About Vehicle History Reports

2013 BMW X5

A vehicle history report contains information about a vehicle’s past. This is available only for used vehicles that have built up a history on the road. A dealer will often get this report for any used vehicle–such as a modern-day car, classic car, heavy truck, light truck, RV or motorcycle–on its lot to show to a customer.

Dealerships usually have subscriptions to large vehicle history report services, such as CarFax or AutoCheck, and will run reports for prospective buyers. The National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS), run by the United States Department of Justice, also lists companies that can provide vehicle history reports. Be wary of a prospective seller that is wary of getting a report like this to you, or would have a problem with you running it yourself. If you are not purchasing your used vehicle from a dealer, it is recommended that you get a subscription to a vehicle report service to run all the cars through that you are considering buying.

The vehicle’s price may actually be adjusted a bit if any remarkable events happened while a previous owner had it in their possession.

Now let’s go over some items that may be included in a vehicle history report:

Accident history: Easy enough, and the big issue many people are concerned about, this kind of history shows damage done to the vehicle or if it has been reported in a crash.

Auction history: If the vehicle has been reported at an auto auction, then the vehicle history report may include that information. May be useful to know about if you are interested in where this vehicle has been, like the states of title you can have access to (explained below).

“Branded” title: If a vehicle has this, it means that an insurance company has determined that the car was a complete loss because of some catastrophic event, such as a flood or terrible accident.

Lemon history: Have you ever heard of a car referred to as a “lemon,” but do not know what the term means? A car is called a “lemon” when it has multiple manufacturing defects, and the term is often used to refer to a new vehicle. However, it can be used in reference to a used vehicle that was improperly repaired after an accident.

Mileage readings: You want these numbers to have increased throughout the vehicle’s life, not decreased. If they have decreased, the vehicle history report may elaborate on DMV-reported odometer problems.

Service records: Here you will find out what types of service have been done on the vehicle. Pretty simple.

States of title: If you are interested in where the car has been owned, check this out. Maybe the car used to be owned 2,000 miles away, or maybe it has always stayed in state.

Ask the folks at Car City West in Clive, IA, for more information on this kind of report! Car City West is a local used car dealer that carries vehicles from leading manufacturers such as Chrysler, Dodge, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, and many more! We hope this article has helped demystify what is behind vehicle history reports!


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