Why Is a Vehicle History Report Important?



What Is a Vehicle History Report?

For many, shopping for a used car is accompanied by feelings of dread and discomfort. Even when you’ve searched high and low to find that perfect car, with everything you need and every option you want, you may still hear that little voice in the back of your mind wondering, “Why’s the price so low? Who else has driven this car? Where has it been?” In times like these, vehicle history reports can provide some valuable, if not exhaustive, information.

Numerous companies offer vehicle history reports, but three sources stand out: CarFax, AutoCheck, and the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS). Each of these sources is a little different, but all aim to provide vehicle information in the spirit of consumer protection.

Carfax and AutoCheck are both for-profit businesses, with Carfax starting the whole idea back in 1984. AutoCheck is owned by Experian and distinguishes itself with a comprehensive “score” for each vehicle. The NMVTIS, on the other hand, is a system managed under the U.S. Department of Justice’s umbrella. Run by the non-profit American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA), the NMVTIS works with a series of providers to disseminate its information.

All three sources collect information primarily from Departments of Motor Vehicles, insurance providers, auto recyclers, and junk and salvage yards. Although no Carfax, Autocheck, or any other report can replace an independent mechanic’s inspection, when purchasing a used car, obtaining a vehicle history report should be one of your first steps.

Why Do You Need a Vehicle History Report?

You might think you only need to invest in a vehicle history report if you’re skeptical of a car’s “accident-free” history, have concerns about how many owners it’s had, or just don’t quite trust the salesman, but in all honesty, anyone looking to buy a used car should plan to purchase a report.

These reports provide some peace of mind, and they can help protect buyers from nefarious sellers. As shoppers, we look at vehicle mileage during our car search to help gauge the age of a car. A 10-year-old car, for instance, might not seem so old if it’s traveled only 70,000 miles. This reality presents sellers with a very tempting, albeit illegal, opportunity to roll back odometers. Tampering with the odometer may allow a seller to add hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars to a selling price. Luckily, vehicle history reports document the car’s mileage each time it went in for service. If mileage suddenly drops halfway through its lifespan, you should view that as a serious red flag.

Likewise, a talented body shop can repair or hide previous damage so well that only an attentive, trained eye will notice. No matter how well it’s been repaired, though, a salvage-titled car will yield substantially lower resale values than one with an unbranded title. A handy vehicle history report will tell you exactly what’s going on with your potential purchase’s title.

Dismissing scare tactics, however, the simple truth is that, while many vehicle history reports won’t turn up anything out of the ordinary, one that does can save you plenty of time and energy. If the dealership selling you the car won’t provide a vehicle history report free of charge, be sure to invest in one as part of your research.

Carfax costs the most but is also the most recognizable. A Carfax report includes (among other things) accident history, the number of owners the car has had, an overview of its service history, and an accounting of the car’s odometer readings.

One of the best things about shopping for used cars at The KEY is that we offer free Carfax vehicle history reports on every vehicle we sell! We’re always confident in the quality of our cars and we want potential buyers to rest assured that they’re always getting a great deal.

New & Used Car Dealerships

  • 6922 8th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11228

  • 6215 18th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11204

  • 2008 College Point Blvd., College Point, NY 11356

  • 78-14 Woodside Ave, Elmhurst, NY 11373

  • 43-18 Main St, Flushing, NY 11355

 Pre-owned Dealership

  • 196-33 Northern Blvd., Flushing, NY 11358 

Service & Collision Centers

  • 126-19 20th Ave, College Point, NY 11356

  • 129 34th St, Brooklyn, NY 11232

Specialty: Huge standard and luxury used car inventories

Ideal Auto is consistently respected by customers who love quality used vehicles, primarily because of their prompt and informative customer service. Ideal Auto sports a wide selection of used and certified pre-owned vehicles with complimentary warranties. As one of the larger brokerage in New York, Ideal Auto is sure to have a vehicle that appeals to you. 



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