Buying a used car is an excellent money saving option that provides you with reliable transportation. However, no two used cars are alike. When taken care of by the previous owner, a used car can last a decade. When neglected, you’ll find that you’re simply purchasing someone else’s car problems.
So, how can you make sure the used car you’re buying isn’t junk? Before you find yourself calling this California Lemon Law attorney, there’s one trick you can use to view a vehicle’s history of repair, accidents, and maintenance. It’s called a VIN check. Here’s how to run one of these checks for free.
What’s A VIN?
VIN stands for Vehicle Identification Number. Every car is assigned one for easy identification, but this number also serves a sort of medical history for the vehicle. Each VIN is associated with a file that contains accidents, theft, repairs, and any issues with the car’s title reports David Boehrer Law Firm.
To view the full report with every minor detail, you’ll have to pay a company who can gain access to VIN files. However, you can receive the basic information from the file for free. More often than not, the basics are all you need to identify any red flags before making a purchase.
Free VIN Check Websites
Open your web browser of choice and you’re halfway to finishing your free VIN check. There are several websites to consider, and you may want to use each one to ensure you’re getting an accurate check on the vehicle you’re considering buying.
This website is considered one of the best. Simply type in the VIN and you’ll find a treasure trove of information. Data you can score for free via this website includes:
- Performance history
- Safety ratings
- Warranty information
- and more.
National Insurance Crime Bureau
This is a nifty free tool to ensure the legitimacy of the seller. You can enter up to five VIN numbers for free in any 24-hour period from one IP address (which means you can enter even more with a VPN that changes your IP address).
With the National Insurance Crime Bureau, you’ll be able to check everything from the validity of the title to mileage and even salvage history. There’s only one downside, though. This website doesn’t update as regularly at it should, which means the data may be up to six months old.
Like VehicleHistory, all you have to do with VINCheckPro is enter the number and get your results. You’ll receive the basics like age, make, and model. There’s also engine type, country of origin, and recall history.
One of the larger benefits to this site is that it rates each VIN with safety and environmental scores. That let’s you know whether you’re buying a gas guzzler or a vehicle with potential dangers in an accident. Finally, there’s title status and accident history.
When Red Flags Appear
If you do find a few red flags in your free search but aren’t sure if they’re dealbreakers, you might want to consider paying for a full VIN check. Carfax and AutoCheck are the top websites for a thorough report on any car you’re considering buying. Prices range from $39.99 to $59.99.