When buying cars of almost any age, your eyes are often the target for deceit by car dealers.
It’s crucial to consider what you can’t physically investigation, reason why we have included a number of things to look out for when performing car VIN checks.
They make sure that the vehicle triggers salivation as much as is possible. Cosmetics often wins performance.
Where there are disguised problems, it takes more than a discerning eye and your mechanic’s experience, to cut through the common con-based-marketing; you need a proper VIN check.
With a VIN check, you are able to know:
☑️The true mileage
☑️The service history
☑️Number of owners
☑️Accidents recorded and severity
☑️Dirty secrets…you need to read this one!
In this post, we intend to share why as Nigerians, you should seriously consider a VIN check before buying a car that has been used overseas.
This will not be very valuable to cars that were bought brand new in Nigeria.
That is because, there are no records of these in foreign databases.
So below, find a number of reasons why you should do a car VIN check on every foreign used ride you seek to buy, whether it has been locally used here or not.
6 Things To Check for When Performing Car VIN Checks
In a number of cases, mileage may just seem like a number, and there’s some merit to that thought line.
However, just like everything machine ever manufactured, the older it gets, the more likely it is to breakdown.
With odometer rollbacks being so rampant, you might be paying so much more for a vehicle that displays 41,000miles on the dash yet, whose original mileage is an inch above 302,000miles.
If that knowledge doesn’t save you anything, it will save you the premium you seek to pay for what you felt was a low mileage.
While the common assumption is that high-mileage vehicles can be recurrently problematic, there are way too many exceptions.
Normally, cars that although have ramped up great miles but were religiously and sensibly serviced across their years of usage, still churn out great performance.
For instance, if every required maintenance procedure as scheduled by the manufacturer (including changing parts of the engine due to mileage and not because they are faulty) have been dutifully executed, then, these cars may be 298,000miles yet be in better condition than a 74,000miles vehicle that was used (and abused) by a negligent individual who felt routine servicing was mere extortion. Only with a detailed car VIN check can help fish this out.
Number of owners
While this may seem immaterial, single-owner vehicles are often priced better than multiple-owner vehicles, for good reasons. e.g., One who buys a car brand new is likely going to be more financially capable of rendering due service to the car than a 4th owner who could only afford it at 40% of its former value, after 8years.
Also, with different maintenance cultures, driving habits and road conditions across many car owners, vehicles with one or 2 owners will be the preferred choice and only a proper car VIN check can unveil the chain of ownership.
Due to structural impacts on a car, and the accompanying repairs needed, most cars with accidents are cheaper to buy.
However, if you are getting this car from a dealer, more often than not, s/he would have bought it and made attempts at fixing the impacts.
To extend profit margins, safety issues or even performance concerns may be compromised whilst fixing the vehicle. Like they say, “it’s business.”
A detailed car VIN check helps you put on a detectors X-ray glasses, to unveil the area and severity of the accident.
Besides accidents which is the lead cause for issuing salvage titles to cars, there are other conditions that can earn a vehicle the same label.
Flood is a common reason. And a flooded car can drench you with mechanical and electrical issues if not properly sorted.
Another not-too-common issue is theft! In a nation like ours where proper checks aren’t frequently done on car titles, a number of cars stolen overseas are shipped here for sales.
If this car is tracked by Interpol, the buyer realizes that they may just have paid so much for major trouble.
A VIN check doesn’t cost nearly as much yet saves one a whooping lot.
Occasionally, we find desperate dealers who seek to sell a car that has been locally used in Nigeria as one that is fresh-off-the-boat.
While these cars are often very neatly used, they shouldn’t be sold fraudulently as cars that haven’t been previously registered in Nigeria.
It is paying so much more, for less. How does a VIN check help unveil this? Often, a detailed VIN check will share when the car was sold or auctioned off and, in some cases, when it was shipped off to Nigeria.
Sometimes, this happened 2years before you came upon the deal. Armed with this information, you then can ask, “how come this car has been unsold and unregistered, for 2years?!” If you have the patience, you will likely hear a plausible story.
I often advise impatience…just run!
Let us know if you found this piece helpful.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) On Car VIN Check
What is a VIN, and why is it important for my car?
A VIN, or Vehicle Identification Number, is a unique 17-character code assigned to every vehicle.
It’s crucial because it serves as the car’s fingerprint, providing essential information about its make, model, year, and more.
It’s used for registration, insurance, recalls, and tracking a car’s history.
Where can I find my car's VIN?
Your VIN is typically located on the dashboard near the windshield on the driver’s side, on the driver’s side door jamb, or on the vehicle’s title and registration documents.
You can also find it on some maintenance records.
What does each character in the VIN represent?
Each character in the VIN represents specific information about the vehicle.
The first three characters typically identify the manufacturer and country of origin, while the following characters provide details like the vehicle’s make, model, engine type, and series.
How can I decode my VIN to learn more about my car?
You can decode your VIN using online VIN decoding tools or consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual.
These resources can help you understand the meaning of each character in your VIN and what information it contains.
Can I use my VIN to check a vehicle's history?
Yes, you can. Many online services and government agencies offer VIN checks or reports that provide information about a vehicle’s history, including accidents, title status, and maintenance records.
These reports can help you make an informed decision when buying a used car.
Is it possible for two cars to have the same VIN?
No, each VIN is unique to a specific vehicle.
The 17-character combination is carefully designed to prevent duplication.
If you come across two vehicles with the same VIN, it’s a red flag for potential fraud, and you should report it to the appropriate authorities.