car sustained the most amount of damage, but it is also recommended that you get an independent mechanic to search for any additional structural issues.
After all, some unscrupulous auto shops can even end up installing used airbags in cars. Plus, the added benefit of these reports in a sale is that they can provide you with an opportunity to bargain for less money for its purchase. You’ll also want to review the vehicle’s title history, as this will allow you to determine if it has ever had a salvage title, which would mean that an insurance company labeled it a total loss but it was later rebuilt.
#2. When and Where Has It Been Sold?
Any comprehensive vehicle history report will usually indicate when and where the car was sold in the ensuing years. And it can often be a red flag if the vehicle happens to have been bounced from state to state within a short period of time, as it indicates that there may be something negative about the car in question.
After all, a vehicle that has only had one previous owner will usually be more valuable than one that has had multiple owners. In this respect, you should make use of license plate lookup tools like VinPit that can help you piece together the number of vehicle owners it has had.
#3. Does It Have An Outstanding Lien?
If you are planning on purchasing the vehicle from a private seller, then you need to check the vehicle’s history for any outstanding liens that may still be pending on the vehicle. After all, if the current owner of the vehicle happened to have initially financed its purchase and the loan has not yet been fully paid off, then the loan will need to be repaid before any official car title transfer can take place.
#4. Has The Vehicle Been Serviced Properly?
Vehicle history reports will typically show if the car has had any major periodic maintenance and repairs performed. And while it is not realistic to expect that every oil change will be documented in the service history, the report can at least give you a general sense of whether or not the vehicle’s major service intervals were correctly met.
It will also act as an indicator of a persistent problem if you happen to notice that the same major component is constantly being replaced multiple times. And in the event that the report does not reflect any maintenance that has been performed, it will at least mean that you need a mechanic to inspect the vehicle so that they can examine the car and its parts to ensure that everything has been serviced properly.
#5. Does It Have Any Open Recalls?
One of the most vital aspects of owning a vehicle is making sure that you head over to the dealership whenever you get a recall notice, as failure to do so can put both you and your passengers, as well as other road users, at risk.
However, not every car owner tends to pay attention to recall alerts, not to mention that the notices that are being sent out by the respective carmakers can sometimes end up being misdirected when the car ownership changes.
In this respect, reading a vehicle history report can often ensure that you are fully aware of what recalls may have been issued by the manufacturer as well as whether or not the relevant repairs were made.
In this respect, if you happen to be purchasing the vehicle from a dealership, you should keep in mind that most car dealers will normally include a free vehicle history report with the purchase. And if the salesperson fails to offer one, then you shouldn’t be afraid to ask, as they are highly likely to throw one in if you say you require it to close the deal.
If you are looking for the most complete information on a car’s history, then you will either need to head to the DMV or use a third-party lookup service like VinPit. And while the DMV seems like the most straightforward option, the problem is that you are unlikely to gather any relevant information on a vehicle owner, as most of the details tend to be protected under data privacy laws.
However, with a license plate lookup service, you will be able to access any and all major red flags on a car, like liens or salvage titles, as well as other important details, like the number of past owners that the vehicle has had. Plus, all you will need to get started is the license plate number, and within minutes, you will have access to the information without even having to pay any fees in the process.