Many of us when purchasing a used vehicle rely on the local car dealer to provide us with all the current information about that vehicle’s history. However it’s important to know what to ask for to make sure you have all of the information available about the car.
This July, a new law went into effect that requires car dealers to provide a government report known as NMVTIS (National Motor Vehicle Title Information System) to used car buyers. The new law may help consumers get some information about a car’s past but it’s important for car buyers to know that it does not track detailed vehicle history such as airbag deployment, open recalls, frame damage, and other important safety data.
Buying a car is a major decision and it is essential to receive the most accurate and complete information about the used car before making a purchasing decision.
Five important tips to follow when purchasing a used vehicle:
#1: Ask the seller for a commercially available vehicle history report. There is a big difference between the government mandated report NMVTIS (National Motor Vehicle Title Information System) and commercially available reports such as CARFAX and AutoCheck. In the NMVTIS disclaimer it states, “[NMVTIS] does not contain detailed information regarding a vehicle’s repair history.” It is best to ask the car dealer for other comprehensive vehicle history reports and not only rely on NMVTIS that provides limited information.
#2: Ask questions! Make sure when you are purchasing a used vehicle that you ask questions and inquire about the vehicle’s history. Do not assume that the government report has all of the accurate information regarding the vehicle’s history such as airbag deployment, structural damage and open recalls.
#3: Examine the used vehicle that you are about to purchase. Have the car checked out by a mechanic before making any purchasing decisions. Make sure to test drive the car under varied road conditions — on hills, highways, and in stop-and-go-traffic. And, make sure to ask for the car’s maintenance record from the dealer, which can be found in a commercial vehicle history report.
#4: Don’t stop looking until you find the best deal. Buying a safe and reliable used car may take some time. Don’t rush into a purchase until you’re comfortable with the purchase price, the vehicle’s history, and a safety and mechanical inspection.
#5: Know the facts! The truth is that this new law gives consumers a false sense of security. Dealers are required to provide the government report but this report does not provide a detailed vehicle history. Make sure that when you go to make the big purchase of buying a used vehicle that you are informed on every aspect of the car. Purchasing a car that has previous damages could be a safety risk for you and your family. Be an informed consumer by knowing the facts and knowing your rights.