A Vehicle History Report Won’t Tell You Everything

Alfa Romeo Spider
Alfa Romeo Spider

I have gotten a few emails about this so I thought I would talk about what a Vehicle History Report will and won't tell you.

I am sure most people have seen information and advertisements for a Vehicle History Report, such as Carfax and Autocheck, but are they worth it and can you trust what they say? Well … the answer is bit mixed.

In my opinion you should it is always good to try to get all the information about a used car before you buy it. These Vehicle History Reports hardly give you the whole story of a used car most of the time though.

Let's say you are looking at a used car, such as a Honda Accord.  This Honda Accord looks fine and good to you and you can't see anything wrong with it.  Hell mechanically the car seems to be running fine and the Carfax or Autocheck report come out clean.  So should you buy it?  My answer to this question, “Hell NO!”  You should ALWAYS get a used car checked out by an independent mechanic before you hand over any cash, check, credit card, money order, wire transfer, etc.  Even if that report comes out clean.

The reason?  What you may not realize is that a vehicle history report takes data mostly from insurance companies and dealerships.  That means only cars that have been fixed via an insurance company claim will show up on a Vehicle History Report.  Sooo, it can tell you data that is useful but you must realize something.  Body shops are not required to report to any state agencies or databases the work they perform.  That means it is easy for a body shop to repair a car and sell it to you even if you check a vehicle history report.  Dealerships and body shops do it all the time actually.

I have a friend and his dad used to paint cars in NASCAR back in the day.  If I took a car that I had to him that needed some bodywork or had been in an accident, he could make my car look like new.  It would be hard to tell if the car had been painted and it wouldn't be reported to anywhere and therefore wouldn't show up on a Carfax or Autocheck report.  

Besides most vehicle history report systems can never keep up with the amount of cars getting into accidents.  (That sounds unfortunate but true!)  Bottom line, cars should be checked out by a professional mechanic before you bu no matter what.  

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Important Tips when Buying a Used Car

Alfa Romeo Spider
Alfa Romeo Spider

Important Tips when Buying a Used Car

With 2013 bringing so many great new cars to the market and with new car sales trending upwards for 2013, many people are getting into new cars while selling off their old cars. This has made a great opportunity for used car shoppers since these used cars typically are only owned for a short period of time (1-5 years).

However buying a used car it can be challenging for first-time drivers or people who have a limited budget to spend. A few good tips can help in making a wise decision and choice when shopping for that perfect used car.

Budget

Figuring out how much you can spend on a used car is the first step you need to make before take the plunge into shopping. Have you checked you credit scorce? Do you know a reasonably amount you can borrow? This will ensure that you do not get swayed by a salesman who will try to lure yo to buy a used car, or even new car, you might not be able to afford.  Please read my article “The DOs and DON'Ts of Car Financing” to get a better idea of what you need to do and think about.

The Right Fit

Just like a baseball glove or sweater the you car buy should be a suitable fit for, your lifestyle, and preferably style. Though you need to be flexible about the color of the car and features when buying a used car, looking through all the car options that fits within your budget including contemplating on the pros and cons, will help you make the best choice when selecting a used car.

Test Drive

Obviously before you buy a used car make sure to test drive the car you will be purchasing. This will give you an exact idea about the way your potential “new car” works and how you like driving it. While test driving, particularly look for how it feels on the road and how the mechanical systems works such as the brakes, transmission, suspension, etc. Does the engine make any abnormal sounds and vibrations? Are there any general rattles when the car is moving?

Check it Out

Getting a used car inspected and checked by an independent trusted mechanic is a must. Consider what you found on the test drive an d let them know. With the help of a mechanic, ask them to help you inspect the chassis of the car, if the headlights and indicators are working, the battery condition, any repainting or bodywork signs, air conditioning, HVAC, electrical systems, etc. If the car needs repairs it might be fine, but it will allow you to negotiate a much better deal.

If you are not a member of a credit union I would highly recommend joining one in your area. Credit Unions are non-profit and owned by the members who are part of it and not shareholders. This allows them offer much lower rates on loans compared to traditional banks. Many credit unions charge have the same interest rate on new cars as used cars, which is unheard of at traditional banks.

After you have found the best used car for you needs and feel comfortable moving ahead, make sure to negotiate the best possibly deal. Try to make it reasonably for both you you and the seller of the car. Confirm that the paperwork is in place and properly filled out and being transferred to you the new owner and that the current owner actually owns the car. You should be good to go.

Buying a used car for a first-timer or a veteran can still be a challenging and frustrating experience. Used cars can vary widely in condition but if you follow these tips you should be good.

If you have any questions about buying a used car please contact me and I would be happy to help you out.  If you have find this article and information useful please follow Adam’s Auto Advice on Facebook and Twitter.