Watch Out for These Things on a Vehicle History Report

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Shopping for a used vehicle is often no simple task. There are a lot more factors to take into consideration when shopping for a used or certified pre-owned vehicle than a brand new one. Mileage, service records, recalls, accidents and other factors are all important to think about when buying used. 

This is where the Vehicle History Report comes in handy! The most common is from Carfax, and it includes all the pertinent information a potential buyer needs to know about a used vehicle.

To make it as easy as possible on our customers, we at Steve Landers Toyota in Little Rock, AR provide a free Carfax report on the listing of every used vehicle we sell. 

When looking at the Carfax or other Vehicle History Report, there are several things to look out for. If you come across any of the following, you’ll want to think twice about the vehicle and probably continue your search. 

Years by the Sea or Snow

Living in an area of the country where the roads are heavily salted during snowy winters or by the salty ocean can cause serious corrosion to those vehicles. Salt can cause pitting, corrosion and other damage even years later. Think twice about that car if the Vehicle History Report shows years spent in the snowy north or in a coastal area. If you’re set on that vehicle, make sure to thoroughly inspect the undercarriage. 

Rental Agency or Business Ownership

A business with fleet vehicles for employees and people who rent a vehicle through a rental agency aren’t going to treat the vehicle as well as a private individual will. Be wary of a vehicle if either of these are listed under the owner's section on a Vehicle History Report. 

Flood or Fire Damage

With the recent flooding here in Arkansas, there were many vehicles that were totaled because of flood damage. If a Vehicle History Report shows that the car was exposed to fire-fighting chemicals or extreme water, that’s an indication of future repairs that could be costly. 

Higher Reported Mileage than Odometer Reading

Verified odometer readings at various times in the vehicle’s life — when the vehicle was sold, service appointments, etc. — are important pieces information to have. If the Vehicle History Report shows mileage readings that are higher than the actual mileage displayed on the odometer, you’re probably looking at odometer fraud. It’s not as common these days, but if this happens, run. 

Salvage Title

A rebuilt, or salvage, title is a hard pass for most buyers. Most states now require vehicles with severe damage to carry a “salvage title” to warn potential buyers of those issues.

Major Damage

Vehicle wrecks are more common than any other accident. Damage to the vehicle’s frame and/or suspension along with warped front and rear crumple zones are things to look out for. This issues can’t always be completely repaired, so major structural damage is one of the biggest things to look out for on a Vehicle History Report. 

Airbag Deployment

To prevent injury to the driver and passengers, airbags are designed to deploy in major accidents. If you see that the airbags have been deployed on a Vehicle History Report, it could be an indicator to structural issues, and that can jeopardize the vehicle’s reliability or safety features.