Purchasing a used car often strikes fear into the heart of the car shopper. However, buying used can save you quite a bit of money over a new car purchase. The key is to arm yourself with the right information when shopping. A Vehicle History Report is a critical tool when shopping for a used automobile. In this article, I will walk you through what a Vehicle History Report is, why it is valuable, and how to get one.

A Vehicle History report is a comprehensive understanding of the history of vehicle, from the standpoint of the DMV. It tells you a number of critical items, such as whether the car has ever been repossessed or stolen, or whether there is a lien on it. It also tells you things such as whether the mileage is accurate, whether it has ben recalled, and who its previous owners were, and when they sold the car. Information such as this is coincidentally great to give to your mechanic when they are inspecting your potential purchase.

So how do you go about purchasing a vehicle history report? There are a number of websites that will allow you to do just that. Generally there are two types of reports, which vary in the amount of information they have. The first report is a free version, which will give you very basic information about the car. The types of information you will receive are the number of historical records for the car, year, model, make, body style, originating country, and the type of engine. This information is sometimes enough for your mechanic to go on, but it is usually not enough to receive any level of confidence about the car. We certainly recommend that you go above and beyond this level of detail.

The detailed vehicle report does cost a nominal amount, usually about $25 to $60. However, given the magnitude of the purchase you are about to make, we highly recommend purchasing this report. We feel that the information it gives you is a definite value-add for your negotiating process, and it will be well worth the money when it comes to avoiding buying a lemon.

If purchasing a report, you can also choose between a report for just a single vehicle, or a report that allows you to view an unlimited number of vehicles within a specified time period (usually about 30 days). Obviously if you have one and only one car in mind, a single report should be fine. But if you are like most car shoppers who are evaluating multiple cars, you’ll want to purchase the unlimited vehicle history report, so that you can properly evaluate all of the vehicles you are thinking of purchasing.

In summary, the Vehicle History Report is a critical tool you should use when contemplating the purchase of a used car. It will save you a ton of money by protecting you against purchasing a vehicle that you shouldn’t be considering.

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