Three Things The VIN Number Can Tell You About A Used Car

With the price of the average new car currently at slightly over 31,000, buying a used vehicle makes sense even for those who aren't living on tight budgets. It's no secret that car values depreciate significantly over relatively short periods of time, making a good used car a smart purchase. However, buyers should alway do their due diligence before making a major purchase -- after all, a car is a substantial investment in your lifestyle and quality of life, and you'll need it to be reliable enough to get you to work and other places you need to go the majority of the time. You probably already know to kick the tires and have the vehicle inspected by a trusted mechanic before making a final commitment, but you may not know that you learn a lot about a particular car by investigating it's VIN number. Following are just three ways that a little research on the VIN can prevent potential used car buyers from making costly mistakes. 

The VIN Can Tell You if a Car's Been Stolen 

Although no reputable used car dealer is going to risk having stolen property on the lot, it's still a good practice to err on the side of caution just in case something slipped through the cracks. Cross checking the vehicle's VIN against a national database of stolen cars can prevent you from making an expensive error. 

The VIN Can Tell You if a  Car's Been Recalled

Running a comprehensive check on a vehicle's VIN number will also let you know if the car or any of its components have ever been the subject of a recall. Although this isn't necessarily a reason to bypass a particular vehicle if the issue is minor and the faulty part has been replaced, it nonetheless can alert you to potential problems -- for instance, you should be able to tell from maintenance records whether or not the faulty part was ever replaced. 

The VIN Can Tell You if a Car's Been in an Accident 

You should also be able to tell from the VIN whether or not a car you're thinking about buying has ever been in an accident. If the frame has been seriously damaged in the past, the vehicle might not be as safe as you would like due to structural weakness. 

Although the results of a VIN check should rarely be the only criteria used to make purchasing decisions, it's a great first step toward finding the used vehicle that's right for you. Contact a dealership, such as Freeman Motor Co, for more help.