When you’re looking to buy a car or sell your current car, it’s important to know as much about the car as possible. The best way to get information about a vehicle is by getting a vehicle history report.
Wondering what a vehicle history report is and why you should get one? Wondering where you can get the best vehicle history report? This quick guide will tell you everything you need to know!
What Is a Vehicle History Report?
A vehicle history report is a document that shows everything that’s ever happened to a particular vehicle.
The vehicle history report details each time the car has been sold. It also lists any accidents the vehicle has been involved in and what repairs needed to be done after the accident. Some vehicle history reports are even detailed enough that they list which vehicle maintenance services have been performed on a car.
You can think of a vehicle history report as the life story of a vehicle.
Why Should I Get a Vehicle History Report?
The reasons to get a vehicle history report vary based on whether you’re buying or selling a car.
When Buying a Car
When you’re buying a car, especially a used car, it’s very important to get a vehicle history report before you make the purchase. Car dealerships are not necessarily required to disclose whether a used vehicle has been in an accident or if it’s been rebuilt. They will provide a vehicle history report if you request one.
If you’re buying a car from a private seller it’s even more important to get a vehicle history report. If the seller is honest, they’ll disclose the car’s history as far as they know. But they likely aren’t aware of what happened to the car before they owned it. So, unless they bought it new and you trust them to disclose all the important information, getting a vehicle history report is crucial.
Reviewing a vehicle history report before you buy a car can greatly influence your purchasing decision. If you review the vehicle history report and find that the car you want to buy has been in multiple accidents and has had major repairs, you might not want to buy that vehicle.
The vehicle history report can also help you determine if the car is being sold for a fair price. If the vehicle history report shows multiple accidents, but the car isn’t being sold at a lower price than market value, you can use the vehicle history report to negotiate a better price.
When Selling a Car
Getting a vehicle history report is also helpful when you’re selling a car, either to another person or to a company. The vehicle history report can help you determine a fair price for your car. If you’re selling to another person, you can advertise a fair price for your car. If you’re selling your car to a company, reviewing a vehicle history report can help you be sure that the price they’re offering you is fair.
You only know what’s happened to your car while you were the owner. You may think the car has never been in an accident, but you can’t know for sure unless you get the vehicle history report.
And if whoever is buying your car is smart, they’ll pull a vehicle history report and use it to negotiate the price. So, if you already have the information from the vehicle history report, you’ll be prepared to stick to the price you think is right.
More questions about why you should get a vehicle history report when selling your car? Read more here.
Which Company Has the Best Vehicle History Report?
There are two major companies that compile and deliver vehicle history reports – AutoCheck and CarFax. Both services require you to pay for a vehicle history report. A CarFax vehicle history report costs $39.99 while an AutoCheck one costs $24.99.
Which company has the best vehicle history report?
While CarFax is the more expensive service, they’re generally considered to be the better service. Their vehicle history reports tend to be more detailed than AutoCheck’s reports.
However, AutoCheck’s vehicle history reports use an easy-to-understand score system to summarize the car’s history. Each vehicle history report gives the car a score between 70 and 90. This score is then compared to other vehicles of the same make and model.
For example, a particular Toyota Camry may have a score of 85, which looks great. But if other Camrys have scores of 85-90, then this car actually has a pretty low score.
So, AutoCheck is less expensive and uses an easy scoring system to rate cars based on their vehicle history, but CarFax’s vehicle history reports are usually more detailed and accurate.
Either company will provide a report that serves most people’s purposes. But if you’re looking for thoroughness, go with CarFax.
What if There are Accidents on the Vehicle History Report?
When you’re selling or buying a car, seeing accidents listed on the vehicle history report can be intimidating. You’ll probably wonder if that means you should pass on buying the car or if you won’t be able to sell your car.
Typically, having an accident or two on the vehicle history report doesn’t mean the car is a junker or worthless. The severity of the accident matters a lot though. A car that’s been in two fender benders is a better quality car than one that’s been totaled and rebuilt.
So, if you see accidents on a vehicle history report, set realistic expectations about the quality of the car and what it’s worth. If you’re buying and you have a set price range, a car with a couple of fender benders that’s selling for a low price isn’t a bad deal. If you’re selling a car that’s been in a couple of fender benders, be honest about that with the buyer and adjust the price accordingly.
Using a Vehicle History Report to Make Smart Decisions
Whether you’re buying a car or selling one, getting a vehicle history report is a good idea. The information included in the report can help you make decisions about a car’s quality and worth. Remember to get the best vehicle history report you can find so you have all the information you need.
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