A vehicle history report is a document that will provide you with vehicle information and history. This includes past owners, liens, accident history, rollbacks, and more. It’s especially important to do a vehicle history check if you’re purchasing the vehicle from an individual, as they may not know the complete history of the vehicle themselves.

Most companies will offer a VIN Check, which is another term used to describe a vehicle history report. To get a vehicle history report, you’ll need the vehicle’s VIN number, which you can usually get from the company or individual selling the vehicle. A vehicle history report can be incredibly useful if you’re purchasing a used vehicle and will provide you with quite a bit of useful information. What that information is and how it can affect the vehicle, or your purchasing experience is what this article is all about.

Past Ownership and Odometer Readings

The past ownership of a vehicle, including the number of owners that the vehicle has had and its odometer readings, is an important piece of information provided by a vehicle history report. There are quite a few reasons you would want this information, whether you’d like to know how many miles it’s put on over the years, how many owners it’s had and who exactly those owners were, or even how many miles each owner put on the odometer individually.

This information can be incredibly useful if you’re looking for a vehicle that doesn’t have many miles on it. Knowing who the past owners were can also be useful, giving you a quick look at the vehicle’s past, and allowing you to make a more educated assessment of its quality and legitimacy. Occasionally, a vehicle could have been stolen, and the current owner may not even know about it. Making sure to verify the vehicle’s ownership information can prevent you from running into unexpected trouble with the law.

Liens on the Vehicle

If a vehicle has a lien on it, then that means an organization or individual may be able to press a claim on the vehicle due to owed debts by a previous owner or other factors. Purchasing a vehicle with liens on it is like purchasing a ticking time-bomb. If you don’t settle liens immediately, they can end up costing you down the road, either in legal fees or possibly even in the repossession of the vehicle.

Knowing about any liens on a vehicle before you purchase it is incredibly important. A vehicle with a lien on it could end up being a legal landmine for you, and it can be incredibly costly if you only find out about it when the lien holder decides to collect on it.

Title and Accident History

The bread and butter of a vehicle history report is, unsurprisingly, the title and accident history portion. This part of the report will tell you about any past accidents, flood damage, or salvage title branding. This can tell you a lot about the reliability of the vehicle and whether it will be safe to drive. A title check can also help you ensure that the person selling you the car is actually the owner.

If you’re looking to buy a used vehicle, it’s important to know that vehicle’s history. Past accidents or flood damage can decrease the integrity of a vehicle, making it less structurally sound even if destroyed or damaged parts were replaced. If a vehicle was branded with a salvage title, then that means it was deemed a total loss, and it may not be drivable at all or may need repairs that cost more than the car is worth.

Rollback Alerts and Faulty Odometer Settings

Occasionally, a seller may turn back an odometer in order to make it seem like the vehicle has fewer miles on it than it actually does. While illegal, this practice is more common than you may think and is often used as a trick to inflate the price of a vehicle. A manufacturer may also install a faulty or inaccurate odometer sometimes, or the odometer may have become inoperable after an accident.

If you’re looking to buy a used vehicle, you want to know how many miles it’s actually been driven, and that means knowing whether or not a seller has illegally rolled back the odometer, or if the manufacturer had installed a faulty odometer initially. The number of miles that are actually on a vehicle can directly impact its price and its life expectancy.

“Lemon” Determination

A vehicle history report can sometimes flag a vehicle as a lemon. A “lemon” is a vehicle that was manufactured using faulty components and doesn’t work as advertised. This can mean that your vehicle may run poorly, or that some components may be exceptionally prone to failure. Whether or not a particular vehicle is considered a lemon usually depends on the laws of your state and the seller’s state.

Generally, a car that’s considered a lemon will run poorly or have defective components, giving it a shorter-than-average life expectancy, driving the price of the vehicle down, and making it susceptible to more regular breakdowns than a properly-manufactured vehicle. It’s important to know whether or not a vehicle is a lemon before you purchase it, so you can make sure you aren’t being shorted, and so you can prepare for possible defects.