Prior to purchasing a used vehicle, it is essential to run the Vehicle Identification Number, also known as the VIN. The VIN will tell you where a car has been, who it belonged to, and if it was involved in any accidents. All of which are key indicators of its current health. Being armed with this information can help you predict a car’s future. Ultimately, allowing you to make an informed purchasing decision.

This is why we’ve highlighted the top 5 things to look for, when running a vehicle’s VIN.

1. Past Ownership

This information is necessary, because it will tell you how many owners the car had. If it has gone through many hands, this is a clear sign of trouble. This is because there may be something mechanically wrong with the car that caused the high turnover rate. If the vehicle has passed through numerous owners, there can also be an increased amount of wear and tear not initially seen.

In addition to past ownership, running the VIN can tell you the odometer rating. This is important, because it can give you an idea of how hard the previous owner drove. Knowing how it was driven can provide a clear outlook of the car’s life expectancy.

2. Liens

As trustworthy as someone may seem, they may not be telling you the whole truth. Having a lien on a car, means that there is money owed on it. Not knowing this information, prior to purchasing, can have devastating results. As the car could be repossessed at any moment, you don’t want to be the one stuck paying the consequences, so it is best to check prior to your purchase.

3. Title

This is especially necessary if you don’t know the seller. With the rise of buying and trading websites, engaging in a private sale is easier than ever before. However, it is essential you protect yourself and know exactly who the title of the car belong to. If it is not the person selling the car, walk away. This is a sign that as the vehicle is stolen. Purchasing a stolen vehicle could result in its repossession, criminal finds and even criminal charges.

4. Accident History

Simply doing a VIN lookup will let you know what damage the car has sustained. It is important to know that the owner of the vehicle, may not disclose to you its entire history. It is up to you, to act as an informed buyer, and get first-hand information. After all, a good indication of future behaviour, is past behaviour. So, knowing what trouble your car has gone through, will give some insight into potential issues.

5. Faulty Odometer

This is another important check to see if the individual you are buying from, is being truthful. A seller may illegally turn back an odometer of a car. This is typically done to give the appearance that there is a lower mileage. Lower mileage means less usage, and ultimately a higher sales price.

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