If you have a larger fleet company and you’re in the market for new vehicles, you’re probably planning to buy several of one model, all at once. But if you’re a smaller company or you’re only looking for a couple vehicles to add to your fleet, you may be considering the used offerings at a local car dealership. While there’s nothing wrong with buying a used car, there are a few things you should be aware of before committing – like how to avoid buying a stolen car.
Did you know that more than 700,000 vehicles are stolen every year? Unfortunately, most of these vehicles aren’t sports cars or rare models – in fact, the top five most stolen cars are the Honda Accord, Honda Civic, Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, and Toyota Corolla. Whether you’re in the market for these cars or you’re looking for a different one, it’s important to look for signs the car has been stolen. Here are some tips from our fleet fuel card company:
Check the VIN
Every car has a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), so when you check the car in person, make sure you look for it. Is it readable? Does it match the title? If both of these things check out, run the VIN through a government agency or vehicle history report service to make sure the car was never reported stolen.
Be Wary of Low Prices
If you find a used car that’s being sold for much less that it’s worth, this should raise a red flag. Sellers who aren’t reputable will want to get rid of the car as quickly and easily as possible, which means they’ll usually offer it for a lower cost.
Look at Documents Closely
If you get to the point of obtaining the documentation for your vehicle, look at it closely. Check the title for misspellings, discrepancies, a wrong seller name, a wrong VIN, and more. If the paperwork looks sketchy, you may not want to go through with the purchase.
Buy from a Reputable Seller
This should go without saying, but if you’re going to buy a used car, you should buy one from a reputable seller. While it’s possible to buy a trusted car from someone on Craiglist or from a local mom-and-pop shop, you never really know what you’re going to get. Instead, look for a dealership or certified company.
Take It to a Mechanic
Before you commit to buying the car, take it to your mechanic and have him/her look over the car thoroughly. If they notice anything missing, damaged, or replaced (such as after-market parts) that weren’t already disclosed to you, you could be dealing with a stolen car.
If everything looks ok and you decide to buy the car, make sure you keep all of the paperwork from the seller. This includes advertisements, documents, emails, and more. If the car turns out to be stolen after all, law enforcement will be able to use the paperwork as evidence.