1 in 3 have a hidden history
1 in 7 are insurance write-offs
What could your car
be hiding?

Car Data Checks Explained

Virtual car informationWith such an array of information available via a car check, it may be difficult to know exactly what each piece of knowledge means, and especially which areas are best to focus on. Read on below for explanations of each section of data you'll have access to.

Outstanding Finance Information

Cars can be expensive items, and it is reckoned that every two out of three new cars bought in the UK are purchased with the aid some kind of loan or other financial agreement. And with over 2 million new vehicles bought in the UK every year (2,044,609 were bought in 2012 according to the SMMT), that's a lot of financial interest in the car market. Buying a used car that is still under some sort of financial contract can be fraught with dangers, as if the necessary paperwork is incomplete, or indeed the buyer has no knowledge that the vehicle has outstanding finance owed, then the finance company may attempt to repossess it. Depending on the level of information your selected car check includes, you may be given the current legal financial situation of the vehicle you check. This will include details of the financial agreement and the company that has issued it, and how much liability is left on the loan.

Taken Without Consent

A number of levels of car check will look to see whether a vehicle is present on any registers of stolen vehicles. Databases such as the Police National Computer are full of vehicles reported stolen, or 'taken without consent', and buying such a car will not only mean that you will quickly have it taken off you by the authorities, but also you'll lose all the money you paid for it, unless the criminal who sold you the car is caught.

Registration Plate Transfers

A number of checks will highlight any registration number changes the vehicle has had. There are certainly legitimate reasons for this; most commonly for cosmetic reasons, as personalised number plates have become popular due to their relative affordability. However, many unscrupulous car dealers will attempt to pass off a damaged, written-off or even stolen vehicle as a legitimate car, simply by affixing it with the number plate of a similar vehicle. This is known as a cloned car. Keeping your eyes out for such activity can prevent this from happening to you.

Imported Vehicle Check

Most data checks will let you know whether a vehicle has been imported or not. An imported vehicle does not include one that has been bought in another country in the European Union. Whilst on many occasions an imported car may have been cheaper to buy, they generally lose more value to depreciation than regular vehicles, and if it is still under warranty, such assurances may be limited to it's country of origin.

Registered Mileage Check

Is this a genuine mileage?There are a number of official bodies that hold information on the mileage of vehicles in the UK. These include the DVLA (Driver Vehicle Licensing Authority), the RMI (Retail Motor Industry federation), the VMC (Vehicle Mileage Check) and the NMR (National Mileage Register). Such data is collected when vehicles go in for their MoT tests, and is available to a number of car check services. A mileage that differs substantially from that recorded may indeed reveal that the vehicle being checked has had it's mileage tampered with, or 'clocked'. This is a technique whereby the vehicle's odometer is 'wound back' in an attempt to make it look like it has travelled less miles than it has, and is thusly more valuable. Clocking is unfortunately still rife in the UK, costing the industry tens of millions of pounds a year.

Registered DVLA data

The DVLA holds data on your vehicle that is attached to your number plate. Such information includes the make, model and year of manufacture of the car in question. However, you should also be able to access additional details, including the engine size, the body style and what fuel it uses. More importantly, you'll be able to find out whether the DVLA has received a 'scrapped notification', which would mean that the vehicle you're checking should technically not be on the road. Other information could be the number of previous keepers the car has had; a large number of owners in a short time period could mean that there are many underlying problems with the vehicle, and so it has been sold on multiple times.

Used Valuation

Most vehicle checks will offer some sort of valuation of the car. In some cases it may be a generalised one for simply the make, model and year of the vehicle, whilst in others it may be more tailored for the car's condition and mileage, and is thusly more accurate. Most valuations are a representation of what a used car should achieve when sold to a private buyer. Always check for price discrepancies when buying.

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