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The importance of car data checks

Checking the data held in your car is now more important than ever. It seems that, on a daily basis, we hear of people running into trouble post purchase, having their cars repossessed for previous debt or taken by the police.

In this guide we look at some of the scenarios that not checking the data held on a car that you’re about to purchase could lead to; and explain how you can perform this simple check.

Typical items covered by a car data check
Is the car reported as stolen
Has the car been sold for scrap
Highlight any discrepancies with reported mileage
UK spec or grey import
Has the car every been in a major accident
Has the car been resprayed a different colour
Does someone have a debt against the car that you may inherit if you buy it
The true registered owner

What could happen if you don’t data check your car?

The police could collect it

If your car is fund to be either stolen, or has been used as involved in a crime, you could see the police knocking on your door to collect your new car. As with all the situations listed in this section, you will have no legal ownership of the car, and won’t be able to seek compensation. Gaining a refund from a garage could also be difficult, and it is often reported how owners in any of these situations are left to shoulder the financial burden.

It could get repossessed for previous debt

If the car you’ve just purchased was initially purchased by the past owner on finance (on which they’ve defaulted) then you could have a visit from debt collects, who are well within their legal right to simply take the car off you. Such a situation may come as a surprise to many, particularly as you may well have paid in full. Undertaking a data check therefore becomes ever more important if you’re buying a car from a private individual.

It could compromise your safety

Perhaps the most serious outcome of not performing a data check is the compromising of your safety. A data check will tell you if your car has been in a crash of any size; in the best case scenario you will find that it had a small bump and you can knock some off the price, and in worst (or rather, most serious) scenario, you will be informed that it’s been written off.

How you can perform a car data check

Car data checks are now easier than ever. Many companies offer this service through a simple text message system, where you send the number plate to them via text message and they reply with details held on the car, including any finance remaining on it as well as whether it’s ever been in a crash. It will also show if the car has been stolen in the past. These cost as low as £2.95/check through reputable providers. Other companies like the AA or the RAC offer more comprehensive checks that offer a full report. If you are concerned in any way about the cars history or you are buying privately then we recommend that you get a comprehensive check before you hard over you hard earned money.

You should note however that this service is in no way replaces other manual checks that you should be undertaking when you see the car in person (such as inspecting body work and checking chassis numbers). Just because the car has a clean history does not mean that it is a good car that has been looked after by the owner.

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