Buyers’ regret is a real problem that can sneak up on us when we least expect it. Oftentimes it happens after the biggest purchases of our lives. Here in Texas we often say that everything is bigger. So avoiding buyer’s regret is just that much more important. There are few purchases we make that are as costly as our choice of vehicle. However, when it’s time to look for a new vehicle it can be difficult to feel truly confident about the purchase even before it happens. We’re here to help you though because there are a few ways to ensure that your thousands go to a well-maintained vehicle that’ll work just as hard as you do. We’ll cover what to look for in the vehicle itself, how to do a Texas vehicle title search and some important details to consider before and after the purchase.
One of the most important things you can do is get to know the type of vehicle you’re interested in. Then find out what the going rate is for that vehicle around the state. Oftentimes small differences in a vehicle such as a nicer interior, towing package or rear climate control can increase its value by a large amount. For example, as of this writing, you can find a 2016 Ford F150 pickup selling anywhere from $17,000 all the way up to $41,000. Those two vehicles have just 4,000 miles difference in them but the options are what drive the price so far up on the more expensive example.
Dig Into The History
Considering how much prices can fluctuate with vehicles it’s imperative to utilize a Texas VIN lookup on any vehicle you may be considering. You may also have heard of the terms Texas DMV VIN check or even a Texas DMV Lien check but these aren’t all the same thing. To begin with, the DMV doesn’t offer a VIN check for free here. So any site mentioning a free title check in Texas is pulling a fast one.
A free car lien check in Texas isn’t available either so you’ll need to utilize a high-quality VIN check online service to get good information. Any vehicle with a lien isn’t actually owned by the seller. The lien-holder will possess the title and whatever the remaining debt on the lien is will have to be paid so that the lien can be completely discharged before the title can be signed over to you.
Peace of Mind
A VIN check may only be a few dollars, but their value can’t be overstated. Thousands of Texas vehicles are sold every year that have major issues that only a VIN check will expose. That can include if the vehicle has a lien, major accident history, or even a history of theft. There’s another huge upside too. Sometimes the VIN check will prove how well maintained a vehicle has been over the course of its life and that’s what you’re really looking for. Consistent service, regular maintenance, and oftentimes major repairs will have been completed before you purchase the vehicle. One VIN History report we found in researching this article showed a 2015 Alfa Romeo Guilia that was brought in to the dealer within 10 miles of each scheduled service. It also received a new water pump, front brakes, and tires within the last 6 months. That’s a good report you can be reassured by.
Be Lemon Smart
Lemons: Some vehicles can be branded as a Lemon here in Texas even after they’re used. This applies to vehicles that are still under their factory warranty, or where the issue of concern was reported and reportedly fixed by the manufacturer before the warranty ran out. Keep this in mind even after the sale if you’ve seen major warranty repairs that seem to still be an ongoing issue with the vehicle.
A vehicle with a recall isn’t a lemon by definition but just the same it’s important to address the issue as quickly as possible. A VIN history report will alert you to recalls on the vehicle and whether or not they’ve been addressed by the manufacturer already.
Rolled Back Mileage
Rolling back mileage is a crime in Texas and can heavily affect the value of a vehicle. Once again, a VIN check will oftentimes alert you to the presence of odometer tampering. If you suspect an issue with the mileage of a vehicle, ask the seller to see the maintenance records. Service shops will record mileage somewhere on the document and you can cross-reference this with the VIN lookup to verify mileage. While it’s possible for accidents to happen when recording such mileage, most modern programs will catch errors and ask for verification during entry.
Every vehicle in Texas must be registered within 30 days of the date of sale. Dealers aren’t allowed to sell cars on the weekend so if you purchase a car from a private seller on Saturday or Sunday and the seller keeps their own license plate you’ll need to print out a Transit Permit that can be found here. It will allow you to legally drive the vehicle until you can get to the registration office during the upcoming week. These permits only last 5 days and can only be used once per vehicle sold.