Tips to Check a Car Title History

Tips to Check a Car Title History

Checking the car title history is important since it is the only surefire method to confirm that a car has a clean past. Even if it “passes” the test drive and has no evident damages, the buyer should check the car’s tile history. Here are the key steps:

Know what to pay attention to on the certificate

A car title is an official document of ownership that is issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles. It has a VIN (vehicle identification number) that is unique for each car. You should check to see that this number on the certificate matches with the number on the car (as a rule it is printed on a strip on the car engine compartment, on the door jamb on the driver’s side, or on the dashboard.

Make mileage comparisons

The car title history includes information about the mileage on the date of the last sale of the car. Compare this number with that on the car odometer. Make sure that you don’t deal with odometer rollback or odometer tempering scam, which is done for the sole purpose of making the buyer believe that the car has fewer miles on it than it does.

Look for potential hidden damages

If the car has had consistent mechanical trouble, has been damaged from a fire or other natural disaster, or has been reported as stolen or involved in any car fraud, this will be indicated on the car title history. A report of previous emissions testing and title changes will also be available. Don’t ignore the warning signs concerning the condition of the car you want to buy.

Be aware of warning signals

Some fraudulent car dealers may try to hide from the buyer that the car was officially labeled as e.g. “salvage” by ensuring that the car title history has been lost (this significantly decreases the car value). Never get tricked by believing this as you can always request a duplicate copy of the car title history from the Department of Motor Vehicles.

For further questions, contact our dealer fraud attorney.