Buying a used car: Do you know the vehicles history?

Helping car buyers shop smarter
Published: Jul. 20, 2020 at 6:34 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - If you are looking to buy a used car - do your research. You could end up overpaying by thousands of dollars on a used car if you aren’t careful.

As many as 40% of vehicles on the roads right now have been in an accident or sustained damaged according to data from CARFAX. That’s about 110 million vehicles.

In the video above, we show you two vehicles that are fresh out of a collision repair shop in Northern Virginia.

“One of them had $1,300 in damage, one of them had $18,000 in damage. Is there any way you can tell which was which?” asked Emilie Voss with CARFAX.

So which of these two vehicles - the Lexus or the Jeep - recently had $18,000 in damage repaired? The Jeep! In the video, we show you what it looked like just two months before repairs - the whole front end was smashed in.

“And that’s significant because you want to know if you’re buying a used car, it’s not necessarily bad that’s it’s been in an accident, but you want to know that it was in an accident so you don’t end up overpaying,” said Voss.

In fact, the Jeep is now worth about $600 less than before it had the crash.

This Lexus was also in a minor accident, a back brake light was busted and there was $1,300 in damage. But the difference in damage between the two is significant, and what’s scary is how you can’t tell just from looking at them.

“It’s just important to do your homework, to be armed with that knowledge so that you don’t have any surprises down the road,” adds Voss.

There are three ways to protect yourself:

  • Pull the vehicle history reports for any vehicle you are about to buy. CARFAX has a pretty easy one to access online.
  • If there are any open recalls, have the previous owner or dealer fix them before you buy and take the car off the lot.
  • Take any vehicle you are about to buy to an independent mechanic and body shop.

“So, that they can make sure that any damage that’s on that vehicle was properly repaired and also take it for a test drive,” said Voss.

Always make sure your next vehicle purchase is safe and reliable, and worth your hard-earned cash.

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