Vehicle History Reports
Before purchasing a vehicle and signing a Bill of Sale, buyers are advised to request a vehicle history report (VHR), otherwise known as VIN verification or VIN check.
If you are purchasing a used vehicle at a licensed car dealership, VHRs are standard and are typically free of charge. However, buyers purchasing cars from a private seller may be taking on a bit of a gamble without a VIN check. Avoid unexpected findings, damages or title concerns by filing for a VHR.
Sellers may also want to take the initiative and have a ready-available vehicle history report to increase chance of sale and reassure potential buyers that the vehicle they're interested in will not turn out to be a "lemon," or a worn-out car packed with issues. Show your buyer you have nothing to hide and they'll be signing a Bill of Sale in a jiffy.
What Can You Find Out from a Vehicle History Report?
VIN checks pull out recorded histories and strikes labelled on the vehicle registration number, which means it can provide buyers a lot of information to guide their purchase decision.
With a vehicle history report, buyers can expect to learn:
- Past ownership of the registered vehicle, even before the seller
- Title history blemishes
- Accident history
- Vehicle maintenance and repairs
- Any liens held on the vehicle
- Flood or water damage
- Airbag deployments
- Vehicle recalls
- Whether the odometer settings are faulty or valid
- Previous title checks on the vehicle
- Fraud or stolen reports
Buyers may receive VIN checks for free online, but information may be limited to public record, recalls and customer complaints. For full vehicle history reports, a small fee may be necessary.
VHRs can provide buyers enough research to prevent themselves from buying low quality vehicles or give them enough confidence to proceed with a Bill of Sale. Take care to know the vehicle you're buying and drive safely!