As a potential car buyer, you probably know that a vehicle history report (VHR) contains vital information about a used car. You use it to know who has owned the vehicle, how it was maintained, the damages it has sustained, and many other things. This is why it's advisable to check a used car's VHR before purchase. However, you shouldn't rely on the report alone because it has its shortcomings. Here are four limitations of the report:
Some Accidents May Not Show Up
Not all accidents will show up in a VHR. One reason for this is that some states' Departments of Motor Vehicles don't provide the data necessary for creating VHRs. There are also insurance companies that have nondisclosure agreements that prevent them from releasing their client's data to third parties. The other reason is that minor accidents, which do not cost a lot to repair, may not appear on these reports.
Therefore, do not mistake the absence of accident information on a VHR to mean that the car in question has never been involved in an accident. In fact, the companies that issue these reports are aware of this problem, which is why they provide disclaimers to this effect.
It Takes Time to Update
If an accident happened today, it wouldn't immediately be added to the vehicle's VHR; there is a time lag. The data come from different sources, such as car manufacturers, salvage yards, insurance companies, and many others. Therefore, a crashed car may be repaired and put on the market before the accident data finds its way into the latest VHR. It's even worse if you rely on an outdated report; it may be missing data vital to the purchase of the car.
The Information Isn't Verified
Lastly, you should know that the companies that produce the VHRs rarely verify the data. They receive the information from the primary sources, such as the DMV and auto insurers, and use them to compile the reports. This means that if a primary source makes a mistake, deliberate or otherwise, then the mistake gets carried forward and is used to produce a VHR that you may consider an absolute fact.
Therefore, reading a VHR is a good starting point for understanding the history of a car, but you shouldn't stop there. The best way to know the current status of a car is to scrutinize the VHR, test drive it, and have a mechanic inspect the car to confirm the information. Now that you're armed with this information, look for auto dealers in your area, like Hart Fullerton Leasing, and start the search for that great used car.