Peep into cars history for free
Peeping into someone’s memory and history may sound like a scene from the ‘Black Mirror’.
Not anymore. At least when it comes to cars. Each one of them has a VIN – 17-digit “name,” made up of numbers and characters, that a manufacturer assigns to an individual vehicle.
This VIN can reveal more or less evident things like airbag type, country of origin, engine size, model year, color code vehicle type, trim level, and plant name. But what’s more interesting – you can achieve valuable information for free with just a couple of clicks.
Show me your dirty pictures
So you’re looking at the car that looks like a bargain. It looks beautiful and clean, but something’s bothering you? It’s a great moment to trust your gut. This trick is so simple, yet very few buyers use it.
Firstly, find a VIN. In most cases, it should be stamped into a plate that’s mounted on the dashboard near the windshield or the driver-side door jamb.
Write it down and paste it to Google Images search. If this particular car has been salvaged you should see how it looked like at the salvage auction site. In case you already know that it had a salvage title, it’s a good reality check to see if the damage was severe or not.
If nothing shows up at Google Images search, you’re golden for now. Also, be curious because sometimes even Google itself may misinterpret one or two digits, and this analysis will go sideways. Seek for any unique features proving that you are looking at the same vehicle.
Remember – this is a free life hack, so trust your guts.
Don’t trust rumors
Also, you can check if the vehicle has ever been under a recall program.
It happens when a manufacturer or NHTSA determines that a car has a safety- related defect. Usually, the automaker will alert owners to the problem and in most cases, offer a free repair.
However, the owner doesn’t need to replace defective components, so there might be vehicles on the roads with faulty and unresolved designs.
Luckily this information is public on the NHTSA site. Check your soon-to-be (or not) car’s VIN there and find out if it had any recalls.
If yes, ask the owner about it and if the issue was resolved or check for any irregularities. If you see 0 recalls – that’s one more thing not to worry about.
You don’t have to buy it yourself
However, nothing’s that simple. Reliable, in-depth car history reports, for example, CarVertical reports, are paid services. The good news is you are not necessarily the one who opens the wallet.
There’s a common practice for car dealerships to provide a car history report with every vehicle they sell. They buy them in bulk, so it’s an inexpensive gift for a dealership.
If it’s not the case in your situation, ask for the report or at least a VIN code so that you could check the car yourself.
The same goes for private sellers. Often they already have a report printed out or can share the PDF. Sometimes it’s quite the opposite, and the seller resists on providing you with a car history report or even VIN.
This should raise a red flag for you. However, if you still want that car, but can’t get a paid report for free, you should do yourself a favor and buy one.
Don’t skip this step, because reports include information that is tricky to get by yourself.
For example, CarVertical can describe vehicle mileage at different stages of its life, so you can detect if it has ever been clocked. Also, the report can show you if the car has been in an accident.
Furthermore, you can get a list of particular parts that were damaged and how much the repairs cost.
Be honest – you wouldn’t go that deep on your own. All in all, the price of the report is only a fraction of the vehicle’s price, but provides great value. It should give you peace of mind or avert you from one of the worst purchases and save you thousands.
Where can all this information be found
If you are thinking of purchasing the used vehicle from a dealer, the car will probably be checked already. But… There is always a “but.”
Many car history reports are not user friendly and not full-scale, and if you are buying a car from Europe, there will likely be no data, or the report will be costly.
After researching the market of car history reports, we stumbled upon carVertical.
So here are some advantages worth mentioning:
1. An extensive database of damaged vehicles
CarVertical maintains records on over 50 million vehicles reported to be damaged in different European countries and North America. The information is constantly updated, so the reports contain all the latest and most relevant data on traffic accidents, vandalism cases, or damage due to natural disasters.
2. A “one-stop-shop” report
As the majority of used cars are brought from foreign countries or different continents, it’s difficult to track the twists and turns in their history. So having all available data on a single comprehensive report helps save a lot of time and money.
3. Obtaining data directly from vehicles
CarVertical is known to be the world’s first provider of vehicle history reports receiving some of the data from vehicles in real-time. The information is more up-to-date and challenging to fake. Innovations drive transparency!
4. User-friendly information
What we like about the reports is that they do not contain glossaries. The information is clear and understandable, even for the people who are not automotive savvy. There are a lot of graphical solutions that give an instant picture of the vehicle’s condition.
5. Top-notch blockchain technology
CarVertical is a blockchain-based company, so their data is more difficult to fake, alter, or manipulate compared to the information kept in centralized databases. More trust, less worry.