You’re on the quest for the perfect used car, and you’ve heard you need to do a VIN number check to make sure the vehicle you choose is the best value for your dollar. So
what is this VIN check and why is it necessary before buying a used car? It turns out the VIN reveals plenty of information about the history of the car that is helpful in determining the car’s value and its potential for major headaches down the road. We’ve got the tips you need for using a VIN number check to become a savvy used car buyer.
What is the VIN?
The VIN, or vehicle identification number, is like a person’s social security number. Each number is unique to a specific vehicle and provides an interesting history of what has gone on with that vehicle up to the point where you are thinking about becoming its next owner. VINs on cars purchased before 1981 may be anywhere from 11 to 17 digits. Numbers on cars made after 1981 have been standardized to a 17-digit system that is easier to decode and understand. A free VIN number check reveals information unique to that particular vehicle, just like a social security number can give you important facts about a person.
Why do I Care?
While we like to think that all sellers of used cars are honest individuals who only want to provide the best deals to those of us buying a used car, that is unfortunately not always the case. Sometimes, sellers may be trying to make an extra buck by tinkering with the odometer to make it look like the car has fewer miles than it has really travelled. They may neglect to mention important facts like the car has been totaled, salvaged or repossessed.
In some cases, they may not honestly know the entire car history or they may truly forget some of the seemingly minor details about the vehicle. When you purchase a car under these circumstances, it could be the beginning of a really big headache. You may discover all too soon that the awesome car you thought you were buying is really a total lemon, a lemon you are now stuck with.
Protection on Paper
That is where a VIN number check comes into play. By running a simple online search, you can discover most of a car’s history, from how many accidents it’s been in to how many times it’s been sold. Just a few minutes and a few bucks can transform you into a smart car shopper with the power of negotiation on his side.
Check out these nuggets of wisdom you can glean from a quick VIN number check:
• How many times the title has been transferred
• The true mileage of the vehicle
• Whether the car has been reported lost or stolen
• A service record that includes maintenance and repairs
• Lemon history and total loss accident history
• How the vehicle was used (rental, lease, taxi, etc.)
Most of us would love to get these facts before buying a used car, which is why a VIN number check is such a valuable tool for the used car shopper today. With a simple online tool, you can discover everything you need to know to give you confidence and peace of mind in the purchase of your next used vehicle.