Why vehicle history reports should be the first but not the last step in choosing a used vehicle especially buyers with poor credit that require high risk car loans

What we know

It's imperative that car buyers with problem credit searching for online auto loans take advantage of every used car shopping tool at their disposal.

At Auto Credit Express we understand why this is important because we've spent the past two decades helping car buyers with bad credit find those new car dealers who can give them their best opportunities for an auto loan approval.

It's also the reason we've included a resource section on our website that offers advice on topics ranging from repossession to today's topic – the importance of using vehicle history reports in the used car buying process.

Used car buying tools

One of the keys to successfully completing an auto loan for borrowers with less than perfect credit is choosing a used car that won't cost them hundreds or even thousands of dollars in repair costs due to hidden damage. In order to do this, buyers need to be able to trust that the vehicle they're planning on financing is exactly what the seller represents it to be.

This is especially important with used cars, since the majority of these vehicles aren't covered by any state lemon laws.

Fortunately there are a number of resources available to used car buyers that can aid them in the process of picking the right vehicle. The first and most cost-effective of these tools is the vehicle history report.

Vehicle history reports

The two largest vehicle history report companies are Carfax and Experian's AutoCheck.

Looking at both the AutoCheck and Carfax web sites on June 9th of 2013 we found that Carfax charged $39.99 for a single report, while you could purchase one from AutoCheck for $29.99.

AutoCheck also offers its users an unlimited number of vehicle history reports over a 30 day period for $44.99, while Carfax charges $49.99 for five of its reports. Carfax does offers 30 days of unlimited reports for $54.99 but only five can be run by VIN – the rest have to be run by license plate number.

Just the first step

Regardless of which company you choose to buy from, be sure to order one for any used car you're seriously considering. But be forewarned: these reports aren't always complete and sometimes don't contain all the information on a vehicle - but at least they're a start.

Once you've narrowed the choice down (using vehicle history reports) to the vehicle you're most interest in, there's one remaining thing you'll need to pay to have done.

Vehicle physical inspection

Provided the vehicle you have chosen has a clean vehicle history report the next is to have it physically inspected. To do this, it should be taken it to an ASE certified master mechanic as well as a body and frame specialist.

This service is typically offered by both individual mechanics and vehicle inspection companies. The cost for this type of service is typically between $100 and $200 but consider it money well spent. A vehicle with hidden damage could cost you thousands of dollars in repair bills as well as a considerably lower resale value at trade in time.

If the seller refuses permission for this it's best to just walk away from the deal.

The Bottom Line

A vehicle history report is a valuable first step in deciding which used car to buy but it's only the first step. For any vehicle you're seriously considering this should be followed up with a professional mechanical and physical inspection.

One more tip: Auto Credit Express specializes in helping applicants with car credit issues locate those dealers that can give them their best chances for approved auto loans.

So if you're ready to reestablish your auto credit, you can begin now by filling out our online auto loan application.