Put on the brakes before completely trusting a car history report. There are nearly 6 million cars involved in crashes every year that are serious enough to report to police or insurers and nearly 12 percent of those are considered totaled, USA today reported.
Many of the wrecked cars are salvaged and their parts wind up in cars that are in used car dealers. This can affect a car's performance and safety, not to mention it decreases the selling value of the car. Car history reports are supposed to show a cars crashes and maintenance but often times they are wrong.
One example was when Bobby Smith bought a used 2003 Ford Mustang Cobra in 2010. Smith, after inspecting the car for himself, claimed the dealer knew the vehicle was in a front end collision. The dealership used a clean Carfax report, telling him the car was never in an accident. The trial ended in a hung jury and is rescheduled for January. Another case awarded Juan Sanchez, of Florida, $3,5000 in damages from a dealership for deceptive acts, after a Carfax report had an incorrect date of an accident, the source reported.
Even dealers get tricked by the used car history reports though. The source reported, there is increasing popularity for a 2009 law that would require insurance agencies to share data on totaled vehicles through a Justice Department database, the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System.
In order for buyers to avoid a car with past troubles, they are encouraged to buy from a dealer. It is important to check Consumers Reports and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's complaint database, get a vehicle history report and have the vehicle checked at an independent mechanic.
"The best way to know if the car has previously been wrecked is to have a professional inspect it - it really isn't that expensive," said, Robert Duff, Smith's lawyer, USA Today reported. "It costs between $50 and $200, and it's money well spent."
Another study shows that many car buyers are not taking test drives, The Detroit Free Press reported. Maritz Research study showed that 11.4 percent of buyers did not take a test drive in 2012. Drivers are encouraged to inspect and test drive cars to avoid surprises.
"As cliché as perhaps it sounds, there's that new-car smell that needs to be experienced firsthand and cannot be experienced over the Internet," said Chris Travell, vice president of strategic consulting for Maritz Research, the Detroit Free Press reported.