Five reasons to study up on your car's history
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It’s a situation you hope you’ll never face. You have just purchased your dream car through a private sale and you can’t wait to show your friends and family your new wheels.
Then, a week or so later you wake to a knock on the door saying your new pride and joy is going to be repossessed because the previous owner failed to keep up with their finance payments. Yes, you’ve had the wool pulled over your eyes.
Although this scenario may seem unlikely, it does happen. Many cars sold today have hidden secrets that can cost new owners thousands of dollars. However, the good news is this can be avoided with a decent vehicle history report.
Here are five common checks a vehicle history report covers.
1. Outstanding finance
Did you know that if there is a security interest registered, another person or company may seize the vehicle to pay off the debt?
A vehicle history report will scan the vehicle’s registration number against the Personal Properties and Securities Register data (PPSR) and determine whether the vehicle is debt-free. In the 10 months to October 31 this year, 10 per cent of AA Vehicle History reports issued have had a security interest.
2. Odometer history
It’s simple maths — the lower the mileage, the more the vehicle is worth. The same principle applies to Road User Charges (RUC) — the lower the mileage, the less RUC you need to pay.
Odometer history is recorded every WoF/CoF and during border inspections (imports). If the odometer reading is inconsistent, it may indicate some tampering has occurred, for example it’s been wound back or disconnected. In the 10 months to October 31, 7 per cent of AA Vehicle History reports have found issues with odometer readings.
3. Registration status
If a vehicle is de-registered, it can be a costly unexpected expense getting it back on the road. The vehicle cannot legally be driven on the road, and you’ll need to put the vehicle through the compliance process which involves a much more stringent inspection than a WoF.
Re-registrations should also be approached with caution. Either the vehicle was left without registration for 12 months (automatically becoming de-registered) or the vehicle may have been in an accident and written off. If it’s the latter, get the professionals in for a comprehensive assessment of the previous accident damage and repair.
4. Imported as damaged
Buyers may be alerted if the vehicle has been imported and flagged as damaged at the border inspection.
This information will notify you about water or fire damage, often referred to as a statutory right-off.
Using this information, you can then make an informed decision on whether to look elsewhere or negotiate a better price based on the findings.
We would also recommend you get the vehicle professionally inspected to ensure the damage won’t affect the vehicle’s long term safety and durability.
5. Reported as stolen
Every year thousands of vehicles are stolen and many find their way back into the marketplace. These sellers rely on the fact that some unsuspecting buyer will not invest in a vehicle history report. Often it’s one of those “too good to be true” scenarios that has you running for your wallet.
If you purchase a vehicle that’s stolen, you won’t be able to transfer ownership and it possibly won’t be long until you have a visit from the police seeking to reunite the vehicle with its old owner, leaving you potentially out of pocket.
For many of us, buying a vehicle is the second largest purchase we’ll make other than a house. Take away the stress and invest in a vehicle history report. It’s a simple, cost-effective check that can save you time, money and heartbreak.