Free and paid car history checking services
Car HPI check provides you with essential vehicle history information. But a used car check doesn't tell you everything about that used car.
When buying a used car there is a small fee of £19.99 (if using hpi) or £12.50 if using CarVeto that is the most important money you can spend. BEFORE you pay a penny of your hard earned cash out on a second hand motor make sure you run your own car history check.
Do NOT rely on a dealers vehicle history check or an old one that a private owner bought when they first purchased the car. You can never fully know what a used car has endured and one car history check can be massively different from another.
For the sake of twenty quid you can save yourself thousands of pounds, a stack of stress, and a lot of time.
Getting your car history check
So let's run through the most important information a car data HPI check will give you.
Once you've found a reputable car checker company simply enter the registration and then the mileage of the car you plan to buy. From there you'll get lots of information, but the most critical elements of a cars background are listed below:
1. Outstanding Finance - This is critical. If you buy a car with outstanding finance (and the owner doesn't settle the balance before you actually own the car) such as Higher Purchase, Lease Contract Hire or PCP (Personal Contract Hire) you will lose ownership of the car unless you pay off the outstanding balance. But in almost all cases you will simply lose the car and any money you spent buying it.
There are always varying circumstances with this kind of thing but the overarching theme is that you will lose time and money, but most likely both.
If the HPI check shows up with money being owed via a "Stocking Loan" or "Demonstration Stocking" this is where the dealer has the car financed by an outside finance company. Basically the dealer doesn't own the car, it belongs to the finance company but the dealer is the seller. These kinds of loans are very common from companies like Black Horse Finance.
Talk it over with your dealer, check their liability and get confirmation in writing that they will clear the finance on the vehicle BEFORE you buy it. If you have any further worries regarding this just drop me an email and I will try to help. But the bottom line is, don't take risks. If the car is showing up with finance owed, whether that be a dealer, a private sale or some other arrangement, don't buy the car; until the used car check is cleared and you have a written confirmation.
2. Stolen Vehicles - A staggering 30 of the cars that HPI check each day show up as being stolen! HPI gather information from the Police National Register for each query carried out. It means that the vehicle remains the property of the individual or organisation from whom it was taken.
If your car checks shows up a stolen vehicle just walk away.
3. Written Off - This is a term for a vehicle that has been declared a total loss by an insurer following accident damage or theft. It's true that some written off cars can be allowed back on the road provided they have undergone certain checks.
Category 'A' or 'B' write offs must never reappear on the road, whilst 'C' and 'D' may do so following proper repair, passing an independent Autolign-approved structural examination.
We are passionate about cars, used cars and helping people make informed choices about how they spend their hard earned money on a second hand vehicle. The most important element to buying a used car is knowing if that car has been involved in accidents. Cars suffer huge impacts that can result in chassis bends, broken suspension arms, split seals, ruptured shock absorbers and the list goes on and on.
Unless (in the future) you are prepared to spend an immeasurable amount of money on an accident damaged car it would make no sense buying one.
In fact if you were to buy an accident damaged car you'd want it to be one that has undergone all the proper independent Autolign-approved structural examinations that come from a resulting category C or D insurance total loss. This way you will know that the car is roadworthy. DVLA car checks are a great way to find out the information that looks after your money and buys a car that is reliable and trustworthy.
The Shocking Truth
HPI or any vehicle history check cannot tell you about every accident a car may have suffered! More on this in a moment.
4. Mileage Problems/Discrepancies - The CarVeto HPI Checker mileage check uses the database of the National Mileage Register to search around 6 million records. It provides the best intelligence available to protect against clocking and will help you decide whether the car that's showing a mileage of 46,000 may have actually covered 146,000 miles.
1 in 12 cars have a mileage discrepancy. This is a massive statistic and if a car lot has 100 cars for sale, statistically, 10 of those have a black cloud hanging over them. That means the car YOU are looking at might have been clocked!
Clocking (also known as a "hair cut" in the motor trade) is turning back or replacing the odometer, with the intention of increasing the value and deceiving subsequent purchasers. And believe me, I have heard many a car dealer brag at their exaggerated profits through car clocking campaigns.
It's a common trick to deceive you and increase the resell value of a car. The average car travels 10k a year so use this as a starting point. For more information on this get our Definitive Car Buying Guide that shows you how to tell if a car is genuine mileage or not.
Most car checking services will show you other information such as Plate Transfers, CO2 Ratings and other Vehicle Identity information, but what I've listed above is the essential data you must find out.
What a Vehicle History Check Doesn't Tell You
If a car has a clean and clear vehicle history HPI check and has not suffered a major accident resulting in a category C or D insurance total loss you might think you're OK to buy that car.
However, just because a car hasn't suffered an "insurance write off" accident does NOT mean that car has not suffered an accident or series of accidents.
All vehicle history check services can only provide you with information that's actually been recorded against the vehicle. They cannot tell you about any accidents a car may have suffered that haven't been recorded! Many of today's drivers would prefer to repair a car outside of their insurance company to safeguard their no claims bonus...It's good to also realise that accidents that don't result in insurance write off's can be as damaging to a cars integrity as a major Category total loss! Car's are made up of hundreds of different parts and it's extremely easy for any car to suffer a bent chassis, suspension arms ruptures, CV joints damage ETC. Your HPI check doesn't tell you about this kind of stuff.
This applies to any vehicle on the road today and 2 in every 3 cars on the road today have suffered some kind of accident damage (minor or major accidents.)
What this means for you is uncertainty, despite running your own car history check. But there are ways of telling if a car has had accident repairs and/or replacement panels...
Spotting accident damage and replacement panels is my primary target when buying used, and in the first module of my car guide I show you exactly how to do it.
Despite the facts you still need to carry out your very own car HPI check.
Running your own HPI vehicle history check is essential although it cannot tell you everything about that used car you're planning to buy