How To Check Vehicle History

How to check vehicle history


Buying a used vehicle is a great way to save money and the expenses that come with buying new, such as freight and delivery charges.  One of the bad things about buying a used vehicle is not knowing the history of the car.


You can believe what the seller says about the car when they are selling to you, but they are ultimately out for themselves.  I would rather check the VIN through a title search just to make sure there are no surprises.


A handful of years ago I had a car accident that effectively made the car a write off.  So I needed a new, or new to me, vehicle. I didn’t want to buy the vehicle through a private sale because I didn’t want to take the risk that was involved.  I ended up finding a nice vehicle that suited my own needs and that of my family. 


It was a good price and had fairly low mileage, and to me, that was a great deal.  It wasn’t until we started having frequent problems with the heater that we decided we should get rid of it before it became a money pit.


When selling it, the buyer ran a VIN number check and within minutes start talking about the vehicle being in an accident.  Initially, I believed that the buyer was just trying to pull one over on me to get a better price. Then they mentioned it was a few months before I bought the vehicle.  A sinking feeling came over me that very moment. I told him that I didn’t know about the accident, which unfortunately was the truth and I wish I had known about it.


I used to be a little more trusting of dealerships until I found out that I had purchased a vehicle that was in a minor accident.  Looking back I’m not sure if I would have bought the vehicle.


I really didn’t know anything about VIN lookups back then and I want to make sure that you know more about them before you make your next purchase.  There is a good service I have used for my family and relatives.  This is VIN Inspect, and I have never been steered wrong with the car history reports.


If you are wondering what is included in a car history report, it consists of the vehicle specification, title record, insurance records, and problem checks.  This is all generated from the VIN, or vehicle identification number.  The title record shows all the ownership changes that the vehicle has had.  It can act as a check to make sure the seller’s story checks out to what they say.  

Auto body repairs


The junk, salvage, and insurance record has all of the major incident issues that had insurance involved.  You might be surprised how good a car looks after being restored from an accident that was considered to be a salvage.  This might show up in the title record as well as a quick turnaround of ownership, or a dealership could have done this without the extra title change.


Taxi, damage, and rebuild


The final section is a series of problem checks.  The report goes through all the scenarios that indicate a problem and even ones that you should know about before you purchase it.  For instance: whether the vehicle was a taxi, a police car, or was a rental. This does not mean the vehicle is going to give you problems, but it is nice to know in order to evaluate if you still want this vehicle now that you know the history.


Here are a couple of pictures showing a VIN history record sample report.

Vehicle history sample report

Vehicle history sample report

Check VIN Number now.


In the end, I just want you to know what you are getting into before you open your wallet.  Don’t let it happen to you like it did to me.


Where do I find the VIN

Not sure where to find the VIN number on your vehicle?  Check out this video for a brief overview.

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