4 Hidden Dangers in Used Cars

by Aivaras Grigelevičius
May 10, 2021
by Aivaras Grigelevičius
May 10, 2021

How do you feel after buying a used car? Usually, the first few days are filled with uncertainty and stress because if there’s anything wrong with that car – issues can show up at any moment.

Buying a good used car is hard. Either you or a specialized mechanic must find as many wrong or broken bits as possible so you could decide whether it’s worth buying and at what price.

However, there are a few things you should find out even before going to check the car, as it can be just a waste of time otherwise. Just enter that vehicle’s VIN number to get a car history report, and look for entries in the upcoming four categories.

Mileage fraud

Up to 50% of traded cars in Europe have their odometers rolled back while increasing these particular cars’ prices. This activity is illegal in most countries, but car salesmen still find a way to overcome restrictions.

Why is counterfeit mileage a big deal?

Okay, you get that car’s history report, find out the actual mileage is 400.000 KM, odometer shows only 220.000 KM, but the car still looks good, rides great, etc. So, should you really keep yourself from buying it?

The first drawback is the price. Odometers are being rolled back to increase a car’s value, so you’d probably be overpaying if the mileage is fake.

At 200.000 KM, cars usually are still in great condition – they have their timing belts and chains replaced recently, oils changed, and are ready to double that odometer reading. However, if the actual mileage is nearly half a million kilometers – anything can fall apart. Sure, it all depends on how well-built the car is. But various bearings, gaskets, pumps, the engine itself are getting near the end of their lives and may even draw the last breath at some point.

counterfeit mileage

Accidents in vehicle’s history

Uneven tire wear, unmatched panel gaps, rust in unusual places warn about the possibility of major accidents in the past. And while some professionals bring damaged cars to life very well, shoddy repairs put your life at risk.

For example, bent frame parts should be replaced, not fixed. Metals lose strength after bending them, and you wouldn’t want to test this on your own.

Let’s say you found out that the car you are interested in had an accident. Car history reports usually reveal how big the impact was, which part of the car was damaged, show photos of the damaged vehicle.

At this point, you can either take a pass on this car or take it to a professional to check whether these damages were appropriately fixed.

Value-reducing titles

Former police, taxi, rental cars usually go for dirt-cheap. Nobody ever cared about such vehicles as they were meant for work. Police cars regularly pursuit runaways at high speeds, taxi cab engines keep idling for hours each day, and rental cars… well, everybody beat them as hard as they like.

Buying a car with such titles isn’t so bad, especially when you need something for spare parts or just cheap. However, the price should be way below the average market value. In short, checking previous titles before buying a vehicle is vital.

Thefts

Finally, you spent a lot of hard-earned money on a car you always wanted. But once you try to register it, it appears that it has been stolen in a foreign country. In this case, you have to give the car back to the original owner. Moreover, the dilemma of getting your money back is entirely on you.

All these flaws are silent killers. Usually, these aren’t visible without car history reports, but once they hit you, your savings can be crushed relentlessly.

Finally, whenever you’re buying a used car, it’s a good idea to compare the advertised car specifications to the info available from the car manufacturer. You can do that for free by using our VIN decoder tool.

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