You have saved your money, and now it is time to buy a used vehicle. You have a couple of vehicles in mind, and you are hoping to find one in your favorite color. You know that you should look for a vehicle with low mileage and one that drives well when you take it for a test run.
But did you know that you should also know the history of the vehicle and its title?
A used car may appear perfect in every way. However, it can still lead to nightmares for the next owner. The only way to avoid these problems is to make sure that you check the car’s history before making the purchase.
VINSmart and NMVTIS Reports Give You The History of any Vehicle
The National Motor Vehicle Title Information Service (NMVTIS) is a federal program managed by the Department of Justice. This program tracks title information for vehicles to eliminate fraud.
NMVTIS contains the following information about the vehicle:
- What state the title is currently registered in, and the name on the title
- Latest odometer reading
- Title distinctions – This includes if the title is to a salvage car, one that has been in a fire, flood, or a product of theft
VINSmart includes the information from the NMVTIS in their history report of any vehicle and adds the following information:
- History or repairs and maintenance on the vehicle as reported by mechanic shops
- Recall notices on vehicle
- Recall repairs made on the vehicle
- Accident reports
- Title history
- Title liens
Why This Information Makes A Difference
Having access to this type of information can save you a lot of money and even more headaches. Each of these issues could be a large problem if you purchase the vehicle and later find out that there is a problem.
If a car has been subjected to fire, flood, natural disaster, or classified as totaled due to accident or theft, it is given a salvage title. This title designates that there was something very wrong with the vehicle and that it was deemed unsafe to operate on the road at some point in the vehicle’s history.
Anyone with talent or skill can purchase a salvage vehicle and restore it to its former beauty. However, it must retain the salvage title. If you purchase this vehicle, it may be costly to obtain insurance and plates to operate it on the roads.
Some insurance companies will not insure a vehicle that holds a salvage title. Some states may require a mechanic to sign off on the vehicle to say that it is roadworthy. In the end, purchasing a vehicle with a salvage title may lead to more expenses that you may be willing to pay.
Titles with Liens
When a lien is placed against a car’s title, the debt stays attached to that vehicle until it is paid. If you purchase a vehicle that has a lien against the tile, you assume that debt and become responsible for that payment.
Lienholders may also repossess the vehicle if they discover that it is roadworthy again and has value. This means there is a potential for you to lose your vehicle because of someone else’s debt.
Safety recalls can happen to any vehicle. The government requires that the manufacturer notify the vehicle owner of the safety issue and inform them when and where the vehicle owner can have this problem repaired. There is never a charge for recall repairs.
However, many car owners do not take the time to go and have these repairs completed. Not having these safety features repaired will place you and your loved ones at risk every time you get into the vehicle.
Additionally, if a vehicle has been formerly classified as totaled or involved in a fire or flood, the integrity of that vehicle’s structure is questionable. Accidents, heat from a fire, and floodwaters can all damage the frame to the vehicle. You may find yourself facing large repairs or not being able to use the car at all because of problems with the frame of the car.
When Purchasing A Used Vehicle
Now that you are ready to purchase a used vehicle, there are two important things to remember:
- Always have a trusted mechanic look over the vehicle before you make the purchase
- Get a title history done on the vehicle so that you know everything about the car from a legal standpoint
Buying a used vehicle is a great way to get transportation at a lower cost than purchasing a car brand new. For many people, buying used is a way to purchase their dream car, find a project car, or buy a larger car with the money they have saved.
Purchasing used does not have to be a nightmare. Take your time when shopping for a used car and make sure that you have everything you need to make an informed decision before buying.