Buying A Used Car? What To Consider If It Was In An Accident

With over 18 million used cars sold across the country every six months, it's important that you know how to make sure your purchase is a safe one. One of the things you should remember when you're considering a used car purchase is to ask about the accident history for the car. Unfortunately, some owners aren't forthcoming with potentially negative information. Luckily, you can run a VIN history report to see what kind of accident damage has occurred. Here are some things to consider when you're deciding whether or not to buy that accident-damaged used car.

How Severe Was the Damage?

One of the things you should look for in the accident report on the VIN history is information about the severity of the accident. Most VIN history services will include information if it was made available when the accident was reported. For example, if the accident report says minor damage or says that the vehicle was driven away from the scene, that's a good indication that it wasn't serious enough to cause lasting damage.

On the other hand, the VIN history report may say that the car sustained major damage or was towed from the scene. If this is the case, you should have the car inspected by a mechanic. Provide the VIN history report to the mechanic when you have the car inspected so that he or she knows what to look for.

Who Did the Repairs?

If you are buying the car from the owner who was involved in the accident, ask him or her directly about who did the repairs. Whenever possible, ask for documentation of the work, including invoices, parts receipts or other records. Sometimes, though, the accident damage occurred an owner or two prior. If this is the case, ask your mechanic to look at the quality of the repairs.

Most mechanics can tell you if the work was done by a reputable shop using manufacturer-approved parts or if it was a quick job done by a bargain mechanic. If the repairs were done haphazardly or the panels aren't fitting properly, that's an indication that you'll want to find another car.

What Does the Title Say?

In many states, the actual title may tell you more than the VIN history itself. If the VIN history report indicates that the car has a salvage title, it could be an indication that the cost of the repairs was determined to exceed the value of the car. In those cases, a salvage title is issued to indicate that the car was considered a total loss. A title that's labeled as a rebuild is a sign that the car was repaired and then inspected by the state to ensure that it was safe and road-worthy.

You can determine the title status in two ways. The VIN history report will tell you if the car was issued a salvage or a rebuild title. Additionally, you can ask to see the title when you look at the car. If the owner is being forthcoming with information, he or she should be happy to show you the paperwork.

Before you buy any used car, it's in your best interest to obtain the VIN number and get a history report from a company like Instavin. Additionally, work with a reliable mechanic who can ensure that the condition of the car matches the information available from the reporting. The more proactive you are about the car inspection, the better your chances are of getting a car that will be safe and reliable for years to come.