Have you noticed how many vehicle inspection companies “add value” to their inspection services by packaging them with vehicle history reports and diagnostic scans?

There are many mobile vehicle inspection companies out in the market these days with

We use a Bosch OBD I & II Scantool Package to scan check engine light, ABS light and airbag light codes.
We use this Bosch OBD I & II Scan Tool to scan check engine light, ABS light and airbag light codes.

“inspection packages” that often include up-sell options such as vehicle history reports and diagnostic scans… Are these good to have included in your inspection? Most certainly they are… Should you get up-charged for them? NO!

Here at Test Drive Technologies our mobile auto inspection service automatically includes a OBD I and OBD II scan of the vehicle regardless of the check engine light is on or off…

Now the vehicle history report is a bit different. We use a service called InstaVIN because they pull information directly from NMVTIS and are an approved provider of NMVTIS Data and it is not as expensive as CarFax and AutoCheck’s $40.00 for the same information. One thing to keep in mind is that not every accident and vehicle sale is reported to vehicle history report companies. There are many accidents which are handled by the owners themselves which do not get reported to insurance or the DMV…

This reason alone is a good reason to always ensure you have a qualified vehicle inspector perform a pre-purchase auto inspection before you finalize your vehicle purchase.

Here at TDT we do not run a vehicle history report unless a customer ask us to directly.

Sample Vehicle History Report - instaVIN
Direct reporting from NMVTIS. We use vehicle history reports by instaVIN.com because of their accuracy and fair pricing.

many other vehicle inspection companies have “packages” that include a vehicle history report but that is mostly for their benefit of areas to look for damage at during the inspection and you the consumer pays for it.  This can muddy the water a bit when it comes to an unbiased inspection because the inspector is going to go straight to that area of concern and “judge it” based on the “reported” damage.  A vehicle history report is only a starting point of items to consider when buying a used car.  Even if an accident with damage is reported on a vehicle history report they are often either too hard on the damage reporting or not strict enough with their assessment.

Many times a vehicle history report will show front end damage and list a repair price such as $2000 but leave out that the rear end had damage too. We have seen this many of times and have been involved as expert witness in a misrepresentation suit with something very similar.

Even if a vehicle history report comes back squeaky clean that does not mean that the vehicle has not every been in an accident.  Many accidents are not reported to insurance companies and even some are not reported to the vehicle history report companies or misreported such as stated earlier in this article.  Vehicle history reports are good for a few things for sure. The number of vehicle owners, usage types and sometimes you can

In-Person Vehicle Inspection Consult
Couple speaking the auto inspector about their vehicle inspection report.

get the dates of sales or dealership transfers.  A vehicle to avoid for sure would have several dealer to dealer transfers or auction sales within a years time as that is a red flag of a vehicle with issues that even a dealership does not want to repair.

So to answer your question of do I need a vehicle history report with my pre-purchase used car inspection we say no but…

What you do need is to ensure you have the vehicle inspected by a certified independent vehicle inspector that you can speak with directly about your results before, during and after the inspection.  Our policy here at TDT is our inspectors are available to our customers before the inspection, during the inspection (we can text photos in special situations) and after the inspection a 1-on-1 consult over the phone or in-person with our inspector.