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Why you should always carry out a car history check

Buying a car is an exciting and expensive commitment and it is important that everything is done to ensure that nothing is overlooked and that all potential regret is avoided. In a similar way to buying a house, one of the most valuable aspects of the purchase of a used car is the back story. In a house it’s called a ‘survey’ or a ‘valuation’ and when buying a vehicle it’s commonly known as a ‘history check’. It may be far cheaper than a property survey but it’s no less valuable. You want to find out about the previous owner; about modifications that have been made and about potential costs that are involved – before it’s too late. Thousands of motorists every year fall victim to second hand cars that are hiding some big secret.

Why check the vehicle’s history?

  • Statistics suggest that 25% of vehicles are associated with unpaid loans – meaning you could lose the ownership of the vehicle. You must find out if there is any outstanding finance that would stop you from officially owning the car.
  • 1 in 8 could be an insurance write-off, unsafe or beyond economical repair. A history check would save any additional costs to getting the car into shape.
  • Your vehicle could be stolen, cloned or illegally imported or exported. This could spell legal issues and could prove costly – it’s far better to know in advance.
  • ‘Clocking’ is the term given to the manipulation of the mileage. A check would find out the appropriate mileage of the car.
  • History checks also reveal previous number plates or changes to the vehicles colour, which could be used as a method of hiding potential problems with the vehicle.
  • A car history check will also help you if you’re selling a vehicle as it show proactivity and honesty before the sale is even greed.

Answers you should seek

  • Is the vehicle priced fairly based on its current condition and history?
  • Is the mileage and number plate shown accurate?
  • Has it been involved in a collision or even written off?
  • Are the financial terms already associated with the vehicle?

How to carry out a history check

These days, car history checks can be easily done online, similarly to personal credit checks. All you need to do is enter the vehicle’s registration details and the Vehicle Identification Number. There are a number of online companies who offer this service for a relatively small fee, such as HPI, the AA and They draw data from a variety of sources such as the Police National Computer and the DVLA, using standard industry information, to get a detailed account of the history of your car. The AA offers a multicar deal, where you can check multiple cars at a discount, if you have more than one future purchase in mind. A car history check simply gives you the added confidence that the choice you make isn’t hindered by problems from the past.

Car Buying Tips  11/04/2014 09:28:44

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