Used Car Inspection
How to inspect a used car with a VIN history check...
The 4th of 8 steps in the used car inspection guide.
The fourth step to a used car inspection is to run a VIN history check. Of all the car buying inspections this one is by far the easiest, but is definitely not one to skip.
Quick Note: If the VIN plate on the dashboard looks like it has been tampered with, be very careful...In fact, I'd suggest passing on this car and looking elsewhere to be safe.
Where To Locate
The Vehicle Identification Number
You can locate the VIN on the drivers side of the dashboard up near where the windshield and the dash come together. You can also find the VIN by opening the drivers side door and reading it from the Manufacturers sticker.
If you are buying the car from a private party, then be sure to compare the VIN to the cars title and registration to be sure that everything matches up.
From A Dealer
If you are buying from a dealer, be sure the VIN matches on both your title/registration paperwork and your contract.
I've seen it happen many times where they've printed and signed contracts for the wrong car with a totally different VIN.
This isn't any type of scam, it's just an error, but it does mean that you will need to return to the dealership and re-contract. Waste of time...
VIN History Check
And lastly, be sure to run a vehicle history report. Some dealers will provide them free of charge and some will charge you for it.
You can also use this cool little tool to see how many records a car has. It's free to see how many reports exist, but you'll have to pay for a vehicle history report...
They're cheaper than CarFax and the information is just as good.