Look for these warning signs:
This obvious red flag indicates a collision has occurred and gives the extent of the damage. Additional information is contained in the detailed history section of the report.
Finding a lower number of miles on the display panel than in the history report is cause for suspicion. Rolling back miles on an odometer is more difficult than it used to be, but not impossible.
It’s not unusual for a vehicle to be recalled, but open recalls can alert you to outstanding issues that may require your attention and may hint at how attentive a former owner has been to the vehicle.
It’s unrealistic to expect the report to include every detail of a vehicle’s service record. But you can use the report to get a general sense of whether major service milestones were met. And if you see ongoing issues with a major component (e.g., transmission, engine), it may be a sign of a significant problem.
This section indicates whether the car has:
- Received a salvage or junk title (both indicate extensive damage to the vehicle).
- Been rebuilt or reconstructed.
- Suffered major damage from fire, hail or flooding.
- Been declared a lemon and repurchased by the manufacturer. Remember, not all states issue buybacks, and requirements for a lemon law vehicle vary.
Water damage due to flooding is another warning sign you should consider. See our slideshow below to help you recognize evidence that a car may have experienced flooding.