Buying a used car can be tricky if you don’t know its history. Fortunately, most cars on the market will have a vehicle identification number, or VIN. You can use a VIN decode service with that number to find out many things about the car’s history.
1. Past Ownership
One of the most important things that you can discover with a car history search is the car’s ownership history. It will list every person that has owned the vehicle, which can help you to determine the car’s real age and how much the current owner is likely to know about the vehicle’s history. This part of the report will not tell you everything that you need to know on its own, but it will provide the context that helps you to assess the rest of the report and give you a general idea of its history.
2. Accident History
You will also discover the car’s accident history when you check VIN number of the vehicle. That part of the report is one of the most valuable tools that you have for determining the car’s condition. A vehicle that has been in a large number of accidents is likely to be in poor condition. On the other hand, one that has never been in an accident will likely be in excellent condition, since it will only have suffered the usual wear and tear rather than any catastrophic damage.
3. Flood Damage
Water can do catastrophic damage to a car, but the damage is often subtle and difficult to spot. The easiest way to check for water damage is to look at the VIN record to see if it has been exposed to any flooding. As long as the car has not been involved in a flood, it is likely to be free from the vast majority of water damage.
4. Maintenance Records
Every car needs maintenance, even if it has never been involved in an accident. A VIN checking service will reveal all of the recorded maintenance that the vehicle has received. This is valuable in part because it will tell you which problems the car has had in the past, but also because it shows which parts have been serviced recently. Those components are unlikely to break down in the near future, so recent maintenance can be a good sign.
A lien can be placed on a vehicle in a number of circumstances, which means that it is being used as security for a debt. If a lien is present, it will show up on the VIN report. This is vital information because the lien can complicate the sale to the point where it is often best to wait until the lien is discharged before buying.