When you buy a new car, chances are that you aren’t actually buying a brand new vehicle fresh off the lot. Most of us buy cars that are used, and with good reason. In fact, almost 40 million used cars are sold every year, between private-party and dealership sales. Cars that are brand new begin to lose value as soon as they leave the dealership, and for that matter are often rather expensive to buy in the first place. This is why it’s important to get the right level of bang for your buck by buying a used vehicle. However, though it will probably be more valuable and certainly more sensible, used cars come with their own quirks and eccentricities. A lot of these have to do with whoever owned the car last. That’s why the old saying is that when you buy a car, you’re also buying the old owner’s problems as well. It can be difficult to know everything that you need to know about a car when you first buy it. Certainly, if you’re buying the car privately, it can be tricky; sometimes, those selling the car won’t even know all of the information that you will need on hand. Other times, they may attempt to purposefully mislead you, as might some less reputable dealerships.
Or maybe you have nothing to do worry about, and you just really need peace of mind. This can be best accomplished through a VIN check. Unfortunately, many drivers are not even aware that they can conduct VIN checks on their own, never mind what that process would entail. With that being said, let’s look into what a VIN check is in the first place, before looking into how you can have it done.
What Is A VIN Check?
A VIN check is essentially a way of checking up on a vehicle’s history through its Vehicle Identification Number, or VIN. A 17-digit number, you can compare a vehicle’s VIN to a person’s social security number. Every car has a VIN assigned to it in order to make it easier for people to access vehicle history reports. Essentially, VIN checks provide compilations of the car’s history, from accidents that it has been in over the past years to potential crimes that it might be associated with. If the car that you’re thinking about buying has ever been stolen, this check will let you know. The checks are comprehensive, within reason. If for example, a car was in an accident that went unreported by the previous owner, this will not show up on the check’s report. For that matter, there are different types of checks available. You can get a limited VIN check for free, but there are also more extensive checks available through companies that will charge a fee.
Why Should I Invest In A VIN Check?
You may be wondering why you should invest in a more extensive VIN check when a free check is available. The fact is that the more extensive the check, the safer you will be when buying your vehicle. With less extensive checks, there is a lot of information that can fall to the wayside and go unreported. You may miss information on the extensiveness of a vehicle’s prior accident, which regardless of repairs made could affect its reliability in the future. More extensive checks also advise on a car’s prior performance, potential safety issues, warranties, and much more. Some can also prevent you from wasting money, as they’ll give a history of when the car has previously gone up for sale and what it sold for. Furthermore, some VIN checks will also alert you to potential titling issues. If the car has a salvaged or branded title, a check will let you know. A lot of ownership issues can come up when you buy a car with a salvaged or branded title, yet you can easily do so without realizing what you’re stumbling into.
Ultimately, buying a car, even a used car, means committing a lot of money to a vehicle and potentially damaging your credit if you take out a loan to pay for a bad car. Conducting these checks is for your safety, and your peace of mind!