Types of Vehicle History Records: What you can find in a VIN report
By understanding these records, you can make an informed decision when purchasing a used car and avoid potential safety and financial risks.
1. Accident Records
Accident records are one of the most important types of records you will find in a vehicle history report. These records indicate whether the car has been involved in any accidents or collisions in the past. They will also provide details about the severity of the accident, damage location on the vehicle, impact location. the extent of the damage, and whether the car was totaled or not.
2. Title Records
Title records provide information about the car's ownership history and also about any braned titles (listed further). These records will tell you how many owners the car has had in the past and whether the car has ever been salvaged or rebuilt. They will also provide information about any liens or loans that are currently outstanding on the car.
3. Odometer Records
Odometer records provide information about the car's mileage history. These records will tell you how many miles the car has been driven in the past and whether the odometer has been tampered with or rolled back.
4. Service and Maintenance Records
Service and maintenance records provide information about the car's maintenance history. These records will tell you when the car was last serviced, what repairs were made, and whether any parts were replaced.
5. Vehicle Registration Records
Vehicle registration records provide information about the car's registration history. These records will tell you when the car was first registered, where it was registered, and whether the registration has ever been suspended or revoked.
Types of Problematic Vehicle History Records
1. Salvage Title
A salvage title is a type of title that a vehicle can receive if the cost of repairing the vehicle exceeds its actual value. This title indicates that the vehicle has been in a severe accident and suffered extensive damage. A vehicle with a salvage title may not be safe to drive and may have underlying issues that can affect its performance in the future.
2. Flood / water Damage
Flood / water damage is a type of damage that can occur when a vehicle is exposed to water, usually as a result of flood or hurricane. Flood damage can cause severe hidden damage to the vehicle's electrical system, engine, and transmission which often revelas itself some time later after the exposure. These issues impact the vehicle's safety and performance. Besides functional, vehicles with flood damage can have other defects, like rust, corrosion, and mold, which add to maintainance cost and derease value or event impact the dirver's health. Flood damaged vehicles are totaled.
3. Fire Damage
Fire damage is a type of damage that can occur when a vehicle catches fire. Fire damage can cause extensive damage to the vehicle's engine, electrical system, interior and other components. Vehicles with fire damage can have significant issues that can impact the vehicle's safety and performance. Fire damaged vehicles are totaled in most cases.
4. Multiple Accidents
A vehicle with a history of multiple accidents can indicate underlying issues with the vehicle. Multiple accidents affect the condition of the vehicle's frame, suspension, and other components, even if they are not severely damaged in one of the accidents. Vehicles with a history of multiple accidents may have significant issues that can impact the vehicle's safety and performance.
5. Lemon Law Buyback
A lemon law buyback is a vehicle that has been bought back by the manufacturer due to a defect that cannot be repaired. Lemon law buybacks can have significant issues that can impact the vehicle's safety and performance. These types of vehicles may have a history of significant repairs and may not be reliable.
6. Odometer Rollback
An odometer rollback occurs when the mileage on the vehicle's odometer is tampered with to show a lower mileage than the vehicle has actually traveled. This type of fraud can be challenging to identify, and it can lead to potential issues with the vehicle's condition and performance.
This record indicates that the car's airbags were deployed at some point, which could be due to a prior accident. It is important to investigate the reason for the deployment and the extent of any damage, and also make sure the new airbag is functional.
This record indicates that the car's airbags were tampered with, often by using counterfeit airbags , which could pose a safety risk.
This record indicates that the car's VIN was illegally replicated onto a stolen or damaged vehicle, making it appear as though the car has a clean history.
This record indicates that the car has been involved in a major accident, and a significant portion of the vehicle's body has been replaced.
This record indicates that the car's VIN has been altered or replaced illegally, making it difficult to track the vehicle's true history.
Flood / Water Damage
This record indicates that the car has been damaged by flooding, which can cause significant damage to the vehicle's electrical system and other components. Water damaged vehicles can be fixed and put back on the road with a rebuilt title but those may cause a lot of trouble down the road.
This record indicates that the car's frame or unibody has been damaged or repaired
This record indicates that the car was previously written off by an insurance company but was later purchased back by the owner. It is important to investigate the reason for the write-off and the extent of any damage.
This record indicates that the car was deemed a total loss by an insurance company and can only be used for parts or scrap (unlike salvage title that can be fixed and dirven). Read more about junk title here
This lemon title indicates that the car has a history of significant defects or mechanical issues, often resulting in repeated failed attempts to repair the vehicle.
Odometer Rollback and Not Actual Mileage
This record indicates that the car's odometer shows not actual mileage because odometer has been tampered with, often to show a lower mileage than the vehicle actually has, or is malfunctioning.
This record indicates that the car has been significantly damaged and rebuilt, often with parts from other vehicles.
This record indicates that the car has been deemed a total loss by an insurance company
Stolen Vehicle / Theft Recovery
This record indicates that the car has been reported stolen and later recovered.
This record indicates that the car's title has been altered or replaced illegally to remove any negative history, making it difficult to track the vehicle's true history.
Loan / Lien
This record indicates that the vehicle was used as collateral for a loan. If the loan is not paid off, the lender may repossess the vehicle. It is normal for most vehicles to have Loan / Lien records in their history.
This record indicates that the vehicle was not originally intended for sale in the country where it is currently registered. Grey market vehicles may not meet local safety and emissions standards, which could cause problems during registration, inspections or repairs.
This record indicates that the vehicle was previously used by a company or government agency for business purposes. Fleet vehicles are often well-maintained and serviced regularly, but they may have higher mileage than a typical personal vehicle.
This record indicates that the vehicle has been damaged intentionally, often by someone who is trying to steal parts or accessories. Vandalism can cause significant damage to the vehicle's body and electrical systems.
This record indicates that the vehicle has been partially or completely disassembled, often for the purpose of stealing valuable parts or accessories. A stripped vehicle may have significant damage to its body and electrical systems, and it may be difficult to repair.
Failed Emission Inspection
This record in a vehicle history report means that the car was unable to pass a mandated inspection of its emissions output.Read more about failed inspections here.
What it Means if a Vehicle History Report Has No Records
If a vehicle history report has no records at all, it may mean one of two things. First, it could mean that the car has a clean history and has never been involved in any accidents or other issues. Alternatively, it could mean that there is a problem with the vehicle history report itself. Even if the vehicle is new or was imported recently at least one registration or title record should be present. Additionally, today many bodyshops report service and maintenance records.
To ensure that you are getting an accurate and complete vehicle history report, it is important to use a reputable provider such as CARFAX or Autocheck. These providers have access to a wide range of data sources and can provide you with a comprehensive report that includes all of the records discussed in this article. These reports will give your more maintenance records and more damage details than government VIN checks.