Used vehicle background checks don't always reveal whole story

CASS COUNTY, Mo. - When buying a used car, it's easy to check out the vehicle's history on car databases like AutoCheck and Carfax. If the report comes back showing no accidents, then the car has never been in an accident, right? Not exactly.

Chris Gaucin of Cass County recently bought a used truck. At that time, the AutoCheck report showed no accidents. But when Gaucin started noticing problems with the truck, he took it to a mechanic who checked AutoCheck again. This time, Gaucin learned his truck had been in an accident three months before he bought it.

"It's the first truck that I financed … I was pretty frustrated," Gaucin said. 

An AutoCheck spokesperson says they receive information on vehicles from many sources such as insurance companies. Any incident like an accident will go on a report once they receive the information.

Spokesperson Roslyn Whitehurst issued the following statement:  

"We believe that vehicle history reports are important (because they provide a unique view into a vehicle's past), but should only be one step in the pre-owned vehicle purchasing process. In addition to purchasing an AutoCheck report, we encourage every pre-owned shopper to physically inspect the vehicle whenever possible, and to have a licensed mechanic inspect the vehicle to ensure the best and safest vehicle choice is made."

During the shopping process consumers should also consider:

1.       Using online resources such as valuation guides and online sales portals (which can obviously help in showing buyers if there is damage to a vehicle) to get a better idea of the vehicle's value.

2.       Visiting the manufacturer's website to double check for any safety or recall notices that have been issued on the vehicle.

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