by Scott Krohn
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When someone is considering buying a used car, one of the most important pieces of information about the vehicle’s history is whether the title is clean or has been marked due to major damage. Doing a title search can help buyers in California and elsewhere avoid buying used cars that are illegal to drive because they are tagged with a salvage title and then rebuilt to become street legal again. .
Options for running a California title check
The California used car buying process should always include a certificate of title verification to mitigate one of the biggest risks in this type of transaction – buying a vehicle that has a hidden history of major problems. Running a title check can identify a vehicle that has been canceled by an insurer due to substantial damage caused by an accident, theft, or flood. Any of these issues can affect a car’s performance, as well as its value for the rest of its days on the road. If you want to verify the title of a vehicle in California, there are a few ways to do so.
National information system on motor vehicle titles
The National Motor Vehicle Title Information System was created in 1992 as part of the Auto Theft Law for the purpose of preventing vehicle title fraud that occurs after a vehicle has been stolen. To track vehicle histories, the service has put together a database of continuously updated information from insurance companies, junkyards, and auto recyclers to keep up-to-date on the status of car titles. Used car buyers can access title information by contacting an NMVTIS affiliate, either through the California DMV or the NMVTIS website. As of the first quarter of 2015, the service costs $ 4.95 and requires the vehicle identification number for each title search.
Buy a Carfax Vehicle History Report
Carfax provides title search reports with four main data points: the vehicle’s total loss information, a salvage designation, state title information, and mileage. Additional details in Carfax vehicle history reports include ownership history, a vehicle return under Lemon Law regulations, vehicle accident history, air bag deployment, and damage caused. by fire or flood. As of 2015, Carfax offers individual reports for $ 39.99, five reports for $ 49.99, and unlimited searches for $ 54.99. Visit the Carfax website to find out how to get reports.
Buy a Vehicle History Report from AutoCheck
AutoCheck Vehicle History reports contain many of the same data points as Carfax reports, but go a step further by revealing the details of used car auction sales. This information is obtained through an exclusive agreement with two of the largest auto auction houses in the country. This information can be extremely valuable, as a high percentage of cars with salvage titles from insurers are sold at auction. A single AutoCheck report costs $ 19.99 as of 2015, while an unlimited number of title searches can be purchased for $ 44.99