Red Flags on a Vehicle History Report

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The Vehicle History Report is the best tool to utilize when searching for and buying a used vehicle. It lists critical information throughout the life of the vehicle, like recalls, service visits, accidents and more. 

However, there are some things to keep an eye out for on the Vehicle History Report. If you see any of the things listed below, think hard on whether that vehicle is truly for you. 

Salvage Title

A rebuilt title, also known as salvage title, is a hard pass for most buyers. Most states now require vehicles with severe damage to carry a “salvage title” to warn potential buyers of those issues.

Airbag Deployment

To prevent injury to the driver and passengers, airbags are designed to deploy in major accidents. If you see that the airbags have been deployed on a Vehicle History Report, it could be an indicator to structural issues, and that can jeopardize the vehicle’s reliability or safety features.

Major Damage

Vehicle wrecks are more common than any other accident. Damage to the vehicle’s frame and/or suspension along with warped front and rear crumple zones are things to look out for. This issues can’t always be completely repaired, so major structural damage is one of the biggest things to look out for on a Vehicle History Report. 

Rental Agency or Business Ownership

A business with fleet vehicles for employees and people who rent a vehicle through a rental agency aren’t going to treat the vehicle as well as a private individual will. Be weary of a vehicle if either of these are listed under the owners section on a Vehicle History Report. 

Years by the Sea or Snow

Living in an area of the country where the roads are heavily salted during snowy winters or by the salty ocean can cause serious corrosion to those vehicles. Salt can cause pitting, corrosion and other damage even years later. Think twice about that car if the Vehicle History Report shows years spent in the snowy north or in a coastal area. If you’re set on that vehicle, make sure to thoroughly inspect the undercarriage. 

Higher Reported Mileage than Odometer Reading

Verified odometer readings at various times in the vehicle’s life — when the vehicle was sold, service appointments, etc. — are important pieces information to have. If the Vehicle History Report shows mileage readings that are higher than the actual mileage displayed on the odometer, you’re probably looking at odometer fraud. It’s not as common these days, but if this happens, run. 

Flood or Fire Damage

With the Arkansas River flooding that took place here in Little Rock and the rest of the state this past spring, there were many vehicles that were totaled because of flood damage. If a Vehicle History Report shows that the car was exposed to fire-fighting chemicals or extreme water, that’s an indication of future repairs that could be costly. 

Here at Steve Landers Kia in Little Rock, we offer a large inventory of used vehicles in addition to our new Kia offerings. With every used car we sell, we provide a FREE Carfax report on that vehicle’s online listing. Just look for the Carfax logo!