The car looks nice. The seller seems open and honest. He asks you to take the car on a test drive. You drive around for a moment, and it looks safe. The engine sounds good too. But it gets less interesting…
First off, there is a little problem with the title. Also, you hear that the vehicle’s paperwork got lost in transit two years ago or that a dog ate the vehicle’s manual. However, the dealer tells you not to worry. There is an easy fix. He’ll sign a bill of sale. You can get a title at the DMV office.
With that out of the way, everything else seems fine, but you can’t shake off a feeling. What is that?
That is the nudge of common sense whispering in a still, small voice, warning you that you are about to be conned.
How can you protect yourself from getting ripped off when buying a used car?
This is where an online VIN lookup tool may come in handy.
Everybody has a smartphone these days. Before you purchase a previously owned car, you need to step back and check every detail to be sure that what you are getting is the real deal.
With your phone and an internet connection, you can look up any VIN with a free VIN tool.
If you need to know what a VIN is, check our post on what a vehicle identification number is and why you need one.
This article will explain why it is necessary to check the car’s VIN before buying a secondhand vehicle.
How will checking a VIN help you make informed decisions when purchasing a pre-owned car?
Here’s an illustration.
Let’s say our guy Tom, wants to buy a car. He finds a fairly used option within his budget online. He and this random dude from Reddit, Craigslist, Facebook marketplace some other internet platform set up a meeting. He meets with the seller at the designated meet-up location.
The seller shows him the paperwork. The vehicle and documents look real enough. Tom hands over the cash. The Reddit guy hands over a counterfeit title as proof of payment before dissolving into oblivion.
Two days later, Tom takes his new purchase out for a drive.
Out on the road, he gets pulled over by the police. The law enforcement officer asks for his paperwork. He produces it. The police officer runs the VIN on the title, but the VIN on the document does not exist. He checks inside the car for a VIN, runs that, and discovers that Tom is driving a stolen vehicle.
Whoa! Wait a minute!
Our Tom is innocent. He has the title to prove that he bought this car. He has all the proof of payment that he should have, but he still gets arrested for being in possession of a stolen property. The vehicle is impounded. Tom loses his money and spends some time cooling off in jail or visiting the courthouse to clear his name.
How to avoid vehicle-related scams and problems
There are so many reasons why checking the VIN of a vehicle at the point of purchase is essential.
Top on this list is that law enforcement officers track stolen cars using the VIN of the vehicle. You cannot afford to find yourself in a situation where you bag jail time for a crime you did not commit.
It is not enough to see the title and other documents. We live in trying times, and documents can be forged, cloned, or altered. The only way out is to look up the VIN.
The VIN of a car tells you the history of a vehicle. Checking the VIN before the conclusion of a car purchase will protect you from buying a stolen or defective vehicle.
Besides, there are a lot of fraudulent people out there. Sometimes, they change out the parts of a car or even try to clone a VIN from similar car models or use a different VIN from the original manufacturer’s authorized VIN.
These guys try to pass off a defective vehicle for a good one. They may offer you a vehicle for a price above the car’s worth. They can also try to sell you a stolen vehicle or one with a lien if you are not attentive.
To protect yourself from falling for a scam, you can look up any VIN with a free VIN lookup tool such as EpicVin.
When using EpicVin, all you need to do is to find the VIN of the vehicle that you are about to buy.
Where to find the VIN on a vehicle
There are several places on the body of a vehicle where you can find the VIN of a car.
Depending on the car manufacturer, the VIN can be found on either the lower part of the driver’s side of the car’s dashboard or the driver’s doorjamb. In addition, the VIN of some vehicles may be etched onto the bonnet or front frame.
You can also find the VIN of a car written on the paperwork associated with a car, such as the insurance policy, manual, and the vehicle’s title and registration.
Check the VIN on the documents and different parts of the car. Compare the VIN displayed to see if they all match. Then, input the 17-digit characters in the search console of the EpicVin tool, click check and wait for the result.
In less than a minute, this online VIN lookup tool will show you the true history of the vehicle you want and help protect you from purchasing a car with a fraudulent title. It is that easy.
All Tom needed to do was use EpicVin’s free VIN lookup service to check the VIN of the vehicle at the point of purchase. This simple move would have saved him all the trouble.