Vehicle History Report Basics

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For most, there’s a lot of research that goes into buying a vehicle. When buying used, there are a handful of other details that are need-to-know that new-vehicle buyers don’t have to worry about. Was the vehicle regularly maintained? How many miles are on it and is the odometer reading correct? Were any recalls performed? 

Thankfully, with the introduction of the Vehicle History Report and sites like Carfax, it’s now easier than ever to view all the details of the used vehicle you’re interested in. Here at Steve Landers Toyota of Northwest Arkansas in Rogers, we offer a free Carfax vehicle report with every used car and certified pre-owned Toyota we sell. You can find a link to a used vehicle’s Carfax on the online listing on our website! 

When buying a used vehicle privately, you’ll have to pay a fee, usually between $20 and $35, to view the Vehicle History Report.

So what information is detailed on a Vehicle History Report? Here are the basics.

Accidents

Has this car been in an accident? That’s one of the questions we get most from customers about used vehicles. Most accidents are reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles of whatever state the wreck occurred in. You’ll be able to see this data on the Vehicle History Report and learn if there was damage to the body, if the airbags deployed or any other issues. 

Service Records

This is where you’ll be able to see when and where the used vehicle was taken to a service department or shop for oil changes and any other maintenance or repair. You’ll be able to tell how well or how poorly the vehicle was taken care of through the service records.

Correct Mileage

A Vehicle History Report will tell you the accurate mileage at different points, checkpoints if you will, in a car’s life. The mileage numbers will be listed when the vehicle was titled or sold and be another indication of how well the vehicle was maintained by previous owners. 

Recalls

It doesn’t matter how well the car was built or how reliable its known to be, most vehicles have recalls to update systems or replace/repair parts that are faulty. This isn’t necessarily a red flag on a Vehicle History Report. It can inform you of any outstanding recalls that have not been taken care of, which is another note on how well the previous owner(s) took care of the car.

Title History

From the moment a car is sold until you buy it, the title follows that vehicle. This can tell you how long the owner had it, if the car was crashed and rebuilt with a “Salvage Title” or if it was repossessed by the loan agency.

Hail, Fire or Flood Damage

Hail damage is quite common and can easily be repaired, but fire or flood damage is another story. Fire and flood damage is harder and more expensive to repair. Plus, the chemicals that the vehicle was exposed to fight a fire can often lead to electrical issues and corrosion. 

Where the Car has Lived

Why should you care about where a car has spent most of its life? Well, certain areas of the country can wear on vehicles more than others, when it comes to corrosion. If a car has spent significant time, like years, in states that actually get snow in the winter or in coastal cities, they’ve been exposed to lots of salt. And that means rust. If the vehicle you like has been in either of these areas, make sure to carefully inspect the undercarriage and body panels for signs of rust.

Number of Owners

For cars, the lower the number of owners the better. While multiple owners aren’t necessarily always a bad thing, there’s more of a chance of things slipping through the cracks, like maintenance, as well as a greater potential for wear and tear. 

Was the Previous Owner a Business or Rental Company?

A vehicle owned by an individual is going to be in much better shape than a rental, 95% of the time. Knowing who owned it, along with how many owners above, is pertinent information to have.

Interested in buying a used or certified pre-owned vehicle with us at Steve Landers Toyota of Northwest Arkansas? View our used inventory and click the Carfax logo button on the righthand side of the used car’s page. 

Categories: Pre-Owned Inventory