What Is a Vehicle History Report?

What Is a Vehicle History Report?

The auto-buying process can be complicated, especially if you’re looking for a used car. How can you tell if a vehicle is ready for the fast lane if you buy it? What are some ways to ensure a hassle-free sale if you are selling? A vehicle history report can help.

A vehicle history report might reveal information about a car’s past. For example, these reports indicate who owns a car, what repairs it has received, and whether it was in an accident or not.

In this article, we’ll examine the most critical aspects of a vehicle history report so that you can make an informed buying decision.

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What Is a Vehicle History Report?

A vehicle history report is a collection of documents that provide information about a used car that may influence your purchase decision or how much you pay for it. Thousands of sources are used to gather information about the vehicle’s life. Such information may help answer the following essential questions:

  • How many people have owned this car?
  • Was this vehicle involved in a collision?
  • Is the odometer’s mileage correct?
  • Has this vehicle recently been inspected?

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What Is Included in a Vehicle History Report?

A vehicle history report contains all of the information a potential buyer needs to know about a vehicle’s background. You can get a reasonable indication of the present condition and value of the car because it informs you how it’s been treated. This information tells if you should buy the car without physically inspecting it.

Below are a few highlights from the vehicle history report:

  • Salvage title: A car that has been in a major accident, fire, or flood and has been “totaled” (considered a total loss) by the insurance company may still be driveable. However, the insurance firm will issue a “salvage title” to warn potential buyers. In most circumstances, you should avoid vehicles with salvage titles because they have a low market value and may have hidden faults.
  • Accidents: Serious collisions are reported to the insurance company and will almost certainly appear on the car history report. Minor mishaps are occasionally included as well. So don’t think that every accident is a reason to dismiss a perfect used car.
  • Odometer rollbacks: Shady car lots may reset the odometer to enhance the vehicle’s selling price. This scam is flagged in history reports.
  • A brief history of its owners and usage: It’s pleasant to imagine that the car you’re looking at was just driven to church on Sunday by an elderly lady. However, it’s possible that it was a rented vehicle or even utilized as a taxi. If you order the report, you’ll be able to see when it changed hands.
  • Records of maintenance: On occasion, the vehicle history report will include a list of service visits, which detail the mechanic’s routine maintenance or repairs. If you had the vehicle serviced at a dealership rather than a small shop, this is most likely the case.
  • Information about recalls: This is valuable information, but you can find it free on other sites.

*Be aware, however, that the report does not tell you the vehicle’s mechanical condition.**

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Why Do You Need a Vehicle History Report?

Consider a vehicle’s history report to be its DNA. It keeps track of the vehicle’s detailed history from initially sold until it reaches you. The information is linked to the car’s VIN and can reveal all purchases, registrations, titles, and repairs.

Being prepared is critical when buying or selling a used. Both used car buyers and sellers benefit from a vehicle history report.

  • If you’re buying a used car, a report might help you spot any hidden faults, such as prior flooding or salvage labeling.
  • Showing a vehicle history record to potential buyers while selling a used automobile can help alleviate concerns about the car’s past and, as a result, make it simpler to sell the vehicle.

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How to Get a Vehicle History Report

You’ll typically need the vehicle identifying number, or VIN, to obtain a vehicle history record. Your vehicle’s 17-digit registration number is found on the lower left-hand side of the windshield as well as on your registration card and insurance documents.

Once you have the VIN, you can receive a vehicle history record from various websites, including Carfax and AutoCheck. The cost of the report is usually between $10 and $40. You may also utilize the free VINCheck database from the National Insurance Crime Bureau to determine if an automobile has been reported stolen or is a salvage vehicle.

You may be able to acquire a vehicle history record for free if you buy a used automobile from a dealership or through an online marketplace.

Free Vehicle History Report: How Much Does It Cost?

Depending on the firm you select and the number of reports or plans you want in a given time frame, vehicle history reports can cost anywhere from $25 to $100.

Free vehicle history report options are available for used vehicles for sale at some dealerships and online auto marketplaces.

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Do You Still Need a Car Inspection?

A car history report cannot replace a mechanic’s inspection. However, it’s a good idea to have a vehicle inspected by a third party before buying it to ensure no hidden damage.

Find a qualified mechanic and hand over a copy of the vehicle’s history report. Qualified experts are conversant with systems that have a history of malfunctioning. A mechanic’s evaluation can cost up to a hundred dollars. However, the inspection is worth it since it may reveal mechanical flaws that prevent you from buying a car that will ultimately cost you much more in the long run.

The Bottom Line

A vehicle history report is only the beginning of your study into a used car you might be interested in purchasing. Be sure to test drive and evaluate the vehicle before spending your cash or taking out a loan.

Purchasing a used automobile might be intimidating, but completing your research can help you avoid buying a lemon.

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