Q:

How can you determine who owned a vehicle before you?

A:

Quick Answer

To determine the previous owner of a vehicle, request for a vehicle history report, also called a VIN check, which provides information on previous ownership, liens held on the car, maintenance and title history problems. The report also reveals details on flood damage, car title and accidents involving the vehicle.

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Full Answer

A vehicle identification number, or VIN, is required to acquire a vehicle history report. The number is typically found on the driver side interior dash, below the hood at the engine’s front, or between the windshield washer unit and front carb. The trunk, rear wheel well and driver door jam are also possible places where a car’s VIN is printed.

A vehicle history report helps potential buyers know about what they are buying by stating the number of times a vehicle has been sold, the sale dates, any recalls and if the vehicle has been salvaged. While some online sites offer a free VIN check, they typically provide limited information, such as customer complaints and recalls. Prospective buyers are advised to choose reputable websites that provide complete information for a reasonable fee. For example, DMV.org allows users to access a comprehensive vehicle history report within seconds through their mobile devices or computers. The site claims that it offers reliable reports from its nationwide database.

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