An appraisal is a must before you buy a house. Likewise, a vehicle that has been used previously should be inspected. Before you spend thousands of dollars on an automobile that might be a complete lemon, it's crucial to do your research.

It's easy. While you shop around for cars, be sure to note down the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) for each one that interests you. This number and letter sequence can be found on the driver’s side dash, driver’s side door post, insurance card, or title/registration. This applies regardless of whether the car was purchased through a dealer or classified ad. You can also verify the history of your vehicle.

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You can get a used vehicle history report from a company like CARFAX, AutoCheck, or AutoCheck once you have the VIN. This will give you all the information you need about that vehicle. The used car history report will include basic information such as year, make and model, engine, brake, and restraint system. It will also reveal any major problems that were reported to the state DMV such as persistent mechanical issues, severe damage or theft, fire damage, fleet/taxi usage, and more.

Many times, you won't be able to spot many of these issues by simply inspecting your car or driving the car around for a while. You may not be able to see some of these problems unless you have a qualified mechanic. You should always check the history of your car before making a final decision. It will provide you with peace of mind.

The latter package is a good choice as you can look at as many cars as you like until you find the one that suits you best. You'll likely be looking at multiple cars as you go through this buying process.

You can see that $20 extra to ensure the vehicle is in good condition and has no hidden issues is an affordable price when you consider how much it costs even to purchase a pre-owned vehicle. It's also possible to find out whether it has had multiple owners, or if it has accumulated hundreds of thousands of kilometers.