One of the first pieces of advice that most people will get when they attend an auto auction for the first time is “do your homework”. In short, you need to come prepared. Most people will check out the cars that they are interested in before the auction begins and may even bring a mechanic to get a better idea about the overall condition of the car. However, many people overlook the fact that vehicle history reports are essential for auction buyers. Nothing will give you as much information about the cars past than the history report.
Vehicle reports will let you know a variety of important details such as any reported accidents, service records, previous owners, and much more. Normally this information is compiled from a variety of sources including: fire/police departments, insurance companies, collision repair shops, rental agencies, auto auctions, state DMV's, and dealerships. Every car is tracked through it's VIN number. However, it is important to note that it will be difficult, if not impossible, to get a vehicle history report for anything that was manufactured before 1981, without a VIN number, or were not intended for the US market.
There are a number of reasons that vehicle history reports are essential for auction buyers. The first benefit is that by looking into the history of a vehicle, you can get a pretty good idea about what to expect in the future. This is especially true in terms of liability. A car that has a lot of problems in the past will likely be prone to problems and breakdowns in the future.
Vehicle history reports will also let you know about any major accidents in its past. If a vehicle has been involved in a major accident, then there are likely a lot of replacement parts as well as lasting damage. After a major accident, it is often near impossible to return the vehicle to its previous form, which could mean more major breakdown in the future. Think about your cars vehicle history report a lot like a bank would think about your credit report. The idea is that your past actions will be a good indicator of your future actions. The same is generally true for how reliable a vehicle will be.
You can also find out if it has ever been used as a fleet vehicle, taxi, or rental vehicle. This information is important because it can give a pretty good idea about how hard it has been driven in the past. In general, cars that were previously taxis or rentals tend to break down earlier than a privately used vehicle of the same make model.
As you can see, there are a number of reasons that vehicle history reports are essential for auction buyers. Remember, at an auto auction, once you are the winning bidder, the vehicle is yours, for better or for worse. By always having a vehicle history report handy, you will be able to more effectively navigate around all of the vehicles that may not provide you with any real long term and find the hidden gems that most other people will overlook.