Used Cars Report
Vehicle History: Safety, Reliability & Warranty
Essentially the used car report is what you need to get to make sure that you are making a car purchase that won't come back and bite you later when you find out that the car has once been totalled in an accident (written off by the insurance company), and thus has been salvages, or that the car has suffered flood damage (which is normally irreparable but can be hidden).
You can also find out if the odometer has been rollbacked, which many people do to get more money for the car, since value is tied so much to mileage. They can tell you also whether the car has been designated as a lemon, or whether the title has ever been junked. The used cars reports can tell you whether the car has failed a state emissions inspection. They can also tell you if the car has been involved in lien activity or has ever been used for a purpose which can change the value of the car if known such as taxi use, rental use or leasing.
There are other kinds of used car reports that you can get, such as a report on the safety and reliability of the car which can tell you about crash test results, any safety recalls, reliability ratings and warranty ratings for that make and model.
Probably the most famous company providing used cars reports in the USA are CARFAX. Their vision was the creation of a one-stop source for car history information when people are buying and selling used cars. The vehicle history reports were first made available in 1986. Technology wasn't really up for providing what the market required but it was a good start. They had a database of only 10,000 cars and distributed their reports by fax to the dealer markets. As they became the vehicle report source of choice, they began to receive title information from just about all of the fifty states so that by 1993 they could offer the services nationally.
In 1996 they launched their website which gave consumers the same vehicle history reports as are offered to dealers.
They use the unique vehicle identification number (VIN) that is found on the dashboards of vehicles and the title documents of cars which enables them to generate a detailed car history report and a background check on all used cars on the market.
The database includes 3 billion unique records from thousands of sources including vehicle inspection stations, motor vehicle departments, car auctions, rental agencies and police and fire departments. They get 1.83 million visitors a month on their website and offer a guarantee that if they don't have information on a severe problem on the reports you buy they will buyback the car.