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How to Read and Understand a Vehicle History Report?

Look at any expert literature about buying used cars and you will always find one tip that says to gather the vehicle’s history report. Now, you can easily find the VIN on a used car’s windshield, go to the website of Carfax or AutoCheck, pay around $25 to $40, and get the history report of the vehicle that you are about to buy. But then what? What do you do with the document in hand that contains a host of information about the car? How do you read it? What are you to understand? Things can become way too confusing very fast.

Fortunately, you do not have to worry about all the data that comes in the vehicle history report. When you are looking at used trucks and used cars for sale in Greer, SC, only a few categories on that report are important. Run your finger through the ones listed here. Know exactly what to look for. And buy the best used car with a clean vehicle history report that should bring you the ultimate peace of mind.

Title history

First, you should be looking for terms like “salvage” or “rebuilt” under the title section of the vehicle history report. This directly means that the vehicle had been in a massive accident following which the insurance company deemed the vehicle uneconomical to be sent for repairs. So, the insurer brands the title of such vehicles as salvage. Next, an auto repair shop may come along who may think that the vehicle with the salvage title is fixable. They work on the car, make it road-ready, and after a thorough inspection by the state officials, the vehicle will reach a lot with a rebuilt title. Not always are used cars with a rebuilt title unsafe to buy. Be sure to have a professional inspect the vehicle first

Accident or Other Damages suffered

Used cars in Duncan, Greer, SC that have been accidents may not carry a salvage title. That is why you need to look into this section next in the vehicle history report. Again, not all accidents are fatal to the car and the damages caused are fixable. But you should only consider these used cars provided a professional auto body shop did the repair job. You will get the details in the history report or you can have a mechanic look into the used car first before buying. Beyond accidents, a car may suffer other types of damages from hail, flood, or fire. While hail damage is fixable and irrelevant, damage from flood and fire leaves hidden faults in vehicles that do not go away with repairs. Stay clear from such used cars no matter what the price is on offer.

Ownership history

For this, you will have to look at two simultaneous sections – how many owners did the used car have before you, and when and where was the car bought and sold. The latter is specifically important because you will want to know if the seller is trying to hide any past demons by moving the used car around from one state to another very fast. Often, this strategy is adopted by unscrupulous dealers to hide flood or fire damage to appear on the vehicle history. As for the number of owners the car had, the golden number is surely one but given the current trend of changing cars every 5 years, you may want to settle for 2-3 owners. You may even want to evaluate if you are buying a corporate or rental car that usually carries a higher odometer reading than usual.

Odometer reading

In top affordable car dealerships in Greer, SC, the odometer reading of the car that you are about to buy should match the number that is stated in the vehicle history report. Any mismatch and the dealer should give you a good explanation for the same. Odometer readings are recorded at various stages of a used car and a wide mismatch can only mean that the numbers have been rolled back illegally to increase the price. Even when digital odometers have made it difficult to roll back readings, it is still possible to perform the fraud and you should stay on your guard.

Open recalls

Lastly, check for open recalls in the vehicle history report while buying used cars in Duncan, Greer, SC. It is not uncommon for car manufacturers to recall a specific model to fix a manufacturing glitch. And not all car owners get a timely notification so that they can take their cars to the manufacturer for the said repairs. If you see an open recall in the vehicle history, you can always get it fixed yourself and the manufacturer may reimburse you for the expenses incurred. But that is a rare phenomenon and you should only consider such cars if the offer price is good.


This is personal blog for Family Auto of Greer. All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner is not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner is not liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information. Reader’s discretion is advised.

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