VIN search - How, Why and Where to Check VIN History
VIN search is a standard procedure that should always precede the purchase of a used vehicle. Used car buyers search VINs online in order to get an instant vehicle history report from online databases constantly updated with the information coming from companies, organizations and departments that collect used vehicle data. The vehicle history report is a detailed report about hidden problems of a used vehicle and other important information that may seriously affect the purchase value of a vehicle, help you negotiate the price with the seller, prevent buying a problem vehicle or even save lives of the driver and passengers because driving a problem vehicle can be mortally dangerous. This check results play a crucial role not just when making purchasing decision but even whether in makes sense to order a pre-purchase inspection for a specific vehicle. The procedure saves not just your money but also your time.
How does VIN search protect me?
Checking VIN history can prevent serious losses from buying a junk or severely warn off vehicle passed off as a slightly used car is a good condition. The good thing about this is that you don't even have to see the vehicle, you need only the VIN number and you'll be informed about the vehicle's problems immediately and won't waste your time if the vehicle is not worth that. Remember: you should always run check the VIN yourself. Unfortunately, there are dishonest used car dealers that may show you fake reports or the reports that show the vehicle history before the major problem occurred.
What are the hidden vehicle problems VIN lookup discovers?
We would divide the records into serveral categoties, below are the most frequent:
Title issues. The vehicle has or has a branded title in its history. The branded title remains on a vehicle permanenty and can be cleared by means of a title washing scam. Below we list the most frequent branded titles and their most general meanings.
- Savlage - addigned to badly damaged or sometimes stolen vehicles
- Rebuilt, assined to repaired salvage title vehicles
- Junk - assinged to vehicles damaged beyond repair and only good for parts or as a scrap
- Lemon - not as frequent as the above titles, assigned to vehicles if a serions defect that wasn't repaired by the manufacturer after a certain munber of attempts.
In some states the title also has an incidation of what caused the loss resuting in a branded title, like Flood / Water damage, Hail Damage, Frame / Unibody or Structural Damage or Theft.
- Accident records
Damage the vehcle has been exposed to (minor, moderate, major). This record catrgory is very essential because the title doesn not always mention the incident that caused total loss and never damage / loss details. These include accidents / collistions, damage location and severety, water, fire or hail and other types of damage.
Theft and theft recovery (recovered stolen vehicles often get a salvage title)
Lien / loan records. Althoug most used vehicle have at least one lien record in their lifetime a loan record in the history not long before selling is a reason for concern.
Airbag deplyoment anywhere in the history of a car is a more serious issue that one might think at first sight. There are many instances when airbags are not reisntalled properly due to fraudeltn actions of mehcanics or negligence or use of defective replacement parts. As a result, unnkowing buyers drive without protection being exposed to a high rist or being injureed or duying in an accident.
Some diligent VIN research site will dig back in time to lookup and attach damage photos from auctions or other sources to main history reports. These picures are not always available but when found they are very informative and very helpful when you hire a mechanic to inspect the vehicle for you as your last pre-purchase step.
Ownership change dated, registration dates and locations which help estimate possible wear, unreported issues (registration in problem areas)
Odometer issues or scam / rollback, inconsistent mileage readings
Specific vehicle use search (police, government, taxi, driver education and other)
And other important data.
The problems used car buyers should beware of most major damage (such as severe accident, flood, fire or hail damage) and resulting salvage title, lemon vehicle, theft or airbag deployment . Buying a vehicle with one or several such problems, you overpay now and face enormous maintenance expenses later, if you are lucky. If you are not so lucky, you buy a vehicle with serious functional problems that put the driver's and passengers' lives at risk. Driving a "clipped" vehicle which was welded of 2 severely damaged cars can break into two halves at full speed is very risky. Having your vehicle confiscated by the police because it was stolen before you bought it is extremely depressing experience. Not just that you lose the car without any compensation, you also get into troubles with the police.
Is that possible that I get a history report for a wrong or purposefully misrepresented VIN?
If the seller gives you a VIN from another vehicle you'll lookup that vehicle's history. However, if the seller purposefully makes a mistake in the VIN your are checking, for instance, by changing one character to another that looks similar, VIN report decoders will recognize the VIN as invalid immediately because VIN numbers are encoded based on a special formula that allows only very precise character combinations in specific positions. Changing one character will make a VIN invalid. For this reason it is very important to locate the VIN an verify it in person before you sign a contract.
What Is Free VIN Research?
This option is widely advertised on the Internet. But in actual fact he so-called free search shows how many records the vehicle history report company has in the database or presence or absense of current salvage title. Buying a used vehicle is a risky business. Every year tens of thousands vehicles are stolen and re-sold to unsuspecting buyers. Over 1 million of 2.5 million accident cars return on the road, many may be not roadworthy. The number of vehicle totaled by the insurance companies then sold at the auctions, patched up and sold as good vehicles is immense. VIN history check is an easy way to detect any of such problems.