There are a number of things that the average car owner does not know about his own vehicle. One item that most people know little about is their vehicle’s title. Before buying a used vehicle, it is imperative that the buyer check the history of the vehicle’s title. Otherwise, you may be buying a future of headaches. Some individuals go to great lengths to cover up the history of a vehicle that they are trying to unload. Here’s how you can check a car title history.
Understanding a Car Title
A vehicle title is an official document that proves ownership. A title is issued by a state’s Department of Motor Vehicles or Department of Transportation. Each state’s title will differ somewhat but, for the most part, titles provide significant information about a vehicle to the owner. The title certificate itself will contain the vehicle identification number (VIN), a number that is unique to each individual vehicle. Every time you check a title, you should check to make sure that the VIN matches that which is on the title. Vehicle identification numbers are located on the driver’s side under the windshield on newer cars, as well as on a sticker that is on the driver’s side door jam. Older vehicles may have the VIN printed on a strip located in the engine compartment.
Check the Mileage
When you buy a used car, one of the most frequently asked questions is, “How many miles are on it?” You can find out by consulting the title document and comparing it to the odometer. All titles have information about the mileage reading at the last point of sale. You can check that against the odometer to see if the mileage indicator has been tampered.
Be Aware of Special Designations
There are spaces on all titles for special designations including junk, salvage, homemade, and others. These designations will vary by state, but an individual buying a vehicle should be aware of them on a title. A title with an “S” label for example should raise a red flag. The car or truck has been in an accident or was damaged enough that it was labeled salvage. Some owners may attempt to hide this information. You can always request a copy of the current title from a state’s Department of Motor Vehicles.
Using Your Car Title for a Loan
You can actually use your car title for a loan. If your vehicle is paid off and you have no other liens on the title, you can visit a company like Embassy Loans of Florida and borrow against the value of the car or truck. It is a quick and easy process that can access cash for you in an emergency situation.