We’ve all seen those ads that warn us to ask for a free used car history report when purchasing a car from a new or used car dealer.
Did you know used car history reports are not free to you unless you don’t buy the car? The price is included in the additional dealer’s service fees when you purchase the vehicle.
You should also know they are inherently inaccurate. Many rental car companies have their own shops and fix the car without turning it into insurance companies. This can also be a problem with private owners who are mechanically inclined or have friends who are. Therefore there is no report of a repair.
People have reported buying 1-3 year old vehicles with a supposedly clean report on the history, only to discover that the car was in an accident and their car is no longer under warranty.
Reports are most likely to be inaccurate if there was major damage but the vehicle, for some reason was not declared a total loss.
If a vehicle is self insured, doesn’t have collision insurance, or is not considered a total loss it can maintain a clean title. These wrecks are sometimes sold at auctions, where the buyers fix them and resell them to unsuspecting consumers.
The number of previous owners is not always accurate either. If someone purchases a vehicle without signing the title and then immediately turns around and sells it to someone else, the number of owners reported is inaccurate.
The information available to these companies reporting used car histories is not always up-to-date and the information can be misleading causing the consumer to make a costly purchase requiring additional money in unforeseen repairs.
It is still a good idea to have a mechanic inspect the vehicle before making a purchase.