Ok – so you got a Car Story report and have found an issue with the car’s history. It’s not the end of the world. Most issues that are found can be sorted by asking the seller a few more questions or doing a bit more research.
We have pulled together some handy tips that can help you understand the details on our reports. If there is an issue with the car you’ve entered, we will show you the thumbs down on the summary page of the report.
Car Story’s Handy Tips to get you Rolling
Stolen Status – DON’T BUY IT!
Don’t buy the car! A stolen status specifies that either the VIN, Engine or Plate Number associated with the car is recorded as stolen by one of the state or territory police departments. If you find that the car was reported as stolen, we encourage you NOT to buy it. If you do buy a car from a private buyer which is later found to be stolen, you could lose both the vehicle and the money you bought it with.
When a report shows a stolen status, we highly recommend you report the car’s status to the local authorities. Time to update the resume, you’re officially a detective.
Finance owing on a vehicle is one of the most common issues to show up on a report and it is super easy to fix up. This just means that the current owner still owes money on the car. You will need to check that the record of finance owing is removed before you purchase the car. If you forget to check the amount owing is changed to $0 before you buy the car, you could be adding a few more zeros on the end of your purchase price or your new car could be repossessed. Nobody wants any financial surprises.
Don’t forget to double check the seller has removed the outstanding finance by doing a Car Story report yourself. You can even try to negotiate the cost of the report to come off the purchase price of the car.
A Car Story report that shows a car has been written off could mean one of two things.
- Statutory Write Off – The car is unsafe to drive – DON’T BUY IT!
- Repairable Write Off – The car may have been repaired or is considered able to be repaired.
If the car is a repairable write off it could be a bargain find, however it does mean there are a few more details to check before you hand over the cash.
A car can be written off for a number of different reasons that may include flood and water damage, vandalism, fire, collisions or hail. Great news though, our Car Story reports will tell you why the car you are looking at has been written off.
So you have your Car Story report and know the reason behind the car’s write off status. The next thing to do is contact the seller to ask whether the car has been repaired and qualifies to be reregistered by your state or territory government. Make sure you ask for physical evidence. Once you have this information from the seller, double check the evidence with your local roads authority. If there are no red flags you could potentially negotiate for a better deal.
If in your investigation you discover the car hasn’t passed as roadworthy or the required repairs haven’t been made, you will need to research the cost it could be to fix the car to a roadworthy status. If you purchase the vehicle before counting up the costs, you will need to spend your own money on the repairs and approval process. You still want to proceed with buying this car? Make sure the repairs, approval, registration costs and your time come off the standard market price. Don’t think the car is worth the time and money? Then go back to the market and search for another one.
Don’t forget, if there has been water damage make sure you check for rust under the car, seats and lower parts of the car. Also make sure there’s no sharks or fish in the backseat. If you do find unwanted marine passengers, we recommend you abort your purchase.
From high-end car brands to the everyday runabouts, almost every car released has had a recall notice. There are some things to note if the car you are looking at has a recall against it.
Ignoring a recall could lead to accidents, property damage, injury or even in the worst-case loss of life. Recalls can range from something as simple as the windscreen wipers not working to serious safety concerns such as the airbags being defective in an accident.
If your Car Story report shows a recall, follow the steps below to what to do:
- Contact the current owner for physical evidence that the recall or recalls have been resolved. If the seller does not have physical evidence of this, you can contact the car’s manufacturer. Car manufacturers can check this for you. Car Story’s reports may specify contact details for the car manufacturer if they aren’t available, you can simply use a search engine (such as Google) to search the name of the manufacturer with the word “recall”. For example, “Suzuki Recall”. This will give you the contact information.
- Ring the manufacturer and provide them with the VIN of the car you are looking at which you can get from the Car Story report.
Collecting odometer readings is a difficult task. A car’s odometer reading is not always accessible however at Car Story we collect as many as possible and are always trying to find more data for our passengers.
If your report shows a weird odometer reading, it could be that the car’s odometer has been wound back. You probably didn’t think that still happens, well it does!
If you do feel a little suspicious about the car’s odometer reading the best way to check it’s correct is to ask the seller for the logbook or service history. The strange reading could simply be a typo. It’s always best to double check the facts and we encourage you to check the service book regardless of any strange numbers.
We know that there are tonnes of cars for sale in the market and finding a reasonable price can be difficult when you don’t know what other cars are selling for. The Car Story report collects loads of sales information and looks to indicate where the price your seller is asking, is compared to the current market.
If the asking price is higher than what we show, you can do 2 things:
- Ask for a better price and show them the Car Story report; or
- Go back online and see what else is available.