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  • Reading a VHR

    What Does it All Mean?

    When you order a Vehicle History Report (VHR), from our partner you're going to get some pretty important information. Insurance loss? Salvage auctions? Government use? What does all the information in a VIN check mean? Sometimes this information is nothing more than just that―information. Yet, sometimes it's a red flag.

    Some of the more serious parts of a VHR to consider include odometer problems, any kind of salvage, recycled, or lemon reports, and any kind of vehicle damage.

    Odometer Problems

    When a vehicle's odometer has been rolled back, broken, or otherwise tampered with, the mileage shown might not be accurate. Sure, it's not always unsafe to drive a vehicle with high mileage, but high mileage means two things: the vehicle needs tender loving care when it comes to maintenance, and the vehicle might not have much life left in it.

    If the odometer has been tampered with, it's likely that the vehicle was abused in other ways as well. If the reading isn't correct, you have no surefire way of knowing whether previous owners have paid special attention to maintenance. You also have no way to know whether the vehicle is close to being on its last leg. As a potential owner of the vehicle, this is definitely information you want.

    Salvage, Recycled, and Lemon Reports

    Salvaged vehicles, vehicles built with recycled parts, and vehicles deemed lemons and repaired or bought back by manufacturers must be inspected; But that doesn't mean they always are. If your VHR from our partner shows such information, you might not feel comfortable purchasing the vehicle. Of course, you can also always have its safety inspected yourself.

    Vehicle Damage

    Vehicle damage reports from our partner alert you to water, fire, hail, and frame damage. They can also reveal any major damage to the vehicle. While hail damage can leave the vehicle looking less than showroom-worthy, frame damage, when not properly repaired, can leave the vehicle on the side of the road.

    If you aren't confident about your vehicle damage knowledge, see our report on How Much Damage Is Too Much Damage?

    Should I Be Concerned?

    Whether you're terribly concerned with the information in the VHR is up to you. Consider all information, of course, but not all of it means the vehicle isn't a good deal. For example, if the VHR says that an owner ordered a duplicate title at one point, this might simply mean he or she misplaced the title.

    Take in the information, mull it over for a bit, and ask the seller any questions you have. Consider hiring a professional to inspect the vehicle in order to ease your worries or confirm your suspicions. In the meantime, keep your mind busy by learning how VHR information is compiled.