Buying a Used Car? Why You Should Check the History before Agreeing to a Deal

Mercedes S-Class Coupe

Buying a used car will always carry a risk to some extent. A secondhand vehicle brings its own baggage, and what you see may not be exactly what you get. Accessing a vehicle’s history with an online VIN check service is a great first step. You may want to request service and repair history as well. You maybe puzzled about what to look for in those documents and in what way the information presented can affect your decision?

Accidents and Repairs

An accident in the car’s history will decrease its value, but that shouldn’t necessarily put you off as a buyer. As long as the damages had been fully repaired, you can get a car in great condition for cheap.

However, beware of a vehicle which has been zeroed by an insurance company and then resold at a salvage auction. The car may be good at first. However, unless you’re an experienced auto mechanic who knows what to look for, you’re taking a hefty risk. In any case, if the history shows up any major accidents, make sure to test drive it thoroughly and ask a knowledgeable mechanic to check the vehicle before going any further.

Service Records

Not all work that’s done on a vehicle will show up its official records. However, if the seller can provide documents proving that routine maintenance has been properly carried out, then you can expect the price to rise by a few percentage points.

If you find that the car had routine oil change and other maintenance done frequently, you may have to pay a little more. However, do not get discouraged, it will actually save you in repairs in long run.

Multiple Owners

Pre-owned car that had single owner, maybe presented for the buyer as advantageous. However, is the history of multiple owners necessarily a bad thing? It is true that with multiple previous owners, car may have irregular service history. It will, further be difficult for the seller to prove that service history is legible and dependable.

That does not mean, used car that had multiple owners previously always come in poor conditions compared to single-owner used vehicles. However, you can expect to receive bigger discount on these kinds of used cars as opposed to ones with more stable service history.


From time to time car manufacturers issue recall on particular model due to safety or design concerns. A detailed history check will show whether a vehicle was the subject of a recall, and whether or not the necessary work was ever done in order to fix the issue.

A recall should result in a discount even when the problem has been fixed. However, if recall is still outstanding, then you want to be extra careful. In case previous owner was so reluctant and never bothered to take care of basic maintenance needs of the vehicle, it may come with unexpected surprises along the road.

Buying a used car is a complicated process with lots of factors to consider. However, if you have proper preparation you can get a great deal. Before grabbing what looks like a bargain, be sure to check the vehicle’s history thoroughly. Only then you can weigh the pros and cons and come up with the amount you would spend on this vehicle.

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