Always Get a Vehicle History Report
These reports will show you if the vehicle has ever been in an accident, reported stolen, been flooded, or totalled.
Nowadays, most dealers already provide a free vehicle history report on all of their used cars, but if you're shopping private party , you may have to pay for the report yourself.
The cost for a CarFax report is $34.99. AutoCheck sells their reports for $29.99.
Both services obtain information from thousands of public and private data sources including state title and registratrion records, auto auctions, rental car agencies and police departments.
Most dealers prefer to use AutoCheck when purchasing their vehicles at auction.
Keep in mind these history reports are not fool-proof. If an accident was never reported, they will not know about it - so don't assume the car is good to purchase just because it comes back with a clean history report.
The reports are meant to be used only as the first step in your investigation process. Always get a used car thoroughly inspected by a trusted mechanic before purchasing.
My Recommendation for Car ShoppersTrueCar No-Haggle, Edmunds Price Promise and 1-800 Car Show are the quickest way to see the lowest car prices in your area. These sites show you no-haggle prices from dealers closest to you - and the deals are usually really good. This should be the first step you take when negotiating your car price. Follow this up with my checklist to make sure you squeeze out every last bit of savings.
- Gregg Fidan
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About: Gregg Fidan
Gregg Fidan + is the founder of RealCarTips. After being ripped off on his first car purchase, he devoted several years to figuring out the best ways to avoid scams and negotiate the best car deals. He has written hundreds of articles on the subject of car buying and taught thousands of car shoppers how to get the best deals.